Progressive sold its first auto insurance policy in 1937. By the early 1970s, Progressive had expanded its portfolio to include commercial and motorhome insurance and held its first public offering. Today, Progressive writes policies nationwide, is serviced by more than 37,000 employees and generates $33.5 billion in annual sales. The provider offers a full range of automobile and property insurance products, as well as home financing and personal loans.
Progressive offers its car insurance customers several options to reduce premiums, including multi policy, good student, homeowner and automatic payment discounts. Drivers who follow the rules of the road can also earn a discount by enrolling in Progressive’s Snapshot program. This high-tech discount program rewards good drivers with reduced rates and can help them improve their driving skills. Best of all, policyholders can combine their Snapshot rewards with other Progressive discounts for maximum savings.
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What is Progressive Snapshot?
Most longtime car owners know that insurance companies use many factors to set auto insurance rates, like location, make and model of an automobile and the driver’s age and driving history. Progressive uses that data to set rates, too, but it also has an innovative program called Snapshot that enables policyholders to improve their driving performance while potentially lowering their auto insurance rates.
Snapshot is a usage-based insurance program. Policyholders who sign up for Snapshot agree to let Progressive monitor their driving habits in real time. Snapshot users can review their driving performance at any time and if they maintain safe driving habits, Progressive rewards them by reducing their rates.
What are the program’s features and benefits?
Existing Progressive car insurance policyholders can enroll in Snapshot by calling Progressive’s toll-free number and new customers can sign up when they request an online quote.
In most states, Progressive monitors Snapshot users’ driving habits using a mobile app which is available for both Android and Apple users. After registering the app, you must carry your mobile device with you when you drive. Using GPS technology, the app records acceleration, braking, mileage, phone use, speed and the time of day. Snapshot collects your driving data throughout your policy period, usually six months, and applies your discount, if any, when you renew your policy.
The app transmits your trip information to Progressive over Wi-Fi and makes it available for you to review in the Snapshot app or through your online account. The Snapshot app features several screens, including a detailed map of your trip, along with counters that record the number of times you accelerated too quickly, used your phone and hit the brakes too quickly. It also has a “Pro tip” screen that provides driving advice and a data collection progress screen.
Unfortunately, many Snapshot reviews don’t give the mobile app high marks, particularly those submitted by Apple users. At the Apple App Store, the Snapshot app has only a 1.9 out of five stars rating. Many users report inaccurate speed and braking data, and some complain that if they use their device’s GPS for navigation purposes, the app records it as phone use while driving.
In some states, Snapshot users must install a small device in their car’s OBD-II port, which is usually located under the steering wheel or under the dashboard on the driver’s side. The plug-in device collects the same data as the mobile app. Unlike the app, the plug-in device beeps when you apply the brakes too abruptly. Plug-in users can view their trip data using the Snapshot app or in their Progressive account.
Snapshot offers several benefits, including:
- Users can review their trip data to improve their driving skills
- Parents can use Snapshot to monitor the driving habits of their teenagers
- Snapshot users who consistently drive safely can earn a discount
Can I get a discount on my insurance?
Progressive claims that Snapshot users have earned more than $700 million in discounts. In most states, you can earn an instant premium discount when you enroll in Snapshot. Participants receive an average enrollment discount of around $26, which Progressive credits to your first policy period.
The enrollment discount expires when you renew your policy. If your Snapshot data indicates you maintained safe driving habits, Progressive will apply your personalized discount upon renewing your policy. Progressive claims Snapshot users receive an average personalized discount of around $145 per policy period.
But here’s the catch, if you don’t maintain safe driving habits while enrolled in Snapshot, Progressive may raise your premium. However, the provider claims that only 20% of Snapshot users incur a rate increase. But, if you opt out of the Snapshot program more than 45 days after you enroll, Progressive may apply a surcharge when you renew your policy.
For the best Snapshot results, and hopefully a good discount, follow these simple tips:
- Avoid rapid acceleration and hard braking.
- Avoid driving late at night, when more accidents occur, particularly between midnight and 4:00 a.m.
- Drive less. When you don’t have to drive, use public transportation or join a carpool to reduce your mileage.
- Don’t use your phone while driving. Snapshot knows when you’re moving and using your phone at the same time. If you need to make a call or send a text, first pull off the road and put your car in park.
What happens with my personal data?
Progressive may also use your Snapshot data for other reasons, including:
- Driving behavior reports
- Resolving claims
- Research and development
- Underwriting purposes
Progressive retains your Snapshot data indefinitely. However, trip data automatically deletes from the mobile app and plug-in device after it’s transmitted to Progressive.
Where permitted by law, Progressive also retains the right to share your data with third parties, including:
- State departments of insurance to support rate changes
- Service providers
- Officers of the court involved in civil lawsuits
- Police officials who are investigating accidents
Pros and cons of Progressive’s Snapshot
- Potential premium discount
- Enrollment discount
- Helps you improve your driving skills
- Parents can monitor teens’ driving behavior
- Rate increase for poor performance
- Must limit mileage to maximize your discount
- Must limit nighttime driving to maximize your discount
- Poor Apple mobile app ratings
The bottom line
If you always drive safely, enrolling in the Snapshot program could earn you the low car insurance rate you want. Progressive designed the program for safe drivers who limit their time on the road and don’t drive late at night.
If you live behind the wheel or often take overnight trips then Snapshot isn’t the usage-based insurance program for you. And if you’re someone who likes to drive fast or talk on the phone while driving then enrolling in Snapshot could end up increasing your car insurance premium.While Progressive still needs to iron out the kinks in its mobile app, many Snapshot users report savings and improved driving habits. If you’re already a Progressive customer, or you’re shopping the market for a usage-based insurance plan, give Progressive’s Snapshot a try.