The meter is runningMetroMile is launching its service today in nutty, crunchy Oregon, limiting its coverage to people who drive less than 10,000 miles a year. Car owners plug in a small device -- the “Metronome” -- that transmits mileage in real time and pay a base rate plus a few cents a mile.
The traditional insurance rules still apply: Risky drivers pay more.We couldn't resist doing the math. We compared car insurance rates for a 40-year-old male driving a Honda Accord in Portland's 97223 ZIP code through CarInsurance.com online quote engine and through MetroMile's online estimator. Based on a 5,000-mile a year estimate, we found rates from $799 to $1,814 a year from major traditional insurers. While that includes a discount for self-reported low mileage, it doesn't reflect any savings from a pay-as-you-drive plan, which is calculated after the driver has enrolled and used the reporting device for a period of time. MetroMile's pricing for the same coverage on the Accord driver is a base rate of $44.95 a month plus 4.1 cents per mile. At 5,000 miles a year, the cost would be $803.58. One nifty touch is that daily mileage is capped at 150 miles, so a trip across the mountains to Grandma's house doesn't become prohibitively expensive. Expect to see more of these kinds of high-tech savings plans as cars become ever more connected and insurers become ever more savvy about identifying and rewarding the safest drivers. (See “ Plug in, drive less, save more.”) A previous effort, this one in Texas, closed its doors in April.