Metromile

Editor's Rating

Metromile is a pay-per-mile insurer — while traditional car insurers determine the bulk of your rate using complex formulas, Metromile's rate is composed of a fixed base rate and a cost-per-mile rate, both of which take into account your driving history, personal information and vehicle type. But does a better rate automatically translate into the best car insurance?

Good for
  • Cheap rates
  • Those looking for an easy shopping experience
  • People who like tech-savvy solutions
Bad for
  • Reliable customer service
  • Drivers in the 42 states where Metromile is unavailable
  • People who like fixed monthly bills

Metromile review: Low-cost auto insurance for occasional drivers

Pay-per-mile car insurance

Pay-per-mile auto insurance allows drivers to pay rates based on how much they drive. Drivers on the road more often are more likely to get into an accident. Those who drive less pose less of a risk to insurers and can take advantage of cheaper rates.

Even though the rates are based on your mileage, pay-per-mile insurers take into account factors such as your driving history, age, where you live, the car you drive and the coverage you choose.

With Metromile, a portion of your car insurance rate changes monthly based on the number of miles you drive, and the other portion is a fixed base rate. Both components are determined by your driving history, the type of car you drive and the amount of coverage you purchase.

Metromile offers great rates, particularly to those who drive 10,000 miles a year or fewer. However, because your monthly mileage determines your premium, it might not be ideal for drivers who prefer a predictable, fixed payment.

If you consistently drive only a few miles every day or don't drive every day, then pay-per-mile car insurance may be the key to lowering your rates. Metromile keeps track of your miles with Metromile Pulse, a small device that hooks up to your car's diagnostic port. Customers can disable the Pulse's GPS function — so it will capture how far you drive but not your location. Disabling the GPS will also turn off Metromile's smart drive features, like street sweeping notifications and trip tracking.

In conjunction with the Metromile smartphone app, the Pulse can:

  • Keep track of your driving routes.
  • Help you find your car if you forget where you parked.
  • Alert you to certain issues with your vehicle with error code detection.
  • Provide data on fuel economy.
  • Help locate your car if it's stolen.
  • Provide street-sweeping alerts in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, California, San Diego, West Hollywood, California, and Chicago.

Although Metromile offers drivers who spend less time on the road an opportunity to save money, there are some important considerations:

  • If you drive a lot of miles, your rates could end up being more expensive than with a standard insurer.
  • The company seems to focus on price over a smooth claims process, based on customer feedback.
  • Policies are only available in eight states: Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

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How does Metromile work?

Metromile sends drivers a free Metromile Pulse, which is a small wireless device that plugs into the car's diagnostic port. This is how the company is able to track your miles.

Additionally, Metromile uses the Pulse to monitor and adjust rates based on driving behavior in certain states. In Arizona, Illinois, Oregon and Virginia, Metromile takes the following habits into account when calculating rates:

  • Which days of the week you drive
  • What times of day you drive
  • Your average speed while driving

Drivers in the other four states where Metromile operates do not have their driving habits factored into their rates.

In terms of pricing, Metromile quotes include two values:

  • The first is a base rate that you pay every month.
  • The second is a cost-per-mile rate, which is multiplied by your actual monthly mileage.

The two numbers are added to determine your monthly rate.

For example, let's say your base rate is $40, your per-mile rate is 5 cents and you drive 200 miles a month. Here's how you would calculate your monthly rate:

($0.05 x 200) + $40 = $50

However, Metromile won't charge you more than 250 miles a day (or 150 miles per day in New Jersey), which can help keep your rates low if you go on a road trip.

{"backgroundColor":"blue","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EFor example, let's say your base rate is $40, your per-mile rate is 5 cents and you drive 200 miles a month. Here's how you would calculate your monthly rate:\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E($0.05 x 200) + $40 = $50\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EHowever, Metromile won't charge you more than 250 miles a day (or 150 miles per day in New Jersey), which can help keep your rates low if you go on a road trip.\n","padding":"double"}

How to get a quote

Like most other large insurers, Metromile has a simple online quote form that does not require speaking to an agent. You'll enter information about:

  • Your vehicle: Make, model, type, year and annual mileage
  • Your driving history: Accidents and other claims
  • Personal details: Age, marital status, driver's license status and occupation
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Once you finish your quote, you can purchase the policy from the website with a credit card. If you insure multiple cars on one policy, each will get its own base rate and mileage rate. Shoppers who prefer to get a quote via phone can call 888-242-5204.

Metromile Ride Along

If you want to try Metromile but you're not ready to commit to a full policy term, the company offers a trial program called Ride Along. Instead of using the Metromile Pulse to track your driving, drivers download the Metromile app to monitor driving habits for 17 days. At the end of the trial period, Metromile will estimate how much your monthly bill might be if you have the same driving patterns as you did during the trial.

You are not required to purchase insurance from Metromile after going through Ride Along. This makes it an ideal tool for those who find themselves driving fewer miles and want to try a pay-per-mile insurance program.

What coverage and discounts does Metromile offer?

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Metromile includes $1,000 of pet injury coverage if you purchase collision and comprehensive coverage, an unusual feature among other insurers. If your windshield or window cracks, Metromile also waives your comprehensive deductible if your car's glass can be repaired instead of replaced.

Other available coverages from Metromile include:

Depending on your state, some coverages are mandatory or optional. For example, Oregon drivers must purchase PIP insurance.

Discounts from Metromile differ depending on which state you live in. Drivers may be eligible for the following discounts:

  • Multicar discount for policyholders who insure more than one car with Metromile.
  • Homeowner discount for policyholders who own a home, mobile home or condo.
  • Multipolicy discount for policyholders who have a homeowners insurance policy with Hippo, a Metromile partner.
  • Mature driver discount for drivers over 55 years old who have taken a defensive driving course in the last three years.
  • Continuous insurance discount for policyholders who have been insured prior to signing up with Metromile.
  • Good driver discount for drivers who have avoided traffic violations and accidents.
  • Online discount for drivers who purchase their policy online.

Will Metromile save you money?

Metromile offers very affordable rates for drivers who travel fewer than 10,000 miles per year. We found that full coverage rates from Metromile were 22% cheaper than average for California drivers who put 5,000 to 7,500 miles on their car annually and 16% cheaper for those who drove 7,600 to 10,000 miles. For drivers who put 12,500 to 16,000 miles per year on their car, rates were 6% below the average — however, they were $340 more than the rates of the cheapest insurer, State Farm.

Graph showing Metromile full-coverage annual premiums vs. competitors

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Insurer
5,000-7,500 miles
7,600-10,000 miles
12,500-16,000 miles
Metromile$1,878$2,270$3,025
Progressive$2,196$2,414$2,976
State Farm$2,242$2,543$2,685
Allstate$2,775$2,986$3,551

Rate data from the California Department of Insurance.

Before you commit to Metromile, we recommend taking advantage of its trial program, Ride Along, for an estimate of how many miles you drive. Knowing how far you travel will allow you to get the most accurate quote.

Once you've completed the trial program, compare quotes from at least three other insurers, making sure you select the same coverage levels. Comparison shopping is always the best way to secure an affordable rate.

What about young drivers?

Young drivers are not immune to high rates from Metromile. Metromile quoted a 20-year-old driver from Los Angeles a base rate of $144 per month plus a mileage rate of 34 cents per mile for full coverage. Still, it's possible to save by limiting the number of miles you drive.

The average annual premium for a 20-year-old driver nationally is $3,816. Based on our Metromile quote, our driver could pay less if he drives fewer than 500 miles per month.

Where can you get Metromile?

A map of the states where Metromile is offered

If you are just looking for a great price and are not deterred by negative customer service reviews, you still need to be in a state where Metromile operates. Metromile operates in:

Downsides to Metromile

When an insurance company has low prices, it may come at the expense of something else — and Metromile is no exception. The company received over five times as many complaints as would be expected for an insurer of its size, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

While the company has a 24-hour claims processing center, which is convenient, customers complain about delays and denials of claims. There were also a few complaints about cancellation and billing, according to NAIC data.

Metromile does not insure drivers who use their cars for popular ridesharing or delivery services like Postmates, Uber or Lyft. If you use your vehicle in that way, you'll need to consider other insurers.

As a newer company providing highly competitive rates in a competitive market, it might fit the bill for drivers whose top priority is to save money. If you're willing to pay a little more for a reliable claims experience, however, we recommend going with another insurer.

How do you contact Metromile?

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Current and prospective customers can contact Metromile a number of different ways:

To get a quote or start a new policy, drivers can call 888-242-5204 or take advantage of Metromile's user-friendly online quote tool.

To file a claim, customers can utilize the online claims dashboard or call 888-595-5485.

Metromile's website also has a live chat feature, where current and prospective customers can ask customer service agents questions about policy features, billing and the Pulse.

Current customers should download the Metromile app to access digital insurance cards, contact roadside assistance, receive street sweeping alerts and more.

Does Metromile offer a bundle discount?

Metromile has partnered with Hippo home insurance to offer policyholders who purchase home insurance from Hippo in addition to auto insurance from Metromile a bundling discount of up to 15% on their policies.

How can I pay Metromile?

In addition to allowing payment via debit or credit card, Metromile is in the process of adopting Bitcoin as an alternative form of payment. The company will also make claim payouts via Bitcoin, should the policyholder opt to receive payments this way. Metromile is the first insurance company to use cryptocurrency for payments.

Is Metromile good insurance?

Metromile's rates are very affordable, and the company offers a high-tech experience ideal for infrequent drivers. However, its customer service reputation is very poor. The company received over five times more complaints than is standard for an insurer of its size, according to complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). If reliable customer service is a top priority for you, we recommend selecting another insurer.

Does Metromile offer full coverage auto insurance?

Yes. In addition to liability insurance, you can purchase comprehensive and collision insurance, PIP and medical payments coverage from Metromile.

Do other insurers offer pay-per-mile car insurance?

A handful of top insurance companies now offer pay-per-mile insurance options including the Allstate Milewise, Nationwide SmartMiles and Liberty Mutual ByMile programs. Geico does not have a pay-per-mile plan but uses a plug-in device called DriveEasy to offer a usage-based discount on its traditional insurance plans.

How do I install the Metromile Pulse?

To install the Metromile Pulse, all you need to do is insert the device into your car's on-board diagnostics port, or OBD-II port, usually located under the steering wheel. A light on the device should begin to flash. When it does, you can start driving and the device will share your driving data with Metromile.

Methodology

To compare Metromile's rates to competitors', we used rate data from the California Department of Insurance. Rates reflect the cost of a policy for a single driver operating a Honda Accord who has been licensed for 14 to 25 years and has a clean driving record. We compared rates in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose to determine statewide averages for full coverage insurance using the following insurance limits:

Coverage
Limit
Bodily injury liability$100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident
Property damage liability$50,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury$30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident
Medical payments$5,000
Comprehensive deductible$250
Collision deductible$500
Collision deductible waiverYes
Uninsured motorist property damageNone
Rental car reimbursementNone
Roadside assistanceNone

To determine how much Metromile charges young drivers, we used the company's online tool to get a quote for a 20-year-old driver who is a full-time student living in Los Angeles. He has a clean driving record and drives a 2017 Toyota Camry.

Coverage
Limit
Bodily injury liability$25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
Property damage liability$25,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury$25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
Medical paymentsNone
Comprehensive and collision$500 deductible
Collision deductible waiverNone
Uninsured motorist property damageNone
Rental car reimbursementNone
Roadside assistanceNone

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.