Metromile Auto Insurance Review: Innovative Company Great for Infrequent Drivers

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Metromile is bringing a new style of car insurance to the market, and it's great for those who aren't putting in a lot of miles behind the wheel. 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?

Good For...Bad For...
Drivers with under 12,000 miles/year Drivers with over 12,000 miles/year
Those looking for an easy shopping experience Drivers in the 43 states where Metromile is unavailable 
People who like tech-savvy solutions A smooth and easy claims process

Table of Contents 

Metromile Review: Low-Cost Auto Insurance for Occasional Drivers 

Metromile tends to rank among the top three cheapest car insurance for those who drive infrequently (less than 12,000 miles). The young company believes how much a person drives is the biggest indicator of their likelihood of getting into an accident. About half of your rate is based on how many miles you drive per year. The other half is the base rate, which is a fixed amount determined by your driving history, type of car you drive, and amount of coverage. As a result, your auto insurance premium will change each month based on your mileage, which might not be ideal for drivers who prefer a fixed monthly payment that's easier to budget around. If you consistently drive a few miles every month, then Metromile Pulse may just be the key to saving on car insurance.

Metromile keeps track of your miles by giving you a small device called a Metromile Pulse, which hooks up to your car's diagnostic port. While some people may be uncomfortable with devices that track their GPS, the Metromile Pulse may well be worth it in terms of reducing your costs. In conjunction with the Metromile smartphone app, the Pulse keeps track of your driving routes, and tells you how to cut down travel time, and even optimize for gas for further savings.

There are some considerations, however. If you drive more than 12,000 miles a year (which is the national average), then Metromile will be more expensive than other options. Next, as a company that focuses on price, there seem to be shortcomings with its claim process based on customer feedback. While drivers may file a claim 24/7, the process has been purported to be slow and at times frustrating. The young company is also only available in seven states (CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA), so it will not be available for a majority of motorists. 

How Does Metromile Work?

How does Metromile keep track of your miles? Simply, they send you a Metromile Pulse which is a small wireless device that plugs into your car’s diagnostic port. From there it will keep track of your miles. Unlike Progressive’s Snapshot, which also tracks your miles, it will not keep track of your driving habits. For example, if you tend to brake hard, or drive fast, the Metromile Pulse won’t report that. Progressive customers who signed up for the Snapshot, but had those habits actually saw their rates go up. You won't have to worry about that with Metromile. 

In terms of pricing, Metromile quotes you two values. The first is a base rate which you pay every month. The base depends on standard factors like your driving history, the car you drive, and the coverage you want. Like with other insurance companies, going with full coverage over basic will generally double the price. If you are young and/or risky driver, the base rate will also be higher. The second is a cost per mile rate, which is multiplied by your estimated monthly mileage. The two numbers are added, and that’s your monthly rate. Take for example, a base rate of $40 and a rate per mile of 5 cents. If you drive 200 miles a month (about 2,400 a year) your monthly rate will be $50 per month ($40 + (0.05 * 200)). If you suddenly need to drive 600 miles in one month, then that month increases to $80, which might put a strain on a tight budget. Metromile won’t charge you more than 150 miles a day if you were to go on a road trip. 

How Do You Get a Quote and What Coverage Do You Get? 

Like most other large insurers, Metromile has a simple online form that does not require speaking to an agent. You will be asked like in any other quote form to input information on your vehicle (make, model, type, year, annual mileage), your driving history (accidents, and incidents), and then information about yourself (age, marital status, driver’s license status, and occupation). Once you get your quote, you can purchase the policy from the website with a credit card. If you sign up multiple cars on the policy, each will get its own base rate, and each will get its own mileage rate. In terms of types of coverage, Metromile offers the same as every other auto insurance company. 

Depending on your state some coverages will be mandatory or optional. In Oregon for example, you will have to purcahse PIP. 

Will Metromile Save You Money? 

Metromile does have the potential to save you lots on your car insurance--but only if you are an infrequent or occasional driver. Although a mile may only cost a few cents, driving 12,000 miles (the national average) per year translates to several hundred dollars. Typically, the base rate will be less than $50 for the sample 30 year old clean driver we evaluated, but several accidents, or opting for full coverage will increase it. We took a look at Metromile quotes from their home state of California, and compared it to quotes from other companies. The prices below reflect a 30 year old male driver of a 2011 Toyota Camry from Los Angeles, who has opted for full coverage car insurance.

Company6,000 Miles12,000 Miles18,000 Miles
Metromile $1,116 $1,476 $1,908
GEICO $1,188 $1,282 $1,380
Nationwide $1,524 $1,704 $1,692
Progressive $1,536 $2,100 $2,384
Century National $1,572 $1,668 $1,968
Grange $1,656 $1,716 $1,716
State Farm $2,052 $2,052 $2,052
Unitrin $2,196 $2,196 $2,580
Bristol West $2,352 $4,056 $4,428
Allied $2,592 $2,604 $2,628
Kemper Specialty $2,760 $2,940 $3,516

Our driver who drove less than 6,000 miles would be saving at least $400 a year by going with Metromile over every other company beside GEICO. For those who drove 12,000 miles would also be saving a good deal by going with Metromile. Anything over that though, other companies offer better deals. 

What About Young Drivers? 

You may wonder if the low base rate would apply to young drivers as well. Young drivers usually face expensive rates, with the national average being over $7,000 per year for full coverage. Metromile is not immune to high rates for young drivers however. A few quotes we got for a 20 year old driver from L.A. showed he would be paying a base rate of $180 per month, and a mileage rate as high as 18 cents per mile! Still, if the young driver keeps their mileage low, they may still have a better deal than they would at another company.

Where Can You Get Metromile? 

If you are just looking for a great price, and don't mind the poor track record of customer satisfaction, you still need to be in a state Metromile currently operates. As of September 2016, Metromile operates in only California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Virginia. The company received $191.5MM of funding in September 2016 too, which will allow them to expand operations into other states. It is likely they will be in your state in the near future. 

More Features of Metromile

A Metromile policy also comes with a few other perks beside a policy. The most interesting of these is the Metromile app. The Metromile Pulse, the tool that tracks your miles, turns out to do more than just that. In fact, the Pulse will tell you how to optimize your trips to save on gas and mileage. It will also keep track of your car's health, tell you when a street is being swept (in certain cities), and even tell you where you parked your car. All this info is uploaded onto your account on the Metromile app, allowing you to track it all straight from your phone. 

Uber Drivers & Metromile

Metromile has a special partnership with Uber where drivers can be insured in all parts of the ride. As we go into more detail here, there is a gap in coverage when an Uber driver uses their personal vehicle. Metromile will cover that gap, so long as customers continue to pay their mileage rate. As soon as you are matched with a rider however, Metromile stops counting and all miles you accumulate until the rider is let out are on Uber. This is arguably the best insurance for Uber drivers since they do not have to spend any more than they would. Other companies, if they even have an Uber provision, charge extra for insurance while Uber driving. 

What Are Things to be Wary of with Metromile? 

Usually when an insurance company has low prices, it comes at the expense of something else. GEICO for example frequently has the cheapest pricing, but it tends to have lower customer satisfaction when it comes to actually using the insurance. State Farm on the other hand, though usually more expensive, has an extensive agent network with usually well received customer satisfaction. While the young company has yet to receive formal reviews from the likes of J.D. Power, there exists a number of online customer reviews. They all tend to agree that the pricing for Metromile is great, but the claims process can be quite troublesome. 

While they have a 24-hour claims processing center, which is convenient, customers complain the speed at which it is conducted is very slow. Numerous customer reviews state how several weeks or even a couple months will pass without getting an update on a car that needs repair after an accident. There were also a few misgivings regarding billing practices. As a newer company providing highly competitive rates in a highly competitive market, it might fit the bill for customers who require lower monthly rates.

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