Progressive Snapshot uses the technology of telematics to look at real-time feedback on your driving abilities. Safe driving can save you money on your insurance premiums — but sloppy driving habits may cost you.
What is Progressive Snapshot?
Like many insurers, Progressive has jumped onto the telematics bandwagon with Snapshot. This technology uses either an app on your smartphone or a small device you plug into your car. It can tell if you are engaged in unsafe practices such as speeding or, if you’re using the app, talking on the phone while driving.
Enrolling in Snapshot once you have a Progressive car insurance policy is free, and you earn an immediate $26 discount, on average, for signing up. It’s available throughout the U.S., but only some states allow you to use it via the mobile app.
Once you have had an active Snapshot account for a certain period (usually six months, the length of a typical policy), the company will look at the data collected. If you’ve proven yourself a good, safe driver, you will see a decrease in your premium.
But the opposite is true, too. If your driving habits indicate that you’re a higher insurance risk, Progressive may raise your rate. The company claims that this is true only 20 percent of the time, but it’s something to be aware of.
How does Progressive Snapshot work?
When you first sign up for Snapshot, you’ll either download the Snapshot app, which works with both iPhones and Android, or you’ll wait for the company to send you the small dongle that plugs into the OBD-II port on your car, which is usually under the steering wheel.
Then, drive as you always would. If the Snapshot device determines that you’re doing anything unsafe, it will beep. The app and plug-in device use GPS technology to determine where you are and track how fast you’re going. Sensors in your smartphone and your smartphone’s Wi-Fi connection allow the app to transmit data back to the company.
You retain some control of how much data is transmitted. For example, you can pause the monitoring system if you are going on vacation or if you’re a passenger rather than a driver. Logging into your Progressive account allows you to view the data collected, get driving tips and see details on any car trips you’ve made.
Does Progressive Snapshot actually decrease rates?
New Progressive policyholders can receive a participation discount for enrolling in the Snapshot program. Progressive claims an average $26 enrollment discount and $145 annual savings for Snapshot users. A discount takes effect after completing the monitoring period and renewing your policy for another period.
Because Progressive bases rates on driving data collected using the Snapshot app or plug-in device, your premium could increase if your driving habits are poor.
What driving habits does Progressive Snapshot monitor?
Snapshot looks at particular driving habits. These include:
- Braking and accelerating: Snapshot looks for easy acceleration without jack-rabbit starts and smooth braking. Avoid slamming on your brakes unless necessary to avoid an accident
- Late-night driving: Avoid driving late at night. Midnight to four in the morning on weekends is considered the most dangerous time to drive. If you must regularly drive during these hours, Snapshot may not be a good fit for you.
- Time driving: You need to drive at least 4,000 miles a year (about 10 miles a day) to participate in Snapshot, but the program rewards those who are relatively low-mileage drivers or who frequently carpool.
- Using your phone: If you’re using the mobile app, Snapshot can tell when you’ve been texting or making phone calls. Avoid these activities to remain safe and raise your discount.
- Speeding: Driving more than 80 miles an hour will be noted by Snapshot.
If these are things you have a problem with, you might not want to use Snapshot. However, if you are a good driver who avoids negative habits, Snapshot could save you money.
Even good drivers may have concerns about a device that monitors and records their every move. According to the Snapshot privacy statement, Progressive uses your data:
- To analyze your driving habits, calculate a Snapshot score and determine your policy rate
- For underwriting purposes
- To resolve claims
- For development and research purposes
- To produce your driving reports
The mobile app stores analytics and driving data within the app for a few days. When you delete the app, you also delete the stored analytics and data. Progressive retains analytics information and driving data transmitted to the Snapshot system indefinitely.
According to the terms of the agreement, Progressive retains the right to share your Snapshot data with third parties:
- To service the insurance policy
- To detect or prevent fraudulent activity
- For marketing and research purposes
- As permitted and when required by law for a police investigation or when subpoenaed for a civil lawsuit
- To government insurance departments to support rates
- To Progressive’s service provider
- To other insurers or attorneys to resolve claims or litigation
The terms allow Progressive to share depersonalized data to more third parties. Progressive can use data from all drivers on your policy for marketing purposes. Users can choose to restrict the use of their data for certain types of marketing.
How does Progressive prevent users from “cheating”?
After signing up for Snapshot, the app will monitor your driving for the first policy period. If more than one person in your household drives the same vehicle, each person must download the app to their smartphones. In some states, households with multiple drivers and multiple cars, each driver must assign a vehicle to their smartphone app. In other states, Progressive averages driving data across smartphones and vehicles.
Progressive does not reveal ways it prevents policyholders from deceiving the app or manipulating its collected data. Hacking and data manipulation techniques often progress as quickly as technological advances do. Users with advanced technology skills may find ways to cheat the Snapshot system.
Since the Snapshot program began, several security experts have raised concerns about the safety of the Snapshot OBD-II port device. In 2015, Forbes published a report of a hacker gaining control of a vehicle’s onboard computer system, which could have allowed the hacker to unlock doors and start the engine. A California law firm also launched an investigation into reports that the Snapshot device could drain a car’s battery.
Who is the Progressive Snapshot app a good option for?
Snapshot is a great option for people who consistently follow safe driving habits. People who only use their vehicles to commute to work and run errands could potentially save money with the Snapshot program.
People who drive a lot or often drive between 12:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. when more traffic accidents occur should not use Snapshot because the program could increase their insurance rates. Likewise, people who often talk on the phone while driving, even using a hands-free device, should not use the Snapshot app.
How do you save with Progressive Snapshot?
Progressive’s Snapshot grades only reward good drivers. Drivers who perform well during the monitoring period could earn a discount on their car insurance rate. Most insurance companies offer discounts for earning good grades, getting married, buying a house or purchasing multiple insurance policies. But usage-based insurance programs such as Snapshot offer immediate savings for driving safely.
Is Progressive Snapshot worth it?
While other insurance tracking programs require extended monitoring, Snapshot monitors your driving habits and sets your new rate in a single policy period.
Progressive Snapshot reviews indicate that users are generally happy with the program. If you maintain a good driving record and always observe the rules of the road, Progressive’s Snapshot program could help you save a bundle on automobile coverage.