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updated: 3/21/2014 10:58 AM

MetroMile offers car insurance by the mile

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  • The Metronome is used for the new MetroMile platform. Customers can plug it into the vehicle's onboard diagnostics port and download the free MetroMile mobile app to optimize their trips to save time and gas, and to diagnose check engine lights.

      The Metronome is used for the new MetroMile platform. Customers can plug it into the vehicle's onboard diagnostics port and download the free MetroMile mobile app to optimize their trips to save time and gas, and to diagnose check engine lights.
    COURTESY OF METROMILE

  • Dan Preston

      Dan Preston

  • Here's what the MetroMile app looks like on your smartphone.

      Here's what the MetroMile app looks like on your smartphone.
    COURTESY OF METROMILE

  • Here's some of the things the MetroMile app can do on your smartphone.

      Here's some of the things the MetroMile app can do on your smartphone.
    COURTESY OF METROMILE

  • Here's what the MetroMile app looks like on your smartphone.

      Here's what the MetroMile app looks like on your smartphone.
    COURTESY OF METROMILE

  • Here's what the MetroMile app looks like on your smartphone.

      Here's what the MetroMile app looks like on your smartphone.
    COURTESY OF METROMILE

  • Here's what the MetroMile app looks like on your smartphone.

      Here's what the MetroMile app looks like on your smartphone.
    COURTESY OF METROMILE

 
 

A new technology and insurance platform aims to help Chicago and suburban drivers travel more efficiently.

MetroMile expanded on March 11 to provide services throughout the state with both a pay-per-mile car insurance and a mobile app. said MetroMile CEO Dan Preston.

A recent survey from MetroMile found 51 percent of Chicago and suburban drivers drive less than 10,000 miles a year. For adults 18 to 29, this included 60 percent of respondents. MetroMile aims for those drivers with less than 10,000 miles a year and claims to saves the typical customer more than $400 annually.

MetroMile is based in San Francisco, Calif., and now provides the car insurance option to drivers in Illinois, Oregon and Washington. The mobile app is available in Illinois, Oregon, Washington and California.

Drivers can sign up to receive the Metronome, which is sent to customers at no charge. Customers can plug it the into the vehicle's onboard diagnostics port, which is in all cars made after 1996. It's located under the dashboard.

Once connected, MetroMile users can download the free MetroMile mobile app, which they can use to optimize their trips to save time and gas on their daily commutes, diagnose check engine lights and find their car wherever it's parked, Preston said.

The free iOS app provides drivers with insights to help them save time and gas on their daily drives, Preston said.

Users who wish to sign up for the pay-per-mile car insurance can get a free quote on the MetroMile website. They will receive a Metronome, which will be used to monitor the number of miles driven and provide access to the mobile app.

MetroMile won't release numbers of customers. The company said it raised an initial $4 million funding in 2011 from NEA, First Round Capital, Index Ventures and SV Angel. An additional $10 million in funding was raised in April 2013 from NEA, Index, and First Round Capital.

MetroMile has a partnership with National General Insurance, formerly GMAC, to provide the underwriting for MetroMile's pay-per-mile car insurance, the company said.

The typical base rate is about $20 to $45 a month to cover the car while it is parked, plus 2 cents to 5 cents a mile on average. Individual base rates are calculated by an evaluation of the individual's past driving history, including a lot of the traditional rating factors such as marital status, residence, education level, credit rating and number of accidents.

Preston said the company doesn't sell data to others and doesn't gather information to decide if customers are good drivers.

"MetroMile does not monitor for how customers drive, such as for braking too hard, rapid acceleration, etc.," he said.

• Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter. Write her at akukec@dailyherald.com.

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