Driving with data: MetroMile app is great, but the pay-per-mile insurance coverage is the real draw

Drive less, shell out less for car insurance. Great thought. MetroMile guarantees to supply that by monitoring your driving activity by way of its Metronome gadget, which plugs into the OBD-II information port in your auto. Prices commence at $ 20 regular monthly and 2 to 5 cents a mile. It could be a genuine income-saver, assuming you never drive too much. The startup currently delivers the service in Illinois, Oregon, and Washington.

Poor schmucks in California like me really don’;t get the insurance supply nevertheless, but we can beta-check the gadget and app for free of charge, which is what I did in a 2003 BMW 3-series. (Your vehicle should be vintage 1996 or younger to have the OBD-II port required for all of this to happen.) Currently the app is only available for iOS, but MetroMile says an Android edition is coming soon, and even a Windows Phone edition following that.

metromile trip data whole day dec 2013 Image: Jon L. Jacobi

MetroMile delivers a lot of trip data, but the maps took a number of hours to appear.

Putting in the Metronome—MetroMile’s title for its OBD-II cellular interface—is easy. It took a bit far more force than usual to seat it in the 2003 BMW test vehicle, but there was no tendency to fall out, as with some pressure-match interfaces we’ve tested. The interface also functions a USB port, but that is for inner use (namely, upgrading the device’s firmware).

metromile check engine data dec 2013

The app provides engine information, but you can’t do much with it yet.

Throughout an extended spin around San Francisco, MetroMile was a nation mile from providing the evaluation and details tools promised on its internet site. The iOS app presented some engine data, but the Net portal’s “lab” is not obtainable but, so there is no habit examination, as provided by a related product, Zubie. At the moment, you get fuel expenses and mapped data about trips, but that’s about it.

Also, the info MetroMile supplied was relatively inconsistent. The trip maps took a number of hours to appear, so you can’t at the moment use the services to locate a automobile you’ve misplaced a lot more just lately. Do not laugh—parking in the city can be puzzling, and the website guarantees this potential. MetroMile stated the lag was due to overwhelming demand and the beta status of the support. The app was also a couple of days late reporting an engine-light concern.

MetroMile could be as exact as showing a turnaround on a driveway and street. On the other hand, it ignored a journey or 2, and sometimes its route drawings showed fascinating, not possible shortcuts by way of buildings. 

metromile trip data odd lines dec 2013Picture: Jon L. Jacobi

Now that’s what I contact a detour: Metromile’s route information occasionally skipped a turn or 2.

Note that as with any technologies that tracks your movements and behavior, there are privacy troubles. MetroMile guarantees to use the mileage details only for insurance purposes. Nevertheless…

Thanks to the advent of low-cost Bluetooth, USB, and even cellular OBD-II translator modules, the details created by your car’s laptop and sensors is now offered to absolutely everyone, not just garages with expensive code readers. Weekend racers, modders, and providers such as MetroMile are taking advantage.

MetroMile is an fascinating notion, and if you are a lower-mileage driver looking for cost savings on auto insurance coverage, this could be just the issue for you. The firm hopes to increase its insurance coverage territory substantially this year.

For those that are a lot more interested in genuine-time monitoring as nicely as driving routines and motor vehicle overall health, verify out the aforementioned Zubie. There are also any variety of Bluetooth and USB OBD-II translators and apps available for data and evaluation.

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