CompareNow Bots Tracking Metromile Review: Usage-Based Insurance for Low-Mileage Drivers

Metromile Review: Is It For You?

March 28, 2016

MetroMile LogoStandard car insurance policies are like an all-you-can-eat buffet. At the buffet, you pay a flat price whether you load up your plate 10 times or only sample a few sushi rolls. In the same way, your insurance company — while it might give you a small discount for being a low-mileage driver — charges you about the same whether you’re driving all day or leaving your car in the garage.

Enter Metromile, a usage-based insurance company. Metromile offers pay-as-you-go insurance for people who drive less than 10,000 miles a year. How does it work, and is Metromile worth it? Continue reading our Metromile review to find out.

Metromile Review: How Does It Work?

Most insurance companies consider your daily miles driven when setting your car insurance premiums, in addition to factors such as a driver’s age, credit history and driving record. Metromile goes a step further and offers usage-based insurance to match the exact miles you drive each month. The company sets a monthly base rate for your premium, then a per-mile rate.

How does this work? Metromile uses a telematics device: a small electronic gadget that plugs into your car’s diagnostics port and collects data about your driving. This isn’t a new concept: many insurance companies use telematics to track their customers’ habits behind the wheel, such as average speed and instances of hard braking. Metromile is different because it promises not to look at how you drive, just how much you drive.

Every month you pay your base rate plus the per-mile rate multiplied by your actual miles driven. Metromile gives the example of one real-world customer who pays $29.70 each month plus 3.8 cents per mile. If he drives 500 miles in a month, his bill is $48.70. Taking a long road trip? Your daily mileage charges are capped at 150 miles per day, or 250 miles per day in Washington, so Metromile won’t charge you for miles exceeding those amounts in a single day.

Metromile review: Here are the pros

  • Low-mileage drivers can save a lot with usage-based insurance. Metromile is a welcome car insurance option for people who don’t drive a lot. If you have a short commute (or no commute), or if you use your car only infrequently, you could see your insurance premiums drop significantly. “If you’re driving under 5,000 miles per year, you will save 40% to 50%” on your car insurance, Metromile CEO Dan Preston told TechCrunch in 2014.
  • Metromile is backed by a major insurance company. Entrusting your car insurance to a startup may seem risky, but Metromile’s policies are underwritten by insurance giant National General Insurance.
  • Metromile Pulse provides useful driving data. Pay-per-mile insurance customers will receive the Pulse and be able to use the smart driving app. The Metromile app has more than a few neat tricks, too. It can diagnose car problems and remind you about impending street sweeping if you live in select cities. It can even help you locate your car. The app went through a major redesign in November 2015 to better help customers with car health, parking, trips and insurance.
  • Metromile insurance has complete coverage plus some nice perks. Pet injury protection up to $1,000 is included in comprehensive and collision coverage (except in Illinois and Virginia). You also get roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement.

Metromile review: Here are the cons

  • Metromile is available only in a few states. As of March 2016, Metromile is available to customers in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.
  • Vehicle tracking raises privacy concerns. Do you want Big Data knowing where, when and how often you drive? Concerns have arisen recently about insurance telematics devices being susceptible to hacks, meaning bad guys could have access to your driving data or even your car’s functions. Metromile has a privacy policy and assures its customers that the Pulse is designed to be secure. Metromile also allows insurance customers to disable the Pulse’s GPS function via their online dashboard.
  • Metromile’s driving data tools are limited. Metromile doesn’t provide the safe-driving feedback that other insurance company devices do, but instead focuses on helping drivers save money by managing their driving time and fuel costs.

The bottom line on Metromile

If you work from home, drive infrequently or prefer to take public transportation, Metromile’s usage-based insurance can deliver major savings. However, it’s wise to do the math first. If your annual mileage is close to 10,000, you may find your monthly payments with Metromile aren’t much — or any — lower than with your existing insurance. The easiest way to save money on your car insurance is to get quick, free and accurate quotes from multiple companies with compare.com.

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