MetroMile, a usage-based auto insurer, now is offering pay-per-mile auto insurance to drivers in Illinois, expanding coverage from California, Washington and Oregon, the company said. MetroMile customers will receive access to the full set of services, including MetroMile's free Metronome device, mobile app and insurance options.

“Our goal is to serve as an advocate for drivers, unlocking the data in their cars to help them to take control of the costs and time associated with owning a car,” said Dan Preston, MetroMile CEO. “Over time, we will be launching additional services that deliver on this mission, and provide practical solutions to some of the largest challenges of urban car ownership. We are fundamentally rethinking the relationship between car and driver to make it simpler, easier, and less expensive."

More than half of Chicago-area drivers, 51 percent, drive less than 10,000 miles a year, MetroMile said. And for those between the ages of 18 to 29, 60 percent drive less than 10,000 miles a year. MetroMile’s products are designed for those who drive less than 10,000 miles per year, and the company says it typically can save those drivers more than $400 per year.

Also see The Evolution of Insurance Telematics

MetroMile’s smartphone app offers insights to help drivers save time and gas, diagnose check engine lights and find their parked cars. The Metronome device plugs into a car’s OBD II port to captures data from the car and transmit it wirelessly to MetroMile, the company said.

"We know that people living in cities typically drive less than half the national average. The survey results show Chicago-area residents are also making a concerted effort to reduce their driving even further, due to the cost of gas," Preston said. "We created MetroMile to address these exact challenges, from reducing the cost of vehicle ownership through our pay-per-mile car insurance product to reducing the time spend in traffic through the predictive recommendations delivered through our free mobile app. We believe that driver data is one of their most valuable assets – it is MetroMile's mission to put that data back into drivers' hands to help them save time and money."

MetroMile surveyed 1,333 car owners and lessees over age 18 in the Chicago/Naperville/Joliet metro area, and found the following:

  • 50 percent try to drive less than they did five years ago
  • 57 percent cited high gas prices and a desire to save money as the primary motivator for reducing their driving
  • 29 percent have used public transportation at least once a month within the past year
  • 66 percent would consider using a pay-per-mile car insurance vs. the traditional flat-rate model
  • 62 percent said traffic is their biggest frustration when it comes to driving in Chicago

This survey was conducted online on behalf of MetroMile in February 2014.
Also see Progressive's Dave Pratt on the Evolution of UBI

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