Metromile Car Insurance Review
Metromile sells pay-per-mile car insurance that caters to people who don’t do a lot of driving. Instead of paying a fixed rate for auto insurance each month, Metromile customers pay a base monthly fee plus a few cents for each mile driven.
This usage-based style of car insurance has the potential to save drivers money when compared to traditional auto insurance, since the less you drive, the less you pay. For this reason, it has become an increasingly popular option during the coronavirus pandemic, which has idled many cars and commuters across the country. Still, there are many factors to consider that affect whether this type of insurance is right for you.
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Metromile Pros and Cons
Potential for cheap car insurance if you drive short distances or infrequently
Vehicle location and diagnostic services are included for free
Only available in eight states
Restrictions on ridesharing
Not compatible with older vehicles that lack diagnostic ports (OBD-II)
Data collection of mileage and location
How Metromile Works
Metromile takes a usage-based approach to car insurance, similar to how utility companies handle gas and electric bills. Metromile charges customers a base fee each month for insurance coverage plus a few cents for each mile driven. For example, let’s say your policy has a $30 monthly fee and a $0.05 charge per mile. If you drive 800 miles that month, your monthly payment would add up to $70. If you drive 200 miles, you’d only have to pay $40. However, if you don’t drive your car at all, you still need to pay that base monthly fee of $30, or whatever it may be on your policy.
This pay-per-mile car insurance gives drivers the potential to save money, when compared to traditional insurance, if they drive infrequently or commute short distances. It could also mean that you pay very little for car insurance one month and a lot more the next month if your driving habits change.
On the plus side, Metromile only counts daily mileage up to 250 miles (150 miles for New Jersey drivers). Anything further is free of charge for that day, so you aren’t penalized for taking the occasional long road trip, or two.
As of this writing, Metromile sells car insurance in eight states: Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. If you don’t live in one of these states, don’t worry. There are plenty of other car insurance companies to choose from.
Metromile tracks your mileage using a GPS-equipped device called the Pulse, which plugs into your vehicle’s OBD-II diagnostics port. This port is typically located under the dashboard and next to the steering column; it’s a standard feature on all 1996-and-newer cars manufactured for the U.S. market.
In addition to recording mileage, the Metromile Pulse can also be used in conjunction with the company’s smartphone app to diagnose a check-engine light, find your vehicle when parked, track the location of your vehicle if stolen, and – in some cities – notify you of street sweeping.
Metromile Car Insurance Costs
The cost of Metromile insurance largely depends on how often and how far you drive, since you pay a few cents per mile. The more you drive, the more you’ll have to pay. That said, the base monthly fee also plays a big role in how much your insurance policy costs. This fee is calculated using a variety of factors, such as your age, vehicle type, driving record, and credit history. It’s due each month, even if you haven’t driven your car.
One thing to consider is that a bad driving record will almost always result in expensive coverage, regardless of which insurance company you choose. That’s just the nature of car insurance.
Metromile offers a few discounts that you may be eligible for. There’s a safe driving discount for drivers with an accident-free record, as well as a multi-car discount for customers that add multiple vehicles to their policy. One of Metromile’s most unique discounts is offered through its smartphone app. If you’re a prospective customer, you can enable the Metromile app to monitor your driving habits and mileage over a two-week period. Once this test drive is complete, the app estimates what you might pay if you were to switch insurers.
Who Should Get Metromile Car Insurance?
You may want to consider Metromile insurance if you live in one of the eight states where coverage is available: Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. This pay-per-mile insurance is designed for low-mileage drivers that don’t fit the mold of traditional auto insurance policies, which typically reflect an annual mileage of 10,000 to 15,000 miles. If you have one of those policies but only drive short distances or infrequently, you could be overpaying.
There are lots of drivers that may fall into this category, such as college students, retirees, stay-at-home parents, and people that work from home, as well as drivers with short commutes or convenient public transportation options.
On the other hand, there are a number of people that are better-served by traditional car insurance, such as those that drive well over 10,000 miles per year. The potential cost savings of pay-per-mile insurance starts to dwindle as you rack up the miles. Additionally, Metromile only insures personal vehicles, so those with fleet or commercial vehicles will need to shop elsewhere. Drivers for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft aren’t covered either.
Types of Coverage from Metromile Car Insurance
Metromile offers the same basic car insurance coverages as most other insurers. These include liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection, medical payments coverage, as well as collision and comprehensive coverage. Let’s take a brief look at what each of these terms mean.
Liability insurance compensates the other parties affected in a car accident, if you are at fault. This type of insurance is required in almost every state, and it’s split into two parts. Bodily injury liability coverage pays for medical care, such as hospital stays and rehabilitation. Property damage liability coverage pays for vehicle repairs, vehicle replacement (the value of a totaled vehicle), and to fix damaged landscaping, buildings, and other structures.
Personal injury protection, or PIP, pays for medical bills and lost wages if you or your passengers are injured in an accident. This type of coverage is often called no-fault insurance, because it covers these costs regardless of who is at fault in the accident. It’s required in a handful of states but optional in others. Medical payments coverage is optional. It also pays for medical bills, but not lost wages.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your and your passengers’ medical bills and property damage if the driver at fault in an accident doesn’t have insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage pays these expenses when the driver at fault doesn’t have enough liability coverage to do so. A number of states require these types of insurance.
Collision insurance pays for the damage caused to your vehicle in an accident. Comprehensive coverage pays for other types of damage to your car, like vandalism, flood, and hail damage. These coverages aren’t required by law, but they are often required by your lender when leasing or financing a vehicle.
In addition to these main coverages, Metromile also has optional roadside assistance coverage, glass repair coverage, and rental car reimbursement coverage.
Metromile vs. the Competition
Usage-based car insurance is still a relatively new and niche practice, but that’s changing. Many well-established insurance companies are jumping into the market with their own usage-based plans. So far, two types have emerged.
A rate-discount program is the best starting point for most shoppers, especially for those unsure of their annual mileage. Examples include Progressive Snapshot, Allstate Drivewise, Nationwide SmartRide, and Esurance DriveSense, among others.
These are conventional car insurance policies supplemented by a telematics device that monitors driving habits like speed, braking, time of day, and mileage. Responsible drivers may earn a discounted rate. Unsafe drivers could see an increase in their rate, depending on the program. The bottom line is that with these programs, what you pay has more to do with how well you drive, and less to do with how far.
Pay-per-mile programs put much more emphasis on how far you drive. Examples include Metromile, Allstate Milewise, and Nationwide SmartMiles. Drivers pay a base rate as well as a per-mile rate, giving them almost complete control over their insurance costs, albeit at the expense of unlimited mileage.
The major difference so far with these pay-per-mile plans is availability. As of this writing, Metromile is offered in only eight states: Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
Milewise is available in 13 states: Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia, as well as Washington, DC.
SmartMiles is offered in 21 states: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming, as well as Washington DC.
There are multiple ways to contact Metromile. You can call Metromile customer service at 888-311-2909. To get a free quote, call 888-242-5204. To file a claim, you can call 888-595-5485 or visit the www.claims.metromile.com site. Metromile is based in San Francisco, California.
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The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in 2020
Average Annual Rates:
- USAA: $885
- Geico: $1,168
- State Farm: $1,234
- Travelers: $1,267
- Progressive: $1,373
- American Family: $1,391
- Farmers: $1,682
- Nationwide: $1,864
- Allstate: $1,880