The Ultimate Guide to Usage-Based Car Insurance

Here at Metromile, we are focused on educating consumers about the benefits of usage-based insurance. What sounds like a confusing topic can easily be broken down into easy-to-digest pieces. As pioneers of the pay-per-mile car insurance model, we are always happy to clarify any confusion about how pay-per-mile car insurance works. So, for your reading pleasure, we are pleased to announce: the Ultimate Guide to Usage-Based Insurance. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and dig in!

The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Usage-Based-Car-Insurance

What is usage-based insurance?


Usage-based insurance simply means that you pay what you drive. It is measured by how many miles you drive your vehicle, like with Metromile’s pay-mile-mile model. Usage-based insurance tracks your mileage using a device which plugs into your OBD-II port and measures the number of trips you take per day and how many miles you drive on those trips. This device may collect other data that can be utilized by the policyholder (such as sudden stops, hard braking, etc.), but at Metromile, only the miles you drive are used to price the premium.

Usage-based insurance models are founded on the idea that the less time a driver spends on the road, the less likely an accident will occur. Usage-based car insurance is great for low-mileage drivers and can help them save on their yearly total insurance premium. Usage-based insurance premiums are paid monthly (instead of upfront once a year) because the total amount paid is calculated based on how many miles you drive, which will likely vary month to month.

How usage is tracked


Usage is tracked using a device plugged into the OBD-II port. The technical name for this type of data collection is telematics. Using telematics, insurance companies can charge a premium based on usage-based or behavior based insurance models. Here at Metromile, we are usage-based and price our customers’ premiums based on how many miles they drive, which is collected through the Pulse device.

We believe that high mileage is one of the biggest risk indicators, based simply on the fact that you’re inherently spending more time on the road. Overall, the less time spent on the road, the less likely you’ll get into an accident. This is why Metromile is proud to offer the same great insurance coverage at affordable rates to low-mileage drivers!

Behavior-based vs. Usage-based Insurance Models


With behavior-based insurance models, the overall cost of your premiums are dependent upon your driving behavior. Insurance companies that offer this kind of coverage will use devices to monitor how you drive, as many of them have deemed driving behavior to be one of the most important indicators of risk; i.e. a driver who frequently slams the brakes has a higher probability of involving themselves in an accident. This is the reason why some insurance companies reward good driving behavior with discounts on your premiums. The trade off, however, is that your driving behavior will be monitored – and the occasional mistake could affect the cost of your premium. The way insurers measure safety varies, but some of the most common factors include the time of day, average speed, sudden acceleration and hard braking.

With usage-based insurance models, like Metromile’s pay-per-mile model, your costs are dependent upon how much you drive. Bottom line – the less you drive, the less you pay. With Metromile, customers pay a monthly base rate, plus an additional pennies-per-mile rate. Your monthly bill will fluctuate based on how much you drove that month (not based on your driving behavior). Because the monthly bill is based on exact mileage, Metromile typically saves low-mileage (under 200 miles per week) drivers a significant amount of money compared to the discounts offered by other usage-based programs. On average, Metromile customers are saving $500 a year – woohoo!

The benefits of usage-based insurance don’t stop at financial savings either. By paying-per-mile, our customers are taking control of how much they drive and reducing unnecessary trips, which benefits the environment as well. Additionally, usage-based insurance models utilize measurement devices which can provide additional perks; with the Metromile Pulse and smart driving app, you can monitor your car’s health, get street sweeping alerts, track and manage trip data, and even locate your vehicle with the GPS tracker.

How reliable is usage-based insurance?

Funny you should ask! Metromile raised over $190 million in funding last year which we used to acquire an insurance carrier. Our policy is to set aside the majority of the premium payments we receive to cover claims, which allows us to always have more than the required amount of funds to oversee claims made by our customers. Additionally, our Metromile claims team is comprised of industry experts with many years of experience at major insurance companies, with both extensive knowledge of best practices as well as plans to continuously improve the experience. From our always-available claims teams to our industry-leading customer service, we are working non-stop to make sure you have a best-in-class experience every time you interact with Metromile. We’ve also been reinsured by some of the most trusted names in the Finance and Insurance industries, HSCM Bermuda, MAPRFRE RE, and Hudson.

FAQ: The Low-Down

Over the years, we’ve gotten many questions about per-mile insurance. It’s a good thing that we have answers!

  • How much money will I save with per-mile insurance?
  • On average, our customers are saving up to $500 per year (and that’s just an average – some are saving even more!). Visit our homepage, answer a few questions about yourself and your car, and you will immediately be able to see a preliminary quote. Use the savings calculator to see how much money you could save in a year by switching to Metromile!

  • Can I choose my coverage?
  • Yes! Just like with the car insurance policy you have now, you have the ability to choose your deductible amount and liability protection. If you don’t need comprehensive or collision insurance (read more about those here), set the deductible to “no coverage.” You’ll be able to edit coverages in the quote, choose between different liability protection packages, and see the monthly base rate – as well as per-mile costs.

  • What does per-mile insurance cover?
  • Metromile covers you just like any other car insurance. We offer full coverage, including collision coverage (the damage that occurs to your car in the event of a collision) and comprehensive coverage (damage that occurs to your car, including damage not in the event of a collision). To cover property damage and injury to others, you can choose bodily injury liability limits of up to $250,000/$500,000. Read more here about the different kinds of coverage policies that Metromile provides its customers.

  • How is my monthly bill calculated?
  • The monthly base rate varies based on the number of days in the month and how much you drive. For example, if your base rate is $50 a month and you drove 200 miles this month at $0.20/mile, your bill would be $90. Additionally, you aren’t charged for the miles you drive over 250 a day (150 in New Jersey). Each month your bill will consist of your monthly base rate for the month ahead plus the cost of the miles that you drove during that billing cycle.

  • Do I need to install the app before I get the insurance?
  • Nope! You do not need our app in order to have our insurance. The Metromile app is only one of two places to see your account info, which we visualize for you in aesthetically appealing graphs and charts. The other way to access your account is via the online dashboard (just log in at metromile.com).

  • Does my monthly base rate ever change?
  • Your quoted policy lasts for six months, unless you make mid-policy changes. After six months is up, your monthly rate will be re-evaluated. Several factors can affect or increase your rate, such as citations and violations.

  • How do I pay my Metromile insurance?
  • The amount due is automatically billed each month to the debit / credit card that you provide during sign-up. We make it easy for you to update your billing information anytime – simply edit on the online dashboard or in the app.

  • What other benefits are included with Metromile insurance?
  • 24/7 roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement are optional coverages that can be included when having comprehensive and collision coverage. We also provide street sweeping alerts in Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, diagnose your car’s health, and provide MPG to all of our customers!

  • What if I decide I to sell my car or realize that I need to drive it much more often than I originally planned?
  • The adventure of life includes change – maybe you’ll decide to not have a car anymore, or you may have a new commute that requires putting more miles on the road. We understand! We realize that pay-per-mile car insurance may not work financially for you all the time. However, we hope it becomes a considered option if it fits well within your current lifestyle.

If you think per-mile insurance could help you save each month, get your free quote today and see how much extra savings you could pocket! Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to us at 1.888.311.2909 or http://metromile.com/help!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

The Low Down on Per-Mile Insurance

By now, you may have heard of the Pay-Per-Mile insurance Metromile offers. To put it simply, the less you drive, the more you could save. We are the only ones who offer this product in the USA (currently in 7 states)! We only measure mileage, not driving behavior (like how hard you brake).

The Lo Down on Per-Mile Insurance

Over the years, we’ve gotten many questions about per-mile insurance. We wanted to share some of our most common questions because chances are, you may be wondering the same thing.

  • How much money will I save with per-mile insurance?
    On average, our customers are saving up to $500 per year. Visit our page and answer a few questions about yourself and your car. You will immediately be able to see a preliminary quote and use the savings calculator to see how much money you could save in a year.
  • Can I choose my coverage?
    Yes! Just like with the insurance you have now, you can choose your deductible amount and liability protection. If you don’t need comprehensive or collision insurance, just set the deductible to “no coverage”. You able to edit coverages in the quote and choose between different liability protection packages and see the monthly base rate as well as per-mile charge adjust.
  • What does per-mile insurance cover?
    Metromile covers you just like any other car insurance. We offer full coverage including comprehensive & collision (the damage that occurs to your car). To cover property damage and injury to others, you can choose bodily injury liability limits of up to $250,000/$500,000.
  • How is my monthly bill calculated?
    The monthly base rate varies based on the number of days in the month and how much you drive. You also aren’t charged for the miles you drive over 250 a day (150 in New Jersey). Each month your bill will consist of your monthly base rate for the month ahead and the miles that you drove during that billing cycle.
  • Do I need to install the app before I get the insurance?
    No, you don’t actually need our app in order to have the insurance. The app is one of two ‘portals’, if you will, to see your data, which we visualize for you in pretty graphs and charts. The other way to see your data is via the online dashboard (just log-in at metromile.com).
  • Does my monthly base rate ever change?
    Your quoted policy lasts for six months, unless you make mid-policy changes. After that time, your monthly rate will be re-evaluated at renewal. Several factors can affect your rate, like citations and violations.
  • How do I pay my Metromile insurance?
    The amount due is automatically billed each month to the debit / credit card that you provide during sign-up. We make it easy for you to update your billing information anytime. Just edit on your online dashboard or app.
  • What other benefits are included with Metromile insurance?
    Roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement are optional coverages that can be included when having comprehensive and collision coverage. We also provide street sweeping alerts, diagnose your car health, and provide MPG.
  • What if I decide I to sell my car or realize that I need to drive it much more often than I originally planned?
    We understand that the adventure of life includes change – maybe you’ll decide to not have a car anymore, or you may have a new commute that requires putting more miles on the road. We realize that per-mile insurance may not work financially for you all the time. We just hope it becomes a considered option if it fits well with your lifestyle.

If you think per-mile insurance could help you save each month, get your free quote today and see how much extra savings you could pocket!

Introducing Metromile Direct Repair and Rental, Powered by AVA

Metromile’s automated claims system, AVA, has some exciting new feature enhancements that are going to make filing a claim with us even easier. Getting into an accident is never fun, that is why we’ve made it our priority here at Metromile to create the world’s best claims experience. Our latest effort to transform the claims experience has resulted in the new self-service direct repair and rental capabilities for our customers.

AVA, who we debuted in July, is a first-of-its-kind smart claims system designed to speed up the process of verifying and paying out insurance claims through the Metromile mobile app or online dashboard. Using Metromile Pulse sensor data, AVA can reconstruct the scene of an accident to verify claim details. If the claim is verified, AVA is able to automatically approve payments within seconds. And now, AVA can even assist in finding repair shops, scheduling rental cars, and setting up and processing claims payments.

You can learn more about AVA here.

How does it work?
Eligible policyholders who have submitted a claim and indicated that they are planning to repair their vehicle will be directed to the Metromile Dashboard to see repair shops that are participating in the direct repair program and are located near the zip code of the vehicle’s last location.

If the policyholder also has rental coverage they will be given the option to reserve a rental car with Enterprise-Rent-A-Car through the Metromile online dashboard. Just like with the direct repair program, the Dashboard will provide policyholders with locations near the vehicle’s last location. Policyholders can even gain access to and schedule an Enterprise shuttle for pick-up from the repair shop or another specified address.

If the policyholder would rather find and choose their own repair and/or rental shop, they are welcome to do so by opting-out of the program.

Once a vehicle is in the shop and a rental car has been picked up, AVA will keep customers posted on repair status, schedule changes, and even help change the rental reservation if needed. As soon as the vehicle has been repaired and returned to the customer, AVA will automatically initiate payment.

Even with AVA, all customers will have the option to call in to talk to our in-house team of claims professionals. Not yet a Metromile customer but intrigued by AVA and our automated claims? Visit metromile.com/insurance to learn more about our pay-per-mile insurance and get a quick quote.

Telematics: What is it and What does it do?

Tele-what? Telematics is a word that keeps coming up in the Insurtech industry. But what does it mean and how does it relate to car insurance? Telematics is the technology of sending, receiving, and storing information relating to remote objects, like your car, through telecommunication devices, such as a cell phone, a GPS system, or our Pulse device. Telematics technology can track how many miles you drive and it can also measure driving behavior as well. Telematics is what enables Metromile’s insurance, and without it, pay-per-mile wouldn’t be possible.

Telematics

What is Telematics?

The combination of a GPS system with onboard diagnostic technology can show you where a car’s location is and the trips it has taken. Basically, it is the technology used behind the wheel that involves both internet and satellite connectivity to give the driver information about their car or where they are going. The first form of telematics started with navigation systems, eliminating the use of printed directions and old-fashioned maps. Instead, drivers were now able to use the easy navigation system set up in their car. Telematics has since expanded to alerting drivers about their fuel (fuel monitoring), and traffic alerts. Telematics technology can even help drivers roadside assistance and enable satellite radio.

The Metromile Pulse device uses a form of telematics, that connects to the 3G network and nearby cell towers allowing our technology to share with our customers a map of their trips, MPG data, GPS tracking, and it can even send street sweeping alerts in select cities. Telematics helps you to stay connected to your car in real time, and in the connected world we live in, it’s almost necessary. Companies will usually put all the data collected through telematics into a neatly organized place for customers to view, like in a mobile app. Metromile provides the smart driving app to our customers to view all the data that is collected, which can help them make informed decisions about their vehicle and driving and help them save money by monitoring the miles they drive and looking for ways to optimize their trips.

How Telematics has Changed the Insurance Industry

With telematics insurance companies can charge a premium based on usage-based or behavior based insurance models. Behavior-based insurance can be a good or bad way to evaluate your risk for insurance, it all just depends on how safely you drive. At Metromile we are usage-based and charge you a premium based on how many miles you drive, which is collected through the Pulse device.

Telematics can lower the costs of how much you pay for insurance. It allows for insurance companies to identify driver’s performance and conclude on the risks of who is more likely to cause an accident. At Metromile we believe, mileage is one of the biggest risk indicators. Overall the less time you spend on the road, the less likely you are to get into an accident. This is why Metromile is able to offer high-quality insurance at affordable rates to low-mileage drivers.

Pay-per-mile and telematics allows for accuracy in your insurance premium, since we only charge customers for the miles they drive. But, for behavior-based insurance it can help customers on saving if they are a safe driver. If you drive safe or drive less then thanks to telematics, you will pay less on your car insurance.

Our smart driving app and Pulse device makes car ownership as seamless, affordable, and as simple as it can be. To learn more about our technology and how it is helping low-mileage drivers save on car insurance go to https://www.metromile.com/technology/. To get a quick, free quote, click here.

Metromile; The Pioneers of Digital Engagement Insurance

This post originally appeared on The Digital Insurer. It was written by Rick Huckstep, Chairman, The Digital Insurer. Rick is an InsurTech thought leader, keynote speaker, advisor and investor to tech start-ups. Not yet a Metromile customer? Visit metromile.com/insurance to learn more about our pay-per-mile insurance and get a quick quote.

vw-bug-metromile

Imagine a world where the insured has a continuous digital engagement with their insurer. Where the “insurance product” is a value add service that offers more than just financial protection. In this world, the insurance brand becomes “sticky” and churn becomes a function of product development, not promotional pricing. In fact, price is no longer the only buying criteria. This is the world of Metromile, the pioneers of digital engagement insurance.

To find out more for InsurTech Insights, Rick Huckstep spoke with Dan Preston, the CEO of pay-per-mile auto insurer, Metromile.

Value Trumps Price

Metromile were ahead of their time when it comes to digital engagement. This is the world of insurance protection where customers buy insurance cover because of the on-going value it provides, not just because of the price it is offered at.

In recent times, the buying of insurance has become associated with searching for the cheapest price. Online buying guides advise customers to always shop around for the best price and never auto-renew. Even the Regulators force statements on renewal notices to advise customers to shop around. This is commoditization in all its glory!

Which is good for consumers, right? Maybe at the point of sale, but when insurance is sold below premium, it means someone else is paying for it. Until renewal time, when premiums are increased significantly.

All this does is irritate the customer, further diminish trust in insurance and cause the customer to start all over again looking for a new insurer! What a waste of time and effort for everyone!

The Case for Digital Engagement in Insurance

The big problem in any price-only driven market is that cost of sale is a killer. Price points only ever go down, sales and marketing costs don’t (not at the same pace anyway), and this continually squeezes the whole supply chain. In the intermediated world of personal lines insurance, the addition of friction and inefficiency simply compound the cost (and margin) issue for insurers.

No matter how hard the insurer tries to build and promote a trusted brand, the uncertainty of premium pricing always undermines it.

The building of brand loyalty takes time and insurers don’t hang on to customers long enough to do so. For traditional insurers, their only opportunity to show value is through the claims experience. However, all too often, the insurer fails to seize the day and ends up disappointing the customer.

And yet customer feedback clearly shows they want more in the way of value. And are willing to pay for it!

Turning the Insurance Product into a Lifestyle Product

The advances in digital technology in the last decade have given insurers the means by which they can create “sticky” insurance products. Once they’ve “won” a customer, they can now hang on to them. They use enabling tech such as telematics, mobile apps, wearables, IoT devices to create ways of connecting and engaging with customers continuously.

The adoption of this enabling technology gives insurers the ability to dynamically improve risk ratings, to personalize premiums and adjust policy conditions on an ongoing basis. The traditional approach of a single, point in time questionnaire can be replaced by an ongoing assessment and review approach enabled by these new technologies.

As a result, we’ve seen the introduction of digital engagement products based on new sources of data, personalized to the specific risk conditions of the customer. These new technologies enable insurers to radically shift from being the provider of an enforced product to a provider of a value added service.

As Maria Ferrante-Schepis writes in Flirting with the Uninterested, “Insurance companies, when you really think about it, are not just in the protection business. They are in the ‘lifestyle continuity business.’”

Digital Engagement Insurance In Action

Great examples in Life and Health are Vitality and Oscar along with InsurTech platforms such as Fitsense and Sureify. Here, wearable devices combined with mobile apps enable digital engagement with the insurance brand to promote a healthy lifestyle. In so doing, the app becomes a lifestyle product, part of the customer’s daily routine. This makes it a lot harder to churn come renewal time.

In Home, the adoption of IoT devices has done more than (just) create a means for digital engagement. The IoT enabled smart home moves the insurer into the Loss Prevention space. Now, insurers can build insurance products that are focused on preventing the loss altogether. Prevention is always better than cure, right!?

Metromile Are the Pioneers of Digital Engagement

Metromile represents everything that defines #InsurTech as we know it today, and yet they pre-date the social media tag by half a decade! Metromile is a 7-year-old U.S. auto insurer I first wrote about back in 2015. Their business model is based on a pay-per-mile insurance product which they then wrap with other services to enhance the car ownership experience for their customers.

To enable continuous customer engagement, Metromile use tech in the form of the Metromile Pulse (a device that plugs into the car’s on board diagnostic port) and a smart driving app on the customer’s mobile. They recently announced Series C and D investment rounds that took the total money raised to $205m. It’s an impressive sum that puts them in the InsurTech fundraising upper quartile.

The thing that struck me about Metromile is that they don’t say anything about “insurance” when they describe what they do. Here’s what they say “About Us” on their website.

At Metromile, our mission is to empower drivers by creating a more connected and informed car ownership experience.

By taking our deep understanding of data and transforming it into information and services that make having a car less expensive, more convenient, and smarter, we aim to make the urban car experience as simple as it can be. And for some, we hope to make car ownership a possibility where it wasn’t before.

They’ve literally taken an insurance product and turned it into a lifestyle product!

Leveling the Playing Field for Low-Mileage Drivers

When it comes to auto insurance, the main risk factor is how often drivers are on the road. If you’re not on the road then factors such as claims history, driving behavior or condition of car, are insignificant. In the case of auto, this means those that don’t drive very much subsidize the higher mileage drivers. This is because traditional auto insurance products take a blunt instrument approach to assessing driving time.

Metromile say that customers can save on average $500/year on auto insurance (which is roughly 40-50% of the typical cost of insurance). You will see something similar in the UK from Cuvva. They claim their Pay-as-you-Drive insurance can save drivers up to 70% of traditional insurance premiums.

Creating Value that Every Insurance Customer Gets

In a recent call I had with CEO Dan Preston, I asked him about digital engagement and the Metromile model. He told me, “There are typically 3 interactions the insurer has with their customers. When they sell a policy, when they renew and when they receive a claim. There’s nothing in those interactions that adds value. Even the claims process is so full of friction that it becomes an unpleasant experience for the customer. It’s the place where NPS goes to die!

“When we started Metromile we quickly learned that customers want more than just a good claims experience. They want value through digital engagement.”

Metromile-AVA-System-Desktop-Mobile

Here’s the thing that Metromile figured out early (and earlier than most). By creating value over and above the insurance product, they create value that EVERY Metromile customer benefits from, not just those that might go through a successful claims experience.

Dan explained, “We set out to build Metromile into more than just an insurance business. We wanted to help our customers manage the cost of running a car. This includes everything from maintenance and regular servicing, to parking and speeding tickets.

“One of the early features on the app was a feature to help drivers avoid parking tickets by informing them of street sweeping schedules. We took publicly available data in the San Francisco area and laid that over our customers’ movements. Using the app, we were able to direct customers to parking areas that would not risk parking tickets. Some customers reported that the savings in parking fees more than paid for the cost of our insurance!”

As Metromile moved into new jurisdictions, they found that the data they wanted and needed to support the value-add services in the app were not always universally available.

Dan explained, “Ultimately it became a data collection exercise for us to collect data unique to the car and the driver as we went into new areas. In many places, the data we needed was in PDF format. We found ways to extract the data and still provide the features in the app.”

Metromile’s Win-Win Through Value and Loyalty

This is the real point of digital engagement – creating a win-win.

The customer gets value from the digital engagement with a lifestyle product (and tangible benefits such as less parking fees!). And insurers see less churn, better (risk) data about customers and a greater sense of loyalty/connection/trust.

This is where behavioral economics kick in. It is this sense of trust and loyalty that directly links to lower levels of claims fraud and embellishment. None of this would be possible in a traditional auto insurance product. Metromile has exploited technology to enable this digital engagement. The key is the Metromile Pulse; a dongle that customers plug into their car to read the on-board telematics data and connects to the mobile phone and the Metromile app.

This allows Metromile to know when the car is being driven and when it is not. In turn, this allows Metromile to price on a per mile basis for insurance, turning it off and on accordingly

Metromile’s AVA Delivers an Automated Claims Experience

Metromile’s latest tech addition enables an automated claims experience. At the time of an incident, data captured by the app and the dongle is used by Metromile to settle a large number of claims. Many of them automatically and instantly.

They can do this because they are not waiting on a claims adjustor to collect information to support a claim. Instead, through the customer’s Pulse device, Metromile is able in many cases to verify and validate a claim without human intervention. In these scenarios, there is no reason to not pay a claim instantly.

The turning point for Metromile came about a year ago when they became a fully licensed carrier. Dan told me, “We’ve been handling claims in-house for about year now. In that time we’ve launched AVA, our AI claims assistant and the most exciting product launch to-date at Metromile! We wanted to create a different experience for customers, one that was different to the traditional experience, with much less friction for customers.

“For the customer, all they want is to get back on the road. But for the traditional carrier, they won’t settle until they’ve got all the evidence that they need to justify the claim. In the traditional claims experience, often the problem is that the carrier only has the word of the customer to go on. Trust isn’t very strong in this relationship and the result is that it takes time.

“With Metromile, the Pulse can verify what the customer is telling us. Our tech can verify facts such as speed and location and time. The customer doesn’t need to provide this data because we already have it. This leads to instant payout or for the Metromile app to organise the repair and servicing of the vehicle.

“It’s another win-win because the instant and automated approach delivers a better customer experience by reducing cycle time and making it easy to claim. For Metromile, it lowers the cost of handling claims, which benefits customers in the long run by lowering premiums.”

Unpacking Your Pay-Per-Mile Insurance Policy: The Metromile Policy Explained

Have you have had car insurance for years and still don’t know what type of policy you have or what the heck any of it means? Insurance jargon and policies can be confusing. There are a lot of new definitions and lingo that you may not have heard before. How much coverage does someone really need to have anyway? What kind of coverage did you sign up for? What is ‘Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury’ coverage and what does it mean for your pay-per-mile insurance coverage?

Blue VW Van on dirt road. Breaking Down Your Pay-Per-Mile Insurance Policy

We get it; you need insurance but you don’t need to be an insurance expert (unless you want to be!). So we are here to clear up all the questions that your pay-per-mile insurance declaration page may have brought up. From Bodily Injury to Roadside Assistance, here’s what it all means:

  • Bodily Injury (BI): If you get into an accident and you, the insured, is legally liable for the accident, this coverage can help. It pays for injuries/death to people involved in the accident, but not limited to, emotional injury or mental anguish resulting from the bodily injury. Also, BI limits will pay for any legal defense cost if you are sued for the accident. The limits of this coverage depend on the limits that you chose to have.
    How It Works: There a set limit per person and set limit per occurrence or accident. Once the limit has been exhausted there is no more coverage that can be provided. This coverage is not optional and you must at least have the state minimum limit on your policy.
  • Property Damage Liability (PD): This coverage is for when you damage someone else’s property with your vehicle. Typically, it is someone’s vehicle, but it can also be applied to other property such a buildings, utility poles, fences and garage doors. Just keep in mind that property can be anything is tangible. This coverage also covers any legal defense and child safety seats if the child was in it at the time of the accident. Again, this coverage is not optional and you must at least have the state minimum requirements.
  • Uninsured Bodily Injury (UBI): Pays for injuries if (up to the coverage limit) the insured person and/or other passengers in the vehicle were injured as the result of an accident where the other party is at-fault and is uninsured. If you are involved in a hit-and-run then you must report within 24 hours to the police and file a claim and give a statement within 30 days. This coverage includes medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering costs.
  • Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): Very similar to Uninsured, this coverage pays (up to the coverage limit) the insured person and other passengers in the vehicle while they’re insured as the result of an accident where the at-fault driver has inadequate insurance coverage.

    Note: For both UBI and IMBI coverage options there are split limits where you can choose a per person limit and a per accident limit.
  • Medical Payments: Are hospital bills, funeral expenses, or doctor bills just piling up after your accident? Do you need a see a chiropractor or a psychiatrist afterward too? Regardless of who is at-fault in the accident, Medical Payments will cover the cost up to the limit on the policy.
    How It Works: This coverage is optional and driver’s may rely on their own or their passengers’ health insurance to cover resulting injuries too.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This coverage is only available in certain states and provides broad protection for medical costs, lost wages, loss of essential service normally provided by the injured person (child care or housekeeping) and funeral costs. PIP coverage can be used regardless of who is at fault in an accident, though some states may require a deductible.
  • Comprehensive Deductible: Comprehensive Deductibles are optional. A Comprehensive Deductible will kick in when your car is stolen or damaged in ways that don’t involve a collision. This could be hail damage, glass breakage, fire, vandalism, damage from an animal, flood, earthquakes, falling objects and theft.
    How It Works: The deductible amount is the out-of-pocket expense that you agree to pay for losses up to set amount.
  • Collision Deductible: Similar to Comprehensive Deductibles, Collision Deductibles are optional and can be used for when your car is damaged due to colliding with another object, like a brick wall, a tree, or another car. This coverage protects your car only and not the other party’s property, or injury.
    How It Works: The deductible amount is a set amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket if accident falls under collision coverage.
  • Collision Deductible Waiver: Uh oh, were you in an accident where an uninsured causes damage to your car? The collision deductible waiver waives your collision deductible in this instance.
    How It Works: You need the license plate number or name of the person that caused the damage and you must report this claim within 10 days. Keep in mind this coverage is not available in every state.
  • Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): This covers the damage to your vehicle if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Some states offer either Collision coverage OR UMPD coverage – but not both.
    How It Works: UMPD is not offered in every state and is typically optional coverage. There also might be a deductible required for this coverage, but this information can be found on the declaration page.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: Did you get into an accident and need a rental car? This optional coverage can help with that and reimburse you for rental car costs when your vehicle is disabled as a result of a covered accident or loss. The reimbursement amount can vary by insurance company. At Metromile if you have this coverage you can be reimbursed $30 a day up to $900 in total.
    How It Works: In most cases, you will need to have comprehensive and collision coverage to have rental car coverage too.
  • Roadside Assistance: Provides services such as towing (up to a certain amount of towing miles are typically free), flat tire change, locksmith services, and battery jump start to customers. It is definitely worth including on your policy so you will never be stranded.
    How It Works: Metromile provides 24/7 roadside assistance as an optional addition to our pay-per-mile insurance offering. Customers can either give us a call or request assistance directly through the Metromile app or dashboard.

Taking the time to understand your pay-per-mile insurance policy can ultimately help you save in the long run. It is better to make sure you are fully covered and protected than having to pay out of your own pocket and regret it later. Your future self will be so appreciative that you took the time and made sure you had the right coverage on your policy. That’s why Metromile lets you check and change your pay-per-mile insurance coverages at any time, through the app or just by giving us a call.

Metromile is trying to make car insurance and car ownership even easier with pay-per-mile insurance and the smart driving app. If you drive less than 200 miles per week (like 65% of the U.S. drivers), Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance offering could save you hundreds. Even though you’re paying less you still will have the same great coverage you are used to. We offer many different levels of coverages to choose from including, liability, comprehensive and collision. To see what coverage is offered in your states or to see how much you could be savings get a quick free quote.

Explaining Your On-board Diagnostic System: The OBD-II Port

We’ve been talking a lot lately about usage-based insurance models like the Metromile pay-per-mile model. The great thing about usage-based insurance is that you are only charged based on the miles you drive. So if you have a car, but don’t drive very far you could save a ton of money with pay-per-mile car insurance from Metromile. But have you ever wondered how we measure your miles? Usage-based insurance, and therefore Metromile’s pay-per-mile offering, wouldn’t be possible without the OBD-II port.

Porsche on rainy downtown road. OBD-II Port

If your car was built after 1996 and has a gasoline engine, chances are high that it has an OBD-II port. The OBD, or on-board diagnostics port began as a way to measure a vehicle’s emissions. California, in particular, wanted a way to combat the growing issue of smog, so in 1966 they began to require emissions testing in all vehicles. This requirement was gradually adopted nationwide by 1968. In 1988, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a requirement that all vehicles sold in the state include on-board diagnostics. This first port would become known as the OBD-I. If your car was made before 1996, you likely have the OBD-I. Today, all new vehicles nationwide are required to include the OBD-II port. This next-generation of diagnostics had evolved from emissions testing to monitoring other performance-related aspects of the car, like the engine and chassis.

Here’s how the OBD-II works:

  • Your car has a Powertrain Control Module (PCM) that constantly monitors the engine. If it detects a problem, like excessive oil consumption, your ‘Check Engine’ or service light will come on and remain on until the issue is resolved.
  • A repair technician can connect a scanner to the OBDII port, download your car’s data, confirm a diagnosis and start on the necessary repairs or resolution.

So, if something is wrong with your vehicle; ranging from engine malfunctions to tire pressure, the OBD-II port is the best way to diagnose the problem. In fact, the OBD system is even proving to be an important factor in reducing the damaging effects of car emissions on our environment. Since the introduction of the Clean Air Act and the OBD requirement, toxic emissions have steadily decreased. Companies are also developing devices to use in tandem with the OBD-II port in all sorts of new and inventive ways. For example, our per-mile insurance customers plug the Metromile Pulse device into the OBD-II port to measure exact mileage. This enables us to provide low-mileage drivers with a more fair insurance pricing model, since their monthly bill is based on the miles they drive, not just on a rough estimate (which other insurance companies sometimes offer a small discount for). We also use the Pulse to help drivers decode the mysterious check engine light without visiting the mechanic, see personal driving stats and avoid street sweeping tickets. We’ve even used GPS functionality on the Pulse to help recover stolen cars! Fleet management services are using OBD devices as well, allowing them to communicate with their vehicles in real-time and monitoring things like location, speed and driver behavior. With a recent Deloitte survey finding that 72% of smartphone users see value in connected car technology, we expect to see additional use cases of OBD devices in the near future.

Overall, the OBD-II port helps provide transparency into key operational features of your vehicle so that you can make every effort to keep your vehicle in the best possible shape. Even with the amount of data provided, you should always make sure to stay up-to-date with your car’s maintenance schedule. Don’t delay changing your oil or overlook a Check Engine light that stays on.

The OBD-II port is a great example of the evolution vehicles have gone through over the decades. What began as a way to test emissions has evolved into the portal for mechanics and drivers to obtain data about cars and fix potential problems. For Metromile, the OBD-II is how we have unleashed the awesome amount of data to make driving less of a headache and enable drivers to make savvier decisions. Want to see the power of an OBD device in action? Learn more about Metromile’s per-mile insurance offering and get a free quote now.

Comparing Usage-Based Insurance and Behavior-Based Insurance Models

Typically car insurance works by taking your personal information – like age, driving history, location, etc. – down and giving you a set of rates that you can choose to pay monthly or pay all up front for 6 months. There may be discounts offered that help the overall cost, but nothing really substantial that really excites you or differentiates one insurance company from all the others. But did you know that majority of US drivers drive less than 10,000 miles a year? In fact, 65% of drivers pay higher premiums to subsidize the minority who drive the most. Ouch, that can definitely hurt your wallet! Luckily, there are two insurance models that are disrupting the car insurance industry and helping people save more money; behavior-based insurance and usage-based insurance.

usage-based insurance compared to behavior based insurance

Behavior-Based Insurance

Behavior-based insurance is also known as pay-how-you-drive insurance. Behavior-based insurance models measure how you drive – not how often you drive. This includes distance traveled, speed, how much the driver breaks, time of day and weather conditions. Usually, this is all measured by a device that is plugged into the vehicle or through an app using smartphone telematics.

Some major benefits of behavior-based insurance are that drivers are encouraged to be more responsible and they also have potential cost-savings on their premiums if they have “good” or “safe” driving behaviors. The downside to this type of insurance is that often time other factors affect driving behavior; like the driving behavior of those around us, weather, or even a stray animal on the road. The driver’s behavior is potentially out of their control and doesn’t necessarily deem they are are a riskier driver.

Usage-Based Insurance

Usage-based insurance is measured by how many miles you drive your vehicle, like with Metromile’s pay-mile-mile model. This type of insurance uses a device that plugs into your OBD-II port to measure the number of trips you take per day and how many miles you drive on those trips. These devices may collect other data that can be utilized by the policyholder, but this data is not used to price the premium – just the miles you drive. Metromile’s smart driving app is a great example of this because customers can use it to track their car’s location, decode check-engine lights, and even get street sweeping alerts (in select cities)!

Usage-based insurance models are based on the idea that the less time a driver spends on the road, the less likely an accident will occur. This type of car insurance is great for low-mileage drivers and can help them save on their yearly total insurance premium. Since it is pay-per-mile, you pay your premium monthly, rather than upfront because your bill will be based on how many miles you drive per month, so it will likely vary month to month. If you drive a lot, however, usage-based models may not be your best option.

Side-By-Side Comparison

But, which one is better for you? Overall, It depends on what type of monitoring you are wanting and what kind of driver you are.

Since behavior based is assessed on how you drive, you will need to make sure you are being cautious on the roads and mindful of your speed and driving habits – this means watching out for how hard you brake, being extra careful with street parking in big cities, and minding the times of day you choose to drive. This type of monitoring might make drivers feel anxious when they drive since they are constantly being tracked on every little driving behavior that might be deemed too risky. If you make a mistake, or someone else does your rates could increase and then you really wouldn’t be saving.

Usage-based insurance does not base your rates on your driving habits. You can slam on the brakes, hit the gas pedal, or drive late at night — there is no judgment and your rates will not be affected by your behavior. Traditional insurance companies may ask you your annual mileage and possibly factor it into your rate as a discount, but usage-based insurance truly charges you a premium based on how many miles you drive. Since usage-based insurance requires driver’s to plug in a device to capture the miles, your monthly bill will never be subsidized for fellow customers that might drive more than you.

Here at Metromile we truly believe that low-mileage drivers should pay less on their car insurance. This is why we have created pay-per-mile insurance. We offer full coverage policies, believe in handling all claims efficiently, and provide 24/7 roadside assistance. If you’re driving less than 10,000 miles per year, Metromile could be a great fit. Click here to see how much your savings could be.

Dispelling the Myths of Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance

Paying for car insurance based on the miles you drive is a relatively new and revolutionary concept. Some insurance companies offer Pay How You Drive insurance programs where they monitor your driving behavior; if you drive too fast or brake too hard your rates will likely go up. With Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance model, we only monitor miles driven. So if you don’t drive very far, you won’t pay a lot. Your monthly bill will fluctuate based on how many miles you drove that month.

Car Driving Down Road with Text Overlay: 'The Myths of Per-Mile Insurance'

Car insurance can be confusing. With deductibles, premiums, and coverage types from here to Hong Kong, it’s easy to get lost among the technical jargon. Couple that with differing insurance models like pay-per-mile and Pay How You Drive, and it’s no wonder people find insurance shopping to be so disorienting. As pioneers of the pay-per-mile car insurance model, we are always happy to clarify any confusion about how pay-per-mile car insurance works. So, to make things a little bit easier for those considering making the switch, here are the answers to some common questions our team receives.

  • Myth: My rates will go up if I speed or slam on the brakes.
    No judging here- if you hit the gas pedal or slam on the brakes your rates will not be affected. We only measure miles, not behavior.
  • (more…)

Usage-Based Insurance Explained

Insurance: we’ve all heard of it, most of us have it; but did you know even within the different categories of Insurance – like Health, Life, Auto, and Home/Renters – there are different types of Insurance? And these different Insurance types calculate your insurance rates in different ways. So, what are these insurance types, and how do you know if they the right fit for you? Let’s dive in and explore your options!

Insurance Overview

In its most basic form, insurance is protection from loss – be it related to your car, your home or your health – insurance typically acts as financial protection. Most people subscribe to the typical insurance model which requires consumers to pay an annual premium based on certain factors like location, age, credit score, etc. When it comes to car insurance then, a typical insurance model would have most people in the same areas paying the same amount for car insurance, regardless of factors like how much you drive, and how you drive. This means low-mileage drivers, or people who drive less than 10,000 miles per year (65% of Americans), are subsidizing the costs for high mileage drivers.

That is where usage-based insurance comes in. With usage-based insurance, you only pay for insurance as you use the product or service that it insures. But it’s important to understand that not all usage-based insurance programs are the same. There are many factors that can affect your car insurance premium, such as driving history, the model of your car or your geographic location. That’s because typically, these are indicators that can predict how likely an accident might be. The two, main usage-based insurance models are Pay As You Drive and Pay How You Drive.

Behavior-Based Insurance Models

With Pay How You Drive usage-based insurance models, like safe driving programs, the overall costs are dependent upon how much you drive and your driving behavior. Companies that offer this kind of coverage will use devices to monitor how you drive and how much you drive. Many insurance companies have deemed driving behavior to be one of the most important indicators since a driver who frequently slams the breaks is likely at a higher risk to be involved in an accident. That’s why insurance companies reward good driving behavior with insurance discounts. The trade in? Your driving behavior will be monitored, and the occasional mistake could affect your premium. The way insurers measure safety varies, but some of the most common factors include the time of day, average speed, sudden acceleration and hard braking.

Usage-Based Insurance Models

With Pay As You Drive usage-based insurance models, like pay-per-mile, your costs are dependent upon how much you drive. So, if you don’t drive a lot, you won’t pay a lot. That’s why Metromile offers pay as you drive insurance. With Metromile, you’ll pay a monthly base rate, plus a pennies per mile rate. We calculate your monthly mileage through a wireless GPS device called the Pulse, and your monthly bill will fluctuate based on how much you drove that month, not on your driving behavior. We believe that risk is determined primarily by the amount of time you are in the car. If you aren’t behind the wheel, you aren’t going to be in a car accident! Because we base your monthly bill on exact mileage, we typically save low-mileage drivers (under 200 miles per week) a lot of money compared to the discounts offered by other usage-based programs. On average, our customers are saving $500 a year!

The benefits of usage-based insurance don’t stop at financial savings either. By paying-per-mile people are taking control of how much they drive and cutting down on unnecessary driving, which is good for the environment. On top of that, usage-based insurance models require measurement devices which can provide additional perks, like with the Metromile Pulse and smart driving app you can monitor your car’s health, track and manage your trip data and even locate your car with the GPS tracker.

So what’s the best usage-based program for you? It depends on your driving style and how much you drive. According to The Zebra, most usage-based insurance programs offer about 10-15% discounts. If you don’t drive much, you could see much more significant savings (like over $500!) with Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance offering. Find out how much you could save by getting a quote with Metromile!