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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