– Metromile Auto Insurance –
Metromile Auto Insurance is best known for its cheap auto insurance for low-mileage drivers. However, this article dives deep into how this pay-per-mile car insurance works and if it’s right for you.
While traditional car insurers determine the bulk of your rate through complex formulas, Metromile emphasizes the amount you drive yearly. Does a better rate automatically translate into the best car insurance around though?
What is Metromile?
Metromile is an auto insurance startup based in the heart of a city that’s difficult to drive in San Francisco. Founded in 2011, Metromile is changing the way we shop for car insurance through its innovative approach and convenient online platform.
This type of insurance is designed to benefit urban drivers who typically don’t drive as much as their suburban counterparts, with what it calls pay-per-mile insurance.
With Metromile, you’re quoted a monthly base cost along with a fixed per-mile rate. You agree to transmit your mileage through its proprietary Metromile Pulse, a device that plugs into your car.
Policies come with 24/7 customer service and a claims team accessible through a full-service app.
This startup is focused on rolling out pay-per-mile insurance in states with dense urban populations. If you’re looking for a provider that offers multiple types of insurance, you may want to look elsewhere.
Pros and Cons of Metromile Auto Insurance
If you’re a sporadic driver who’s OK with tracking your mileage, you could save hundreds of dollars over traditional policies.
- Pay for your actual use: Your rate is based on how much you use your car and how well you drive, not any risk assumptions based on your age, gender, or other demographics.
- Easy claims: File a claim online or call a toll-free number to report your policy number, accident information, names, and vehicles involved in your accident.
- Handy driving app: The sweet app can track your trips, decode your car’s diagnostic codes and alert you to city-specific street-sweeping and parking reminders.
- Multi-car discounts: Add more than one car to your quote to save on each car’s base and per-mile rates.
There’s a lot to like with Metromile. But it comes with plenty of restrictions at the moment.
- Limited states: While Metromile plans to expand, it currently services only Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
- Older vehicles excluded: Metromile’s mandatory mileage device excludes older vehicles that may not have a port to plug it into.
- Not all drivers eligible: Underwriting guidelines could prevent some drivers from qualifying for pay-per-mile insurance.
Usage-Based Insurance With Metromile
The basic premise of Metromile is that you should save money on car insurance if you don’t drive very much. You might think Metromile is just like other usage-based insurance options, like Root or Progressive’s Snapshot.
However, that’s not the case at all. Metromile only cares about the miles you drive, and nothing more.
Alright, well the company does care about your accident history, your age, and where you live for calculating rates. But if you drive late at night and tend to take sharp corners, your car insurance rates won’t go up.
As long as you don’t get a ticket, you could be a bad driver and still get good rates from Metromile. This contrasts with other usage-based insurance options, which often put high importance on your driving habits.
The Metromile Pulse
The Pulse is Metromile’s data collection device. To have Metromile, you need to use the Pulse. It plugs into your car’s OBD-II diagnostics port, and you should leave it plugged in unless your car is being serviced.
The Metromile Pulse communicates data by a cellular signal, so you need to live in an area with adequate cell service – and getting service for the Pulse is a concern in many Metromile reviews.
Metromile also has an app, but it doesn’t depend on the app for mileage data. With the app, you can monitor your car’s health (tire pressure, check engine light codes), change your policy, file claims, and learn about your driving habits.
While the Pulse can track other things like acceleration, mileage is the only thing that matters for your rate. The Pulse can also track your car’s location, and a few customers have actually recovered their stolen vehicles because of that.
However, you can turn that feature off if you want to. You can also download a copy of the data that Metromile has collected at any time through your online dashboard.
Speaking of data, Metromile can also use data from the Pulse device when you report a claim. Since it contains movement and diagnostic information about the car, it can speed up the process of settling a claim.
Metromile’s Car Insurance Coverage Options
Metromile offers the standard car insurance coverage types available from traditional car insurance companies including:
- Bodily Injury
- Property Damage
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
- Personal Injury Protection/Medical Payments
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
First-party coverage benefits, like comprehensive and collision coverage, are offered with a choice of deductible at $250, $500, and $1000.
Metromile offers a discount for insuring multiple vehicles with them. Other discounts vary by state.
How Does Metromile Track my Mileage?
When you sign up with Metromile, you’re sent the Metromile Pulse, a device that plugs into your car’s onboard diagnostic port.
This device transmits your driving data to Metromile’s system, where it’s available for you to view and play with through the Metromile app.
You can also use the app to pull up your insurance cards or policy documents, see where you last parked, learn about your car’s check-engine light and more.
Have an older car? The plug-in device can be retrofitted for older cars with an extra adapter for your car’s cigarette lighter.
Metromile offers a handy car ownership app that helps you track and optimize mileage, find your parked car, and even get street-sweeping alerts in major cities.
Best of all, because it communicates with the Pulse device plugged into your car’s computer, the app can even help you run diagnostic information and decode check engine lights, saving a trip to the dealer.
You can submit claims right from your phone
Like the major insurance providers, Metromile enables you to submit claims right from your phone and call for 24/7 roadside assistance.
Also, if you purchase comprehensive coverage, Metromile will repair small cracks in your windshield for free.
Metromile stops charging after 250 miles per day
Lastly, Metromile won’t punish you for going on long road trips. The meter stops running after 250 miles per day, or just 150 for New Jersey residents.
So if you take the new family minivan from OR to NY and back, you’ll be totally covered for ~$20 each way.
The Cost of Metromile
Low costs are one of the things you will commonly hear about in positive Metromile reviews. Metromile breaks your total cost into two parts: a base rate per month and price per mile.
The base rate is a monthly fee that corresponds to the number of days in a particular month. The rate stays constant during your insurance period, but you’ll pay slightly more for longer months. On your bill, you’ll pay the base rate for the upcoming month.
This rate is charged per mile that you drive in a given month. On your bill, you’ll pay for the previous month’s mileage.
Your base rate and per-mile cost can vary with your coverage level and your personal situation. Both rates take into account your age, credit, driving record, what type of car you drive, and more.
When looking at quotes from Metromile, both rates will increase and decrease together according to the coverage level you choose. In other words, there isn’t an option to choose a low base rate and high rate per mile, or vice versa.
Here are some hypothetical cost scenarios:
|Base Rate||Cents Per Mile||Mileage Per Month||Monthly Charge|
Metromile’s website says that the monthly base rate can start as low as $29. Also, it claims that people who drive about 1,700 miles per year can save $947, while people who drive about 9,000 miles per year can save $541.
The average person drives about 1,200 miles per month according to the Federal Highway Administration, but that’s a high number for Metromile.
Generally, if you drive 10,000 miles a year or more (about 900 per month), you might want to consider other providers. You might find more affordable rates elsewhere if you drive even less than that, too.
The good thing is that you can forecast your expenses right in the quote from Metromile and see what you’ll pay before you make your purchase.
Who is Metromile Best for?
Occasional drivers: Driving fewer than 10,000 miles per year can provide substantial savings on this pay-as-you-go insurance. If you drive more than 10,000 miles, though, the per-mile rate can add up.
Tech-savvy drivers: Keeping track of your miles driven, gas mileage or time spent driving is easy with this program. If you keep the GPS activated on the device, you can track your car (ever lost a parked car?) and even get alerts when something is wrong with your vehicle.
Drivers who can handle varying insurance bills: Your insurance bill will likely fluctuate from month to month. This means you have to be adaptable. If varying bills drive you crazy or if you are bad at budgeting, it could be hard to keep up with the constantly changing bills.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much does Metromile charge per mile?
Metromile’s per-mile rate depends on different things – like your age, the state you live in, and the coverage level you want. It can range from six cents per mile to twelve cents or more.
2. Is Metromile Auto Insurance any good?
Metromile is a good insurance option if you’re a low-mileage driver and if you can verify that the Pulse device gets a good signal during your daily routine. This is a common issue in Metromile reviews from customers.
3. Who is Metromile owned by?
Metromile is an independent company. It is privately held and is owned by its founder, David Friedberg, and investors.
4. Does Metromile track speed?
Metromile’s Pulse device can track your acceleration, speed, and motion, but it does not factor these into your rates. The only thing that matters is your mileage, which sets it apart from many other usage-based options.
5. Does Metromile have full coverage?
Yes, Metromile offers full coverage. You can get liability, comprehensive, collision, MedPay, PIP, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage from Metromile. The provider also offers roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement coverage.
The idea sounds great and it may work well if you drive infrequently. A quick, non-scientific look at reviews of the company found them to be mixed.
Many reviews say that the claims experience was less than ideal, and some people report that the price went up after six months to the point where it became cheaper to purchase traditional insurance.