Progressive Snapshot Review

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Progressive Snapshot uses the technology of telematics to assess real-time feedback on your driving habits. Safe driving can save you money on your insurance premiums — but sloppy driving tendencies may cost you. Snapshot monitors your driving and encourages safer practices, while providing you with the opportunity to earn discounts.

What is Progressive Snapshot?

Like many insurers, Progressive has jumped on the telematics bandwagon with Snapshot. This monitoring program uses either an app on your smartphone or a small device you plug into your car. It can determine if you are engaged in unsafe practices such as speeding or talking on the phone while driving.

Enrolling in Snapshot if you are a new Progressive car insurance policyholder is free and you earn an immediate $26 average discount just for signing up. It’s available throughout the U.S., but only some states allow you to use it via the mobile app due to regulatory statutes.

Once you have had an active Snapshot account for a certain period (usually six months, the length of a typical usage-based insurance policy), the company will look at the data collected. If you have proven yourself to be a safe driver, you will see a decrease in your premium.

But the opposite can also be true. If your driving habits indicate that you are a higher insurance risk, Progressive may actually raise your rate. The company claims that about 20% of its Snapshot customers experience this.

How does Progressive Snapshot work?

Signing up for Progressive Snapshot is easy. When you sign up for Snapshot, you will either download the Snapshot app, which works with both iOS and Android, or you will wait for the company to send you a small dongle that plugs into the OBD2 port on your car, which is usually located under the steering wheel.

Then, drive as you normally would. If the Snapshot device determines that you are 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 are going. Sensors in your smartphone and your smartphone’s Wi-Fi connection allow the app to transmit data back to Progressive.

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 are 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 vehicle trips you have 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 an average $145 annual savings for Snapshot users. A discount takes effect after completing the initial six-month monitoring period and renewing your policy for another six-month period.

It is important to note that because Progressive bases rates on driving data collected using the Snapshot app or plug-in device, your premium could actually increase if your driving habits are poor.

What driving habits does Progressive Snapshot monitor?

Snapshot analyzes your driving habits to produce your driving reports. It also uses the data to resolve auto claims, as well as for underwriting assessments and development and research purposes. Among the driving characteristics that Snapshot monitors:

  • 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 (between midnight and 6 a.m.). Midnight to 4 a.m. on weekends is considered the most dangerous time to drive, according to the National Safety Council. 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 on average) to participate in Snapshot, but the program rewards those who are relatively low-mileage drivers or who frequently carpool.
  • Using your mobile phone: If you are using the mobile app, Snapshot can determine when you have been texting or making phone calls. Avoid these activities to remain safe and increase your discount.
  • Speeding: Driving above the posted speed limit will be noted by Snapshot.

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If you have a problem with the issues described above, you might not want to use Snapshot. However, if you are a good driver who avoids negative habits, Snapshot could save you money.

The Snapshot mobile app installed on your smartphone stores analytics and driving data 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 its Snapshot system indefinitely.

According to Snapshot’s privacy statement, 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 activating Snapshot, the system will monitor your driving for the first policy period. If more than one person in your household drives the same vehicle, each person must have their own app or dongle plug-in. However, some states require each driver to assign a vehicle to their usage-based smartphone app, while other states allow average driving data across smartphones and vehicles.

Progressive has not identified a way that it can track whether policyholders have deceived or manipulated the app.

Progressive Snapshot discounts

Progressive policyholders who sign up for Snapshot have access to additional discounts under the Snapshot program. A few of the featured discounts include:

  • Snapshot Safe Driver Discount: Drivers can save up to $145 on average annually by registering for Snapshot.
  • Limit hard brakes and accelerations: By avoiding stepping on the gas and slamming on the brakes, you can earn a discount.
  • Avoiding late-night driving can generate more savings.
  • Drive less: By driving lower miles or carpooling you can save more.
  • Stay off your mobile phone: By avoiding phone calls and texting behind the wheel, you can qualify for additional savings.

Who is the Progressive Snapshot app a good option for?

Snapshot is a great option for people who consistently engage in safe driving habits. People who drive often drive between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m., when more traffic accidents occur, should not use Snapshot because the program could increase their insurance rates. Likewise, people who regularly talk on the phone while driving, even using a hands-free device, should not use the Snapshot app.

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How do you save with Progressive Snapshot?

Progressive’s Snapshot program 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 auto policy discounts for students earning good grades at school, getting married, buying a house or bundling their auto and home insurance policies. But usage-based insurance programs such as Snapshot offer immediate savings for driving safely.

Is Progressive Snapshot worth it?

While other insurance telematics programs require extended monitoring, Snapshot monitors your driving habits and sets your new rate in a single policy period.

Progressive Snapshot customer 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, Snapshot could help you save hundreds of dollars a year on auto insurance.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best auto insurance company?

The best auto insurance company can vary depending on your goals, needs, budget and circumstances. Progressive offers great coverage options, discounts and an extensive list of add-ons. However, you should shop around and compare insurance companies and get multiple quotes. For a list of options, check out Bankrate’s analysis of the best auto insurance companies.

How much money can I save with Progressive Snapshot?

On average, drivers who enroll in Progressive Snapshot save up to $145 per year on insurance premiums. However, with additional discounts, you could save even more.

Is Progressive Snapshot hard to sign up for?

Visit progressive.com to sign up for Snapshot. Then, you can either download the app or wait for them to send you the dongle plug-in and premium savings will be on their way to you.