01 Oct Metromile Review
About 6 months ago I went looking for cheaper car insurance since I live downtown and rarely drive my car. Over the past four years I have only put about 7,000 miles on my car and I keep it to use on occasional longer trips out of the city – so I have grown tired of paying Geico $80 a month while my car sat in a garage. After spending about an hour researching online and looking at quotes from a lot of the usual car insurance companies you see on TV (Progressive, The General, Allstate, and esurance) I couldn’t even find a price that came close to the $80 a month I was already spending. FYI – if you are looking for a deal on car insurance don’t go with esurance (despite their claims that they were “born online” so they can give you the cheapest price) actually ended up being the most expensive quote at $145 a month for car insurance. It’s not like I am driving a Tesla so I have no idea why it was so expensive. Finally I came across an ad for Metromile after searching for “low mile car insurance” on Google. (Quick MM tip: for those of you who don’t click on the Google paid search ads you should because sometimes you can actually find great deals from smaller companies who can’t get on the first page of Google unless they pay for it.)
It was a pretty easy sell – Metromile is a car insurance company built for people who don’t drive their cars much and they charge a set fee per mile (aptly known as pay-per-mile insurance). This sounded exactly like what I needed. Metromile also appear to have a partnership with Uber and they specialize in working with drivers who work for rideshare companies. At first I actually thought that Metromile only provided insurance for Uber drivers (which I am not) – but this is thankfully not the case. After doing a bit of research on the San Francisco start-up, who have a killer idea and some solid silicon valley funding I decided to get a quote on their website which was super easy to use (thanks UX/UI designers).
The whole process was super simple and the best part was the quote they gave me to insure not only me but also my girlfriend for a base rate of 95 cents/day (approximately $29/month) plus 4.8 cents per mile. I calculated that my average monthly bill would decrease from $80 to about $35 a month. Done. Sold. I signed up immediately and have been using Metromile now for the past 6 months.
How Metromile Works
After signing up I was able to print out an insurance card quickly that I could put in my car while I waited for the Metromile tracking device to arrive at my house. The way that Metromile works is that they send you a small device that plugs into your car’s internal computer so they can track how many miles you have driven based on GPS. This tracking device works on most cars that were made in the years after 1995. All new users have 1 week to plug the device into their car without getting charged a penalty and it is important to keep the device plugged in at all times or else! (Metromile are sufficiently vague on this issue in their forums but they evidently either contact you or charge you a fee if its unplugged) – so just keep it plugged in. I haven’t had any issues with the device falling out or unplugging (a few people have complained it drained their car battery) – but not mine and the device worked immediately when I plugged it in. The cool thing is that the GPS is actually pretty strong and I can see when my car is parked two levels down in my underground garage. After plugging in the device I connected it to my iPhone app and got an email that everything was connected and tracking properly. That was it.
The Metromile User Platform
To see how well the app worked I then took my car out for a 5 mile drive to run a few errands and when I got home I checked out the app to see my journey. I was impressed that Metromile worked as described – I could see the miles that I had driven and where I had driven. Now I have access to an online platform and the Metromile iPhone app that gives me a ton of information on not only my driving patterns and logs of recent trips that I have made, but it also shows me where my car is parked and if I have any mechanical issues I should look into (none so far). Here is a screenshot of the platform when I am logged in – you can see that I have only driven 65.4 miles this week and have been averaging 17.4 average daily miles.
Metromile are also starting to test using data to track other variables in their “Labs beta” tab – which shows some cool stuff like the estimated amount I have probably spent on gas in the past week (which based on my own calculations seems pretty accurate). Another cool feature is the miles per gallon tracker that is very accurate compared to what I see on my car’s own dashboard. I look forward to seeing how the “Labs” features get expanded – if you are listening Metromile it would be cool to see how I compare with other drivers in my city or even better, other drivers with my own car. As Metromile scales and builds a larger user base they will hopefully be able to leverage some of their growing base of user data to compare me to other drivers.
Like most Millennials I have a fascination and passion for start-ups and I enjoy supporting and testing out new technologies like Metromile. When I saw that I could probably save $500-600/year it was a no-brainer to test out the service. So far I am happy with Metromile and my average monthly bill (even with a 1,000 mile road trip recently) has only been between $30-$52, so much cheaper than that $80 I was previously paying with Geico. Of course the real test for any car insurance company is when you need to file a claim – which I haven’t had to do yet and hopefully will never have to do. If I do I will keep you posted on what happens, but for now I couldn’t recommend Metromile more highly if you don’t drive much and even if you do it is at least worth getting a quote to see what you could save.
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