About Metromile Auto Insurance

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Oct 11, 2017

If you don’t use your water or electricity at home, you don’t pay for it, right? With their pay-per-mile insurance, Metromile Auto Insurance uses this same concept to help customers who drive less than 10,000 miles per year save $500+.

In addition to allowing urban dwellers to simplify the car-owning experience—and even helping “make car ownership a possibility where it wasn’t before”—Metromile insurance policies provide the same level of coverage that you’re used to with other carriers. You’ll just pay less.

Metromile also promises customers access to a 24/7 claims team, along with an OBD-II dongle (more next) that can decode your check engine light, manage how much you drive, and even remember where you parked your car.

If you live in the city and drive relatively little, you should have lower rates than someone who commutes 60 miles a day, right? But is Metromile really as “revolutionary” as they’d like you to think? Even if they are, does this mean they’re your best option?

Let’s start answering your questions by looking at the “engine” that powers Metromile insurance.

Metromile Pulse OBD-II Dongle & Smartphone App

The Metromile Pulse is a small wireless device that plugs into your car’s diagnostic port (the same one used by your mechanic to diagnose problems with your car), without the need for tools or any other hassle.

According to Metromile, any information shared through your OBD-II port will be collected by the company, including the health of your vehicle (things like a check engine light). It can also track your miles driven, your location using GPS (this can be turned off at any time), and its onboard accelerometer and gyroscope can measure changes in velocity and angle (useful in the event of an accident).

Finally, Pulse’s data can be accessed through Metromile’s app or through their online dashboard, where you can see routes that cost the least to drive, track and compare your gas mileage over time, monitor your car’s health, and even receive street sweeping alerts (currently available in Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles).

If you receive any alerts, the Pulse can help you decode the problem.

Metromile Pulse AppThe Pulse app can help you identify potential problems, decode engine codes, and quickly explain the situation in down-to-earth language. Image credit: Google

Given Metromile’s focus on technology—not to mention the fact that they specialize in insuring low-mileage drivers—how much can you expect to pay?

How Much Does Metromile Auto Insurance Coverage Cost?

We’ll talk about how Metromile establishes their rates in just a second, but in a nutshell, all their premiums are based on a monthly base rate, plus “a few cents” per mile. Here’s a quick example:

Let’s say you have a base rate of $35 per month, plus $0.05 per mile. If you drove 5,000 miles per year, you’d pay a total of $670 in total, or about $55 per month.

  • $35 base rate X 12 = $420
  • 5,000 miles X $0.05 per mile = $250
  • $420 + $250 = $670 per year

Pro tip: For a more personalized approach, be sure to use the savings estimator when you get a quote at Metromile.com, or call an agent directly.

However much you pay, your bill will consist of the current month’s base rate, plus your mileage charges for the previous month. If you don’t drive any miles during a month, you’ll only be charged the base rate.

You can earn multi-vehicle and mature driver (55+) discounts on your Metromile policy. Metromile provides paperless document delivery and automatic billing and there are no fees for termination your policy.

Are Metromile’s Rates Really Based On Mileage?

If you go on a road trip, you won’t be charged for any miles you drive over 250 miles per day (150 miles in NJ). You also won’t be charged when driving a rental vehicle. What happens if you regularly drive more than you normally do ?

According to Metromile’s FAQ, you’ll be assessed your standard per-mile charge, but “you will never be penalized or have your rate increase purely because of an increase in annual miles. You are allowed to drive as much as you’d like …”

With average annual auto rates just north of $900, we can see from the numbers above that Metromile might be a drastically less expensive option compared to traditional insurance. However, if we were to triple the annual mileage in our example to 15K, this would result in a new annual premium of $1,170—far higher than the national average.

So, while Metromile’s eligibility (again, more soon) might not be based on mileage, their insurance is for low-mileage drivers and rates probably won’t be very competitive once you break the 10,000-mile mark.

What Coverages Does Metromile Auto Insurance Offer?

Metromile Auto Insurance offers four different levels of liability protection, along with "full" coverage:

Pro tip: Remember that if your car is leased or financed, the bank might require higher coverage than you’d otherwise choose, which can increase your premium.

The reason you want coverage on your vehicle is so that it’ll be covered in the event of an accident. But what can you expect from the Metromile claims process?

Metromile Insurance Claims

Once you file a claim for a covered vehicle, you’ll be assigned a dedicated Metromile claims professional who will ensure your claim gets filed quickly and fairly.

The Metromile claims team will also help you locate local repair facilities and keep you updated on the work as it progresses. If you require glass coverage, Metromile can make everything easy and convenient, regardless of which window needs replacement.

Customers can also file a claim online through the dashboard, or through the Metromile App. Along with this fully digital process, Metromile recently launched AVA, their new AI Claims Assistant. AVA accurately verifies claims in seconds and quickly resolves them by collecting damage photos and helps you get your payment issued as soon as possible.

What Are Metromile’s Eligibility Requirements?

Most vehicles with an OBD-II port are eligible, and this port became standard in 1996. To check to see if your vehicle qualifies, stop by their website.

Metromile is currently only available in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. You’ll also need to own or lease a permanent vehicle (Metromile doesn’t offer named non-owner policies). If you don’t reside in one of these states, you can sign up for Metromile’s wait list, where you'll be notified when they come to your state.

Whether or not you qualify for a Metromile policy (and how much you’ll pay once you do) largely comes down to factors used by other insurance carriers; namely, your age, the type of vehicle you drive, the history (accidents and citations) of you and any other drivers in your household, credit history and length of prior insurance, depending on state.

Despite what you might assume based on the data that’s transmitted from the Pulse, Metromile specifically states that “per-mile insurance doesn’t consider other driving factors such as how fast you drive, how suddenly you turn, or how hard you brake, just how many miles you drive.”

Has Metromile Received Positive Online Reviews?

Whether you’re reading about them through top-ranked consumer-focused sites like NerdWallet, Better Business Bureau, Compare.com, and many more, the consensus seems to be that if you infrequently drive (less than 10K per year), you could potentially save a decent chunk of change with Metromile.

On the flip side, many seemed to agree that if you don’t (at least) meet this basic guideline, you could potentially spend much more than a traditional auto policy.

Here on HighYa, 43 Metromile customers provided their feedback at the time of our research, giving the insurance agent an average rating of 2.2 stars. Common compliments revolved around significant savings (one reviewer claimed to have saved 50%) and solid claims experiences. Most complaints appeared to reference high premiums and confusing/frustrating claims experiences. In most instances, Metromile responded to these complaints directly.

Metromile’s iOS app had an average rating of 3.5 stars during our research, while their Android app came in slightly higher at 3.8 stars. Clearly, most users were pleased with the apps’ performance, although some complained that the designers sacrificed functionality for a more streamlined experience.

Should You Buy a Metromile Insurance Policy?

Based on what we’ve learned here, Metromile is a leader in the pay per mile car insurance, and it seems like a good idea to obtain a Metromile quote if you drive less than 10K miles per year, due to the company’s unique pay-per-mile model.

Regardless, remember that most insurance companies utilize highly complex variable rating systems to determine policy premiums. Just like any other carrier, what you pay could be much higher or lower than your neighbor, depending on thousands of different factors.

See Also: How to Decide If Usage-Based Car Insurance Is Right for You

Also, if you’re only looking for some of the cool features of the Metromile Pulse without the insurance—like the ability to track mileage and gas usage, provide maintenance alerts, —you have options like Hum by Verizon, Vinli, Automatic, and more. If you’re on the hunt for something bare bones that only provides diagnostics, you can probably find a dongle at your local auto parts store for $30 or less.

Did you take Metromile up on their pay-per-mile auto insurance? Tell us all about your experience by writing a review below!

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Read 86 Metromile Auto Insurance Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 1.9
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 14 4 star: 1 3 star: 4 2 star: 8 1 star:  59
Bottom Line: 21% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 86
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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Fraud company, bad service, avoid like the PLAGUE!

    • Sacramento, CA,
    • Sep 4, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've had Metromile twice. The first time was great. The second time (and the last) was a different story. I got my tracking devices for both cars and installed them. For one of my vehicles, I paid for the optional roadside assistance. Two weeks ago my wife gets a flat tire on her way home. I'm working on a client when she calls, so I have her call Metromile for roadside service (which does cover flat-tire changes and tows if necessary). This is where it goes south. They tell her that she has no roadside coverage on her vehicle. They also tell her that our policy is cancelled. What the heck? I break off from my client and log into my Metromile account on my laptop and this is what I see: Active policy time frame from February to August AND all of my historical payments showing. The person on the phone repeatedly told me that my policy was inactive but was set to start August 28th (the day of auto-renewal for my policy). That made zero sense. I called and spoke to somebody at Metromile and was told the same thing my wife was - your policy is canceled, we can't find you by your policy number or phone number. Now I'm thinking aloud, "what or who the heck have I been paying for the last 6 months!?" I even offered to email a screenshot to whoever I was talking to that proved that 1) I had an active policy, and 2) it did have roadside, and 3) I've been paying the entire time!

    By then, realizing that we were on our own, I rescheduled the client, went out to where my wife was on the side of the freeway, had a tow truck come out at my own expense to get her, my kids and the car home.

    Metromile's computer system sucks, their employees are incompetent and have no compassion, they just don't try to provide good customer service. If you want to pay for services you will never receive, waste your money here. They also increased my premiums EVERY RENEWAL though we never had any accidents or moving violations. Hello? Rip-off much? This company should disappear and leave auto insurance to the real professionals.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Their pulse devices don't work well, they're garbage.

    • California,
    • Aug 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've had Metromile for about five or six years now and I have not had any issues other than with the garbage pulse devices that they send out repeatedly whenever you have an issue with another pulse device. Their solution to your problem is to send out another shitty, most likely refurbished pulse device and then keep doing the same thing when you have issues with the next one. And if all else fails, they say you can cancel.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Charge you very very high price for loosing signal

    • Redmond, WA,
    • Aug 2, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    1) Customer support is terrible.

    2) You have to put extra time to manage dongle.

    3) Poor communication.

    4) Easy money-making business.

    In many parking garage, their dongle does not have coverage/signal. If you go on vacation then you have to report that you are not using the car. If you don't report they charge you extra for not reporting :).

    Poor communication, half the communication is sent to your phone via SMS and important communication is sent to email. When they are charging you extra they send email but NOT SMS.

    If you stay in states where snow is more often - then stay away from this. During the snow period as well, you have to report that you are NOT using the car because their dongle won't work.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Worst insurance company

    • California,
    • Jul 25, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    The attraction of paying a low price for car insurance in California comes with a high price dealing with Metromile. First, the pulse device did not arrive when I had to request another one. The device finally arrives and I'm driving around believing it's working because the little red light is on when they send me an email telling me to install the device. I then call the company and explain that the device has been installed since arriving in the mail. Of course, I now need to troubleshoot the device which still doesn't work when they start charging me $150.00 per day. I promptly cancel the insurance after such horrible customer service and a faulty device. The company is a joke, why would I wait around for you to send me another device after first not getting the first one and then a faulty second one. Don't try to save money with these con artists, run to a reputable insurance company.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Claim process

    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Jul 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Horrible claim process, they take their sweet time, never keep the insured updated and try everything possible to not pay the claim. Horrible company, I guess just like all the other insurance companies.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 12 out 14 people found this review helpful

    The Metromile device drains car batteries

    • California,
    • May 20, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    That little harmless-looking GPS plug-in device used by this company was causing a parasitic draw on my 12V car battery. My car battery went dead a couple of months after installing the device. Clueless as what was going on, I took the car (2016 Lexus CT200 hybrid) into the dealership and they replaced the battery with a new one and said I should be good to go. Thirty days later the new battery went dead, so I took the car back to Lexus. They did some testing over the course of several days and determined that there was something draining my battery but they were not sure what it was. They thought it might be my aftermarket stereo and suggested I take it back to the shop that installed it. I brought the car back to the installers and they did the tests with me right there watching and showed me that there was indeed a draw on the battery, but it was not coming from the car stereo. We were perplexed and not sure how to proceed when suddenly a light bulb went off in my head. All the problems started shortly after I enrolled in Metromile and installed that small, innocent looking plug. Low and behold after pulling the plug out, the 100 Milliamp draw disappeared and returned to a normal draw of 2-3 milliamps.

    For the life of me, I cannot reach anyone live at Metromile by phone to report this problem, just endless recordings saying they are experiencing a high call volume. I think this money-saving insurer was a big mistake.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 13 out 14 people found this review helpful

    Charging miles while device doesn't work

    • Eugene, OR,
    • May 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I got this so I could afford to insure both my vehicles. The device for my truck was recognized within 2 days from a less than 5-mile drive. My other vehicles device has never been recognized though I've driven it and reset it several times and about 40 miles on it. They are now charging me 150 miles per day on it though I've repeatedly told them the device is not working. One person said that if it didn't work that in a few days they would send me another device. The company doesn't seem to be aware of that statement and continues to charge me. I emailed them again today and said I need a new unit or I will seek legal counsel and I want the charges removed. My best friend is an administrative judge so I will contact him, the insurance commission and the Better Business Bureau.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 10 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Horrible customer service...stay away

    • California,
    • Apr 25, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've never experienced so much inconvenience with any insurance company. They provide the more horrible customer service ever. It has been several weeks that I try to return their pulse device to them and over time they tell me that the kit has been sent to me. They don't provide the address so I can send the device intentionally so they can charge $100. Stay away.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 11 out 14 people found this review helpful

    Great concept but...

    • New Jersey,
    • Apr 25, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Great concept but "Pulse" reader stops reading if you don't use or move your car after a week or so and they start charging you like you drove 150 miles a day - DAY AFTER DAY, until you call them or get to the vehicle to drive it around the block. That can add up to a lot of money.

    I have called them numerous times on the same "bug" in the cellular "Pulse" device and they admit you have to drive the car once a week. So if you go away on business for 3-4 weeks at a time, like I do, it doesn't work.

    I would LOVE to talk to the people that run the company or developed the technology - it's no good.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 20 out 24 people found this review helpful

    Terrible - stay away

    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Mar 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Metromile used to have good customer service. It is now completely awful. My device lost its signal due to a dead battery (which has happened multiple times as the device totally drains your battery), I tried to email twice, no response. I called three times and after 30+ minutes on the phone each time, I gave up and just canceled my policy. If I cannot even get a response to a simple question or address overcharges due to signal loss, I worry if I ever actually have an accident as they are impossible to get in touch with. I've never experienced anything like this with an insurance company - stay far away.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 22 out 24 people found this review helpful

    They slowly will make you pay more

    • Mar 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Ever since starting with them (less than 2 years), my premiums increased 40%! Their reasons were because their costs increased, therefore, we should cover it. What? Now I pay more than what I paid Allstate for the same exact policy and I had unlimited miles. Mind you, this car only is driven 10 miles on weekdays on average and 0 miles on the weekend. It's a car that is 13 years old. This made sense with Metromile's pitch that you save because you drive less. Oh, but when they realize how much less, they slowly increase it just enough so that you're just below what they think the bigger insurance companies would charge and screw you if you drive a lot. I now pay more than my brand new car that my wife drives 30 miles a day for the exact same coverage through Allstate!

    Metromile, you make ZERO sense in your premiums hikes. Therefore, you have been canceled as of today and will ensure the people I recommended look further into their bills and drop you like a bad habit.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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