February 7, 2018

Metromile Insurance Review: Is It Legit?

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Low-mileage drivers have a pay-as-you-go insurance option with Metromile. Available in 7 states, your premium is based on miles driven plus a base rate.

© woodleywonderworks (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Metromile puts traditional car insurance to the test for low-mileage drivers. The company recognizes that low-mileage drivers overpay for car insurance. Their solution is a usage-based insurance. They quote drivers a base rate that they determine based on their driving record, type of car driven, and age of the car. This is similar to how other car insurance companies calculate your rate.

The base rate is the only fixed rate. You then pay a premium based on the miles driven. Metromile tracks the miles with their Pulse device, which you place in your car. Each month, Metromile reads the device and bills you for the miles driven.

Who Is Metromile Best For?

  • Occasional drivers: Driving fewer than 10,000 miles per year can provide substantial savings on this pay-as-you-go insurance. If you drive more than 10,000 miles, though, the per mile rate can add up.

  • Tech savvy drivers: Keeping track of your miles driven, gas mileage, or time spent driving is easy with this program. If you keep the GPS activated on the device, you can track your car (ever lost a parked car?) and even get alerts when something is wrong with your vehicle.

  • Drivers who can handle varying insurance bills: Your insurance bill will likely fluctuate from month to month. This means you have to be adaptable. If varying bills drive you crazy or if you are bad at budgeting, it could be hard to keep up with the constantly changing bills.

Why We Like Metromile

  • Rates not based on driving habits: Your rates are not based on how fast you drive or how hard you brake. You know your base rate and your per mile rate upfront. You can even keep track of your miles driven on the app, so you always know where you stand. You can minimize the unpleasant surprises monthly bills sometimes contain.

  • No penalty for occasionally driving more than 250 miles in a day: Driving more than 250 miles in a day won't result in any penalties or large bills. This benefits you if you hit that many miles sporadically, but if it's a regular habit, though, this might not be the right insurance for you.

  • Tech-savvy applications: Savings isn't the only thing Metromile offers. With the Pulse device, drivers can see their speed on trips, how much gas for the trip cost, and even where they parked their car.

  • Get alerts regarding your car's check engine light: The Metromile app helps you decode your check engine light. It also helps you find a mechanic to fix the problem.

  • Full coverage available: You can get as much coverage as you want or as little as your state requires. Metromile offers bodily injury, property damage, uninsured/underinsured motorist, personal injury protection, comprehensive, and collision coverage.

  • Roadside assistance available: If you are stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire or broken down car, Metromile offers roadside assistance, such as towing, flat tire help, and lockout assistance. Each policy differs - you must inquire about the services that may pertain to you.

  • Pet protection available: Driving with pets can put them at risk for injury if you are in accident. You can add pet protection onto your insurance, giving you up to $1,000 coverage if your pet suffers injuries in the accident.

  • Privacy control: If privacy is a concern for you, it's possible to turn the GPS locator off the Pulse device. It won't provide you with any of the perks above, such as finding your parked car, but it will still give you the mileage tracker that helps you save on your car insurance.

Why You Might Look Elsewhere

  • Claims take a while to process: If there's one common theme about Metromile complaints, it's the speed at which they handle claims. You submit your claim online. Then you are at the mercy of the adjustor or customer service agent to call you when they get to your claim. This could mean waiting days or even weeks for a call back.

  • You drive more than 10,000 miles per year: You don't get to take advantage of the low mileage discount if you drive more than 10,000 miles per year. It might even cost you more to use Metromile if you are not well under the 10,000-mile average.

  • You are on a fixed income budget: Unless you drive the same number of miles every single month, which is unlikely, you'll have varying insurance bills. If you prefer fixed bills that you can predict each month, the pay-for-what-you-drive plan may not be a good fit.

Customer Service

Being just a few years old, Metromile is still trying to figure out the perfect way to handle customer service.

They do offer 24/7 claims service. But this basically means you can file your claim 24/7. You may not hear back from an agent for a while. When they do help you, though, Metromile provides you with a dedicated claims professional who will help you through the claim process. They also help you find repair shops near you to speed up the process.

Recently, Metromile introduced automated claims processing. Not only can you file your claim online, but you can also upload the data from your Pulse device to help process the claim. Metromile states that some claims can even be handled automatically, getting you payment right away. We tend to think this is reserved for very minor claims, but it's a nice feature nonetheless.

Customer Service Phone Number: 1-888-242-5204

Dashboard

Drivers can access information about their driving habits, including miles driven, the cost of routes taken, and gas mileage online. All you need is your ID and password to gain access to this information. Basically, the dashboard provides you with ways to save money. It does not, however, give you any feedback on your driving habits. If money is your main concern, the dashboard serves its purpose. If you want to lower your insurance rates based on your driving habits, you'll need to look elsewhere.

App

The Metromile app does many of the same things as the dashboard. The difference is you have access to the information on-the-go. The app takes things a step further though. It will tell you:

  • Your car's health status
  • Decode any check engine light warnings
  • Send alerts when street sweepers are cleaning the street you are parked on (certain cities only)

How It Compares

Low-cost insurance is something many drivers want. Perhaps Metromile's largest competitor in that arena is Geico. Known for its rock-bottom prices for standard insurance, Geico is a fierce competitor. It's not a pay-as-you-go policy, though. You pay the same premium every month based on your individual factors. But those rates are among the lowest in the industry.

Unlike Metromile, Geico offers discounts for various things aside from the multi-vehicle discount, such as:

  • Safety features on your vehicle
  • Good driving habits
  • Defensive driving classes
  • Customer loyalty

Geico is also available in all 50 states, whereas Metromile is still only available in 7 states. Metromile does have a "waiting list" on their website that you can sign up for. You will then be alerted when the insurance is available in your area.

Geico has been around for 80 years and Metromile is still in its infancy, barely hitting 5 years on the market.

If saving money is your main concern, Geico takes the cake for high-mileage drivers and Metromile has a slight edge for low-mileage drivers, assuming you aren't eligible for many other discounts.

Bottom Line

In our opinion, if you don't drive often, Metromile may save you money every month. City dwellers who drive only a few miles at a time see the greatest results. Metromile makes it very convenient to use their insurance and service with one simple device to plug into your car.

We suggest determining how many miles you drive on average per year and compare your cost with standard insurance policies. If you are close to the 10,000-mile threshold, you may want to consider other options. If you are on the other spectrum, though, paying only for what you use could come in handy.

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