If you are looking for a cheaper option for auto insurance, Metromile offers an intriguing solution. Its charges are based primarily on how much you drive.
Launched in 2011 in San Francisco, Metromile sells car insurance to people who would rather pay by the mile. As of August, 2019, it is available in eight states, including Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
The company’s target market is people who drive very little. If you drive fewer than 10,000 miles per year, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars a year on your car insurance.
What Metromile Covers
Metromile has all of the options you would get with most carriers. It covers bodily injury and property damage and has uninsured or underinsured motorist protection. It has the usual comprehensive and collision deductions from $250 to $1,000.
You also get 24/7 claims service and even roadside assistance.
- Metromile is alternative car insurance where rates are primarily determined by mileage.
- Metromile uses a monitor that plugs into a car's diagnostic port to track miles driven.
- Traditional factors, such as age, credit history, and driving history, determine a driver's eligibility for Metromile insurance.
- In addition to the driver's qualifications, the car must be equipped with an OBD-II port.
Metromile insurance charges a flat monthly fee plus a mileage fee. You may pay $40 per month plus 5 cents per mile, for example. If you drive 500 miles per month you would pay $65 per month or $780 per year. As with traditional insurers, the fee varies depending on your driving record, age and where you live.
There are some exceptions to the mileage rule. First, Metromile will only charge you for up to 250 miles per day, or 150 per day in New Jersey. That means that the occasional road trip won’t break the bank, but you'd run up a hefty bill with a cross-country trip.
No Coverage for Uber or Lyft
Metromile recently cancelled its partnership with Uber and does not cover competitor ride sharing service like Lyft, either. It recently partnered with Turo to create fractional insurance, which helps drivers from being double-charged or double-insured. Metromile customers who are also Turo customers will only pay the per-mile charge when their car is not shared with someone else through Turo. Turo's insurance kicks in when someone else is driving the Metromile customer's car.
How does Metromile know how many miles you drive? It uses Metromile Pulse, which plugs into your car’s diagnostic port, the same one your mechanic uses to diagnose problems with your car. Pulse then sends a raft of data to Metromile that you can access on the app or online. This includes not only mileage but the condition of your vehicle and your location. Pulse has an alert system that notifies you if you need to move your car off the street. These alerts are called street-cleaning notifications. Metromile also provides Pulse adapters to support customers who may be driving an older car or cars like Teslas.
Metromile insurance works much like any other carrier when it comes to eligibility. Your driving history, age, credit score, and other factors determine your base and per mileage rates. That means there can be big differences between what you and your neighbor would pay.
Also, your vehicle has to have an OBD-II port. If your car isn’t more than 20 years old, you probably have one.
The Bottom Line
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.