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Telematics Inside Look: Metromile

Learn more about Metromile in our deep-dive analysis of the telematics-powered insurance company.

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The state of auto insurance looks a bit different in 2020, as companies work to deliver more personalized options to drivers. Metromile offers car insurance based on how much you drive. If you hit the road less frequently, you could save quite a bit of money — Metromile claims its customers save $741 per year on average.

So, how does Metromile work?

 

What’s inside the Metromile app

Unlike other telematics companies, which consider factors like how safely you drive and the time of day you travel, Metromile determines your premium based on how much you drive. You’ll pay a base rate, plus a per-mile rate multiplied by the number of miles you’ve driven.

For example, if your monthly rate is $29 and your per-mile rate is six cents, driving 450 miles will result in a $56 charge for the month. However, if your monthly rate is $49 and your per-mile rate is 10 cents, those 450 miles will cost $94 instead.

The Metromile Pulse device plugs into your car’s diagnostics port and transmits data to the insurer. The device can collect data like quick acceleration or hard braking, though it won’t use that to calculate your rate.

Within the app, you can see data like:

  • Your mileage totals according to the Pulse device
  • Your policy documents and insurance cards
  • Trip details, like your distance, speed and gas spending
  • Parking details, including street sweeping alerts to prevent you from being ticketed
  • Car health, which can point you toward a mechanic to fix any vehicle issues

Metromile is currently only available in eight states: Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

 

Metromile app

 

Other Metromile features

Before fully committing to the service, the Metromile app offers a “Ride Along” feature. You’ll download the app, answer a few preliminary questions, and then drive as you normally would for 17 days. Metromile will then offer a personalized quote, which you can compare to your current insurance rate. Metromile also considers safe driving in Oregon, which could help you save up to 40 percent on your premium.

Worried about taking a longer trip? Metromile stops charging for the day after you reach 250 miles (150 in New Jersey), so you won’t pay for driving additional miles over that threshold. 

In terms of coverage, Metromile offers the same options as other auto insurance companies. You can choose to get coverage for:

 

How Metromile affects your phone and privacy

The Metromile app uses location and motion data from your phone. It’s able to tell when you’re the passenger and not driving, so your mileage data should remain accurate. To start using Ride Along, you’ll need to provide your name, email address and birth date. 

Metromile also gathers information such as:

  • Application and communications, including using the app and service to receive your driver’s license number, social security number, educational background, occupational information and vehicle and driving history.
  • Driving activity, like your vehicle, miles driven, speed, acceleration, collision and impact and location information.
  • Linked applications, using information from third-party services and app providers (such as car sharing marketplace Turo) to provide extra features and functionalities.
  • Tracking technology, using cookies, beacons, tags and scripts to analyze trends and track users’ movements around the website. 

 

Metromile’s impact on your premium

Will you save money with Metromile? That largely depends on how much you drive and where you live. 

According to the company, driving 10,000 miles a year (a little more than 27 miles per day) saves drivers an average of $541 annually. Meanwhile, driving 2,500 miles (just under seven miles a day) saves drivers $947 per year.

The “driving distance” insurance model means your premiums will change every month with Metromile. If you’d rather budget for a fixed monthly cost around your insurance, Metromile probably isn’t the best fit for you. 

Additionally, Metromile is currently unavailable in 42 of 50 states, so you may not be able to use the service even if you want to.


The final word

Whether you find Metromile worthwhile depends largely on how frequently you drive. If you have a long commute or regularly drive to visit friends or family, you’ll probably pay more than you would with another company. However, if you find yourself walking or taking public transportation to most destinations (or are a member of a carpool), you could see some good savings with Metromile. 

It’s worth noting that although Metromile has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, there are still several complaints about the company. Most of those complaints stem around rates rising without warning or explanation, a poor claims process and a lack of communication from customer service.

In the end, it’s your decision. Whether you sign up with Metromile or not, it's a good idea to reassess your car insurance situation once every six months. Enter your ZIP code below to see what you could save. 

 

Compare insurance policies online today.

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