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Use-based car insurance expands

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

Progressive, the fourth-largest auto insurer in the U.S., has opened its Snapshot insurance program, which tracks driving behavior to provide discounts to good drivers, to noncustomers who want to see how well they drive. After a month of tracking, drivers are eligible to earn discounts on their car insurance premiums, which would potentially lower their car insurance rates from their current policy, should they choose to become Progressive customers. Typically, 70 percent of the drivers who sign up for the device earn a discount, according to Progressive.

To participate in the Snapshot program, drivers plug a small device into a port under their dashboard, which then tracks driving behavior, including miles driven, the time of day the driving occurs and braking patterns. Only cars built after 1996 can use the device.

The Snapshot program for noncustomers is available in 35 of the 42 states that Progressive currently serves.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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