Metromile Car Insurance Review: Auto Insurance

Metromile auto insurance reviews of this pay-per-mile usage-based car insurance company show a full-service insurer with a different rating system. Rates are unique and are calculated on a per-day basis with a per-mile fee added on top. Metromile car insurance quotes are often lower than standard insurance rates.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: May 4, 2021

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Metromile is a San Francisco-based newcomer to the auto insurance market that offers pay-per-mile car insurance and a highly technological system- just what you’d expect from Silicon Valley. The startup offers a revolutionary approach to car insurance rating and is currently available in a handful of states, with plans for expansion in the near future thanks to investors and growing popularity.

If you’re wondering how Metromile auto rates are calculated and whether it’s right for you, read on. Our Metromile review has all the details.

If you’re looking at usage-based car coverage like that offered by Metromile, you should compare it to the rates offered by other companies.

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What is Metromile Car Insurance?

Metromile was founded in 2011 in Redwood City, CA with the goal of making car insurance more affordable to those who do not spend a lot of time on the road but may take the occasional road trip. Two years later the company moved to San Francisco, where the headquarters is located today. The Metromile phone number is 1-888-242-5204.

In 2015, locations were opened in Boston as well as in Tempe, Arizona. While Arizona is one of the states they cover, Massachusetts is not currently covered, in spite of the opening of the Boston office. Currently, Metromile coverage is available in Oregon, California, Washington, Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. They are looking to expand to other states in the near future.

In July of 2018, the company secured Series E funding with investments from Japanese company Tokio Marine and Canadian company Intact Financial. This new investment was expected to lead to the expansion of Metromile’s market.

Metromile has a modern and unusual approach to car policies, rating vehicles based on a combination of the actual number of miles they are driven blended with the traditional approach. While traditional auto insurance companies take annual mileage into account, they do not rate based on actual mileage. Monitoring systems offered by traditional insurance companies can offer rate reductions based on driver habits, but it’s not true pay-per-mile. How does Metromile’s setup compare to the best usage-based car insurance?

Metromile uses a device that plugs into the car’s onboard diagnostic port, called Pulse. It transmits information back to the company to determine how many miles the car is driven. Through the Metromile app, the device can also provide the car’s owner with current alerts and information about the car’s “health” by reading mechanical codes. It can also be used to help locate a stolen car via GPS.

Plans for even more technological advances in the future include the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the claims process.

Previously underwritten by American General Insurance company, Metromile began underwriting its own policies in 2016 – although they note that some (older) policies are still underwritten by American General. All new policies are underwritten directly.

The company currently employs nearly 250 people, and it is growing fast. Policies are sold directly online as well as over the phone.

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How Do Metromile and Metromile Pulse Work?

Although they operate a little differently from other insurance companies in terms of rating, Metromile offers the same type of coverage options. We will take a look at the coverage options as well as breaking down the rating system Metromile uses to determine how much each driver pays.

Currently, Metromile does not handle SR-22 or FR-44 insurance filings in any state except California – and then only under specific circumstances. Drivers who require a filing will need to obtain coverage elsewhere.

Coverage

Metromile offers multiple levels of liability insurance, with the low end starting at the state legal minimum. Personal injury protection, medical payments, and uninsured/underinsurance motorist coverage are all available either in compliance with state laws or as optional coverage.

Comprehensive coverage and collision coverage can be added, with deductible options at $250, $500, or $1,000. All policies with both of these coverages include $1,000 in pet injury coverage at no extra charge, a benefit only offered by a handful of car insurance companies.

Additional add-on options are similar to those at other insurance companies, including rental reimbursement and roadside assistance. Metromile keeps things relatively simple as part of their approach to car insurance, they do not have any of the more gimmicky and trendy add-ons we see at other car insurance companies, like accident forgiveness or disappearing deductibles.

Pricing

It is in the pricing department that Metromile really stands out. They start with a base rate that is calculated in a more traditional way – your driving history, where you live, the type of car you drive, and your years of experience all have an impact on this rate, just as with any other insurance company.

The base rate is calculated on a per-day basis so that in shorter months the bill will be smaller and in longer months a little more.

On top of this base rate is the per-mile rate. This is based on the information transmitted by the Metromile Pulse device, and it will differ each month.

Each bill will, therefore, include next month’s base monthly rate, calculated based on the number of days, and the per-mile charge for the previous month. Thus, if you are paying a bill at the end of June, you will be charged a base rate for the 31 days in July, as well as the total miles, driven in June. What this means is since billing is for the miles per month, no two bills will be the same, which may be a bit frustrating to those who like to keep a tightly planned budget.

The rating amounts (the base rate and the per-mile rate) are guaranteed not to change during the 6-month policy duration unless you make a policy change. They may increase on policy renewal, however, based on a number of factors.

To allow for occasional longer drives – like road trips – Metromile caps the number of miles per day charged at 250 (150 in New Jersey) so that even if you drive 1000 miles in a day, you will only be charged the daily limit.

This system is likely to mean much lower rates overall for those who do not drive a lot of miles, but it will probably prove more expensive if you have a long commute or drive long distances on a daily basis.

What Car Insurance Savings Can I Get?

Since Metromile handles things differently from other insurance companies, they do not have the same type of discounts we see from other companies.

They do offer a multi-car discount for insuring more than one vehicle with the company as traditional insurers do, but we were unable to find any sign of other discounts. Their pricing system encourages the infrequent driver to earn their own discount by driving less whenever possible.

The Pulse device is the heart of the Metromile auto insurance system. It works similarly to the telemetric devices used by other insurance companies to monitor driving habits for a safe driver discount, but unlike most others, it isn’t keeping tabs on your driving habits other than the miles you drive.

In addition to submitting your monthly mileage to the insurance company, Pulse also transmits information to the app, which customers can use to keep tabs on their vehicle. It is not necessary to use the app, but it’s offered as an added bonus.

The Pulse device plugs into the same system that monitors your car and sends up what are known as “codes” when something is wrong – otherwise known as the check engine light. The Metromile app receives these codes and can decode them for you – telling you what is going on with your car.

Additionally, Pulse is a GPS device. That means it can help you find your car, whether it has been stolen or you just forgot where you parked. It will even notify you of impending street sweeping so you can move your car, and help you track your own driving habits. These features can be disabled if desired, although the mile tracking cannot since it is necessary for rating your auto policy.

How are Claims Filed?

In keeping with its modern approach, the company offers more than one electronic option for claims filing.

Claims can be filed online on the Metromile website. They can also be filed on the app; their app filing system does not just start the claim, but it also allows the customer to complete the entire process.

Claims can also be filed over the phone at 888-595-5485.

There is an email address, [email protected], but it appears to be for inquiries on an existing claim rather than to file.

Roadside assistance has a different phone number to call for claims, 800-983-3400.

Glass repair claims can be handled without a deductible, which is a common feature offered by most insurance companies. We were unable to find a different phone number listed for glass-only claims, however, so these appear to be filed through the main claims system.

Metromile does have a network of recommended repair shops, but the customer can choose any shop they prefer for repairs. Claims status can be monitored using the app, by calling the claims center, or by using the email address listed above.

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Are the Company’s Car Insurance Reviews Positive?

Metromile car insurance ratings include an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They have been accredited since 2013, and there are only 38 customer service complaints on file in the past three years, 12 of which were closed in the past 12 months.

Google has 213 reviews of Metromile, with an overall 3.8-star customer satisfaction rating. The main consumer complaints appear to be about rate increases every 6 months, but there are also some complaints about claims service. There are also plenty of positive reviews, with a lot of comments regarding a good customer service experience. While the complaints talk about rate increases, the positive reviews talk about how much money was saved for occasional and low-mileage drivers.

Metromile responds to each review, whether positive or negative, which is something we always like to see in an insurance company. The complaint volume isn’t particularly high for the size of the company, and the positive reviews offer a good balance.

The California Department of Insurance conducts consumer complaint studies on all admitted carriers. Their study not only counts complaints but also examines them to determine which are justified and which are without merit. Of the 17 complaints they found for Metromile in 2017, only three were found to be justified. Seven complaints were found to be without merit, while the rest were closed either with company correction or other methods.

The justified complaints examination gives a different view from the complaints found online, and it is often more helpful. This is due to the fact that negative reviews may be a result of many causes, including the customer’s lack of understanding in regards to how the insurance policy actually works or what is covered and not covered.

What’s the Bottom Line?

The company is well worth a closer look if you drive infrequently. If you work from home, are retired, or often use public transportation instead of driving, they may offer you a much lower rate for auto insurance coverage than you can find anywhere else. For those who do a lot of driving, Metromile is likely to be more expensive than a traditionally rated insurance policy.

Metromile’s reputation appears to be solid and they are growing; we would not be surprised if a few years from now they are covering all 50 states. This company, and its approach to rating drivers, will be one to watch in the future.

Now that you’ve learned all there is to know about Metromile car insurance, it’s time to check out some quotes.

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