April 19th, 2011

Review: Progressive Snapshot Discount Rewards You For Driving Less and Braking Softer

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Do you know Flo, the Progressive Insurance spokesperson? Well, she’s got something new in store for Progressive customers, and this product won’t cost them a cent. In fact, it’ll most likely save them money.

It’s called the Progressive Snapshot Discount, and it’s making waves in the auto insurance industry. Snapshot Discount is Progressive’s “Pay As You Drive” program and tracks your vehicle usage via a voluntarily-installed device to give you the opportunity to save up to 30% on your Progressive insurance plan.

How does it work?

After enrolling in the program, you’ll receive a Snapshot device in the mail within 10 days, including instructions on how to install it into your car. After the device is installed, it collects data on three different aspects of your driving:

  • Time of day
  • Miles driven
  • Number of “hard brakes”

After using the device for at least 30 days, Progressive may give you a discount up to 30% based on your driving report, which you can access via your Progressive account online. Once your policy renews, your discount is finalized.

What does the data mean for my insurance?

Time of day: The reason Progressive tracks what time of day you is simple: if you drive during peak hours for accidents, such as between midnight and 4 a.m., the likelihood you’ll get in an accident is much higher than if you drive during off-peak hours. If the majority of your driving is during less accident-prone hours, you may see a larger discount.

Miles driven: Many insurance companies ask drivers to supply this data, meaning that drivers track their own mileage and report that amount. Because Progressive tracks mileage digitally through the Snapshot device, the chance of an accident can be better predicted. The general idea is that the more miles you drive, the more likely you’ll get into an accident.

Hard brakes: A hard brake is when the car’s speed decreases at a rate greater than 7 mph per second. More hard brakes per day may indicate less cautious driving. Progressive will give higher discounts to drivers with fewer hard brakes.

What are the pros?

If you’re already a customer, the Progressive Snapshot device can stand to save you money on your existing insurance plan. Progressive clearly states that they won’t raise your rates based on your Snapshot driving report. If you’re signing up with Progressive for the first time, it can reduce the insurance amount that is first quoted to you.

The device is free when you sign up and easy to install. It’s almost a no-brainer when it comes to saving money: Why wouldn’t you sign up for Snapshot? But there may be a few reasons to proceed with caution.

What are the cons?

The Snapshot device doesn’t work on vehicles older than 1996, so don’t try to install it on your classic car. It’s also only available in 30 states, and in four states—Alabama, Georgia, Rhode Island, and South Carolina—the maximum discount you can receive is 25%.

Another consumer concern is privacy. Although the Snapshot device does not have a GPS nor is it tracking things like speed, it can still make customers uncomfortable to install a device into their car that’s tracked by satellite technology. However, Progressive does state that it doesn’t share your driving data with anyone.

Bottom line: Will insurance companies one day be able to access even more data and base your insurance rate on both good and bad driving habits? It’s possible. Right now, there are regulations in place to prevent that kind of rate discrimination, so Progressive’s Snapshot is a good choice for those who want to save on their insurance based on their safe driving habits.

There are more ways to decrease your insurance rates. Your insurance score is a good predictor of your insurability. Monitor your insurance score on Credit Karma and make sure you’re making the right moves to improve it, like having a good mix of credit, and keeping your credit utilization under 30%. Also, check out the “My Savings” tab to find the best auto insurance rates for you.

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  1. “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary [auto-insurance discount], deserve neither Liberty nor [auto-insurance discounts]”
    Ben Franklin, paraphrased.

    8o88y at 10:20 pm on April 9, 2014
  2. In short: Flo is the DEVIL!

    Just kidding. Here is my experience in a nutshell. I tried the Snapshot discount program, quoted at a 30 % discount. When policy was written only received 22%. Took and act of congress and a threat to go to the insurance commissioner to get the rate I was promised.

    I am a safe driver, clean driving record and only drive 5000 miles per year due to working at home.

    Fast forward to ongoing snapshot. Rate dropped to 22% due to allowing my son to drive my car first Month. 16 hard stops over a period of three days. I expected the hit. The kicker is that this percentage never increased over the remaining 4.75 months. With no hard stops, no high risk driving times and no excessive mileage. It is not uncommon for my car not to be driven for more than a week.

    Fast forward to renewal. With all considerations above, and the 22% discount! my rate increased by almost 50%. Yes I said 50! From 50.00 a month to 74.00.

    Contacting progressive resulted I’m the same BS ‘reevaluated rates in your state.’ I read that this was common practice with this company and was warned by my State Farm agent when I made the switch. Of course thinking it was all sour grapes I was stupid enough to participate and got screwed over like the majority.

    I did contact our insurance commissioner and I just happen to live in a state where insurance companies can do what they will. Here’s the kicker, when I told the representative, who the company was, she said she was not surprised and that this is common practice for them.

    That being said I guess my next stop will be the consumer protection agency as the lure of the snapshot discount sounds like the old bait and switch.

    This may be an old thread but people… Be WARNED. I was too stupid to read the writing on the wall. Especially when they tried to screw me out of the original discounted that had already been quoted.

    Duhbrat at 12:09 pm on May 28, 2014
  3. I got snapshot and my rates barely went down, then raised almost 23% at my renewal. 137 to 168 for full coverage. Will not be staying with peogressive.

    Snapcrap at 4:41 pm on October 6, 2014
  4. I like how all you bananas are complaining about the device it plugs directly into your cars computer. What did you think was going to happen? Progressive sent me a snapshot I told them no way I’m plug-in this in my car. Lol. Good luck to you all

    Mike at 7:04 pm on October 14, 2014
  5. Get your facts right creditkarma! Snapshot CAN and some DO have gps, and ALL record speed. If you even tried to get one then you would have gotten the teeny tiny folding pamphlet that has less than 100 words explaining what snapshot is and does.

    Dave at 11:09 pm on December 25, 2014
  6. We have several vehicles and Snapshot was a good way to “prove” some were only for recreational use. Those vehicles now cost me 30% less to insure. I do find it funny that Progressive will not send me a Snapshot for a 2007 BMW X5. They state that Snapshot is not available for that vehicle. I assume that they mean a discount is not available. In general, if you don’t drive like an ass I would recommend getting a Snapshot. Not doing so simply means you’re paying for the other people who do drive poorly.

    Josh at 10:07 am on January 9, 2015
  7. I just got the snapshot device installed and drive within the suburb of Washington DC metro. My only comment is on hard brakes. In my opinion, there is a correlation to the traffic. In order not to get the beep for the hard brake, one has to maintain adequate distance from the previous vehicle and it’s really a challenge, especially lane changing, exit etc. If I tend to follow this more carefully, I see myself odd men out of the rest of the traffic. I wish they could add a consideration factor of hard brake during rush hour. But it is a very good device and wish something like this reminds me all the time to be consistent in my driving.

    Dhana at 12:08 pm on February 12, 2016

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