FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

You have seen the advertisements.

You are reeled in by the fact that you could cut down your insurance premiums.

Like most things in life, when something sounds too good to be real, it probably is – and Progressive’s Snapshot program might be a culprit of that.

While you will save money, the savings might not be what you think, or you are led to believe. Progressive advertises their savings as “BIG discounts,” and the company’s website states that they have saved their current policyholders at the time of sign up and in the long run.

Before assuming you will walk away cutting your insurance bill drastically, you need to assess the numbers and how this program works.

What is Progressive Snapshot?

progressive snapshotWhen you sign up for a typical insurance plan, the agent bases your rate on the standard factors (i.e., driving history, your vehicle, age, credit history, etc.).

Progressive Snapshot set out to change how insurance quotes were based. Introduced in January 2008, the program has skyrocketed – reaching 10 billion miles of driving data by 2014.

To determine your exact insurance rate, you must install a device in your car. The GPS-enabled device tracks everything from your mileage to the time of day you drive and how often you hard brake. Essentially, you are receiving personalized insurance based on your specific driving habits.

In most cases, you will see a reduction in your insurance bill, but the savings depends on the factors used for standard insurance plus what the company’s device tracks.

How Progressive Snapshot Could Save You Money

The company’s website boasts that customers save on average $130 using the program after six months. The catch is that you must use the device and then be up for renewal to get the discount credit.

So, how can a device save you money?

  • Driving under 30 miles per day helps you. If you rarely drive your vehicle, it sits parked days in a row, or you keep your mileage under 30 total miles per day, you will see credits applied to your account.
  • Not driving between midnight and 4:00 am. The insurance company won’t take your word for it that you don’t drive during peak DUI accident times, but if you prove it with the device that you do not drive between midnight and 4:00 am, then you just unlocked more savings because you have reduced your risk.
  • When you brake slowly. If you avoid the stop-and-go driving lifestyle, come to a stop slowly, and keep the device from the “beep” warning it sends off when you brake too quickly, you might save more as well.

How Progressive Snapshot Could End Up Costing You More Money

While you might unlock savings by doing the above three things, you could accidentally rope yourself into a higher premium or no savings at all. Also, technology has its flaws. For example, if you were at home on a Saturday night working on your vehicle and decided to drive it down the block to make sure your freshly installed brakes worked after midnight, you are reported for driving during the risk period. Naturally, most people are not doing car work at midnight.

The other way you can end up spending more by using the device includes:

  • An unusual increase in your mileage for a few months. Typically, you do not put more than 10,000 miles on your car, but your child entered a soccer league that required extra traveling. Now you are clocking 15,000 for this year alone. Thanks to the Snapshot installed, you look like you are driving more than you initially claimed, and you could see an increase in your premiums or be stuck with no savings unlocked at your next renewal.
  • You drive in icy conditions. The device will ding you for spinning your tires rapidly, which it interprets as a rapid deceleration. However, if you were to spin on a slick patch of ice or in the snow, that same movement sends a signal of rapidly slowing down.
  • You are a hard braker, but not a dangerous driver. According to Progressive, a hard brake in their system registers when your car decelerates over seven miles per second. You do not have to be using your brakes to record this; instead, the device detects your speed. If you are a naturally hard braker, this will work against you. Likewise, if you drive in the chaos of rush hour traffic with motorists who don’t mind cutting you off, jumping into your lane in hopes of moving faster, or other drivers who brake last minute you might find yourself hard braking more often than you would like. Driving in a busy metropolitan city would most likely trigger hard brakes, and while you can curb it, you cannot always prevent it.

Bottom Line: Yes, You Can Save with Progressive Snapshot

You don’t have much to lose with the device. Just install, monitor your progress on their app to see how you are doing, be cautious about your brakes, and only realize that the savings are based on your specifics – not everyone else.

As long as you go into it not expecting a miraculous drop in your premiums, even a few dollars off can add up and be worth it.