Progressive Snapshot Discount Review

April 13, 2011 35 Comments »

snapshot

Progressive’s Snapshot is the latest program to be unleashed from the insurance juggernaut’s formidable discount arsenal. Of course, this is much more than a typical discount, it’s a physical device you install in your car.

So let’s get to the nuts-and-bolts of how this product may save you money on your auto insurance (or not).

Progressive’s Pitch

According to Progressive.com, Snapshot, formerly known as the Pay As You Drive® (PAYD) program, is a type of usage-based insurance.

Once enrolled, you can earn a personalized car insurance discount, known as your “Snapshot Discount,” by driving less, in safer ways, and during safer times of the day.

You can supposedly save up to 30 percent via the program, making it their “biggest discount ever!”

How Does Snapshot Work?

snapshot device

Progressive is able to track your driving habits by having you install a small device called a dongle (pictured at left) in your vehicle that ties into your car’s diagnostic port (“computer”).

The device works with vehicle model years 1996 and newer. If your vehicle does not have a diagnostic port, you’re out of luck. If it does, plug it in and look for a blinking light. That means it’s working.

Next, you drive as you normally would. The device creates a “snapshot” of your driving habits, thus the name…and the information is reviewed by Progressive to determine what level of discount, if any, you qualify for.

Typically, the first snapshot is taken after 30 days of driving, then finalized when your policy renews.

[Pay as You Go Car Insurance]

What Driving Habits Are In Question Here?

Thankfully, the device cannot measure how far off the ground all four tires go when you are jumping railroad tracks!

Progressive is looking at some very basic characteristics at this point.

Miles Driven: Prior to this technology, this information was based on the honor system. Progressive may be smart to question how many of their insured (and agents) may guess incorrectly!

Time of Day: What time of day you drive your car may determine your chances of getting into an accident. Rush hour: “bad.”

Sudden Stops: Our guess is that people who make a lot of sudden stops have higher odds of running into the back of someone and filing an insurance claim. See distracted driving (29% do what behind the wheel?!). This also means your vehicle speed is tracked! If you stop suddenly, the Snapshot device might make a “beeping” sound to warn you of your “bad driving.”

What they calculate depends on the state you buy your policy in.

The Good and the (Potential) Bad

If you are a low mileage driver, who typically doesn’t commute during peak driving hours and pays attention to the road, you may save a boatload of money here.

Remember, up to 30 percent maximum discount is available (depending on what state you live in). But don’t expect your insurance premium to drop from $700 to $70 for the same term if you simply don’t drive your vehicle very often.

It doesn’t use GPS or track a vehicle’s location, nor does it track whether you’re exceeding the speed limit.

Depending on which state you live in, you may be subject to a $30 fee, referred to as the “technology expense.” Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Rhode Island and South Carolina…we’re talking to you.

This means you may not only miss the discounts based on your driving habits, but end up paying more for your policy due to the “Snapshot” technology.

Can My Rate Go Up If I Don’t Drive Like a Saint?

Let’s face it – this is the real question here. Is having a device in your car that tracks your driving habits by the second going to end up causing you more trouble than it’s worth?

If you live in Kansas or Rhode Island, your policy premium may increase by as much as nine percent as a result of your “snapshot,” so driver beware.

But note that you can cancel the program at any time and Progressive will stop using any driving information you shared with them.

Where Is the Progressive Snapshot Available?

Currently, Progressive offers the program in every state except for AK, CA, HI, IN, NC.

But be sure to contact Progressive directly to ensure availability, as it will probably change since this is a new program.

Update: Now you can try Progressive’s Snapshot on a free trial basis for 30 days.This way you don’t have to switch insurers and risk seeing your car insurance rates jump after the device reports your aggressive driving habits back to the Progressive mothership. You simply install the device and it tracks your driving habits for a month, with no obligation. If you like the discount afforded, you get six months to decide if you want to switch.

During the trial, you’ll get updates to gauge your driving habits. Progressive even encourages drivers to determine who is the best in the house, presumably so you will drive as safely as possible to ensure their rates are the lowest available. They even go as far as to recommend that you tell people about it on the social networks.

Of course, you have to wonder if the Snapshot device will lead to unnatural driving patterns, at least initially. This could rope in new drivers, who after becoming used to the presence of the device will go back to their wild ways. This would obviously lead to higher premiums in the future once the road rage resurfaced.

Still, it looks as if Progressive is a trailblazer and is reshaping how car insurance will be determined going forward.

Introducing the Progressive Snapshot App!

progressive app

This just in – Progressive has released an “app” version of Snapshot for iPhones, which is free of charge.

Now, instead of having to commit to installing the Snapshot device in your vehicle, you can preview how Progressive views your driving habits, and also see how you stack up against others, such as friends and family.

The Snapshot app tracks and maps your driving, then spits out a driving score based on hard braking, rapid acceleration, and the amount of driving you do.

You can earn badges, score points, dissect your driving data and share your results with family and friends.

Even if you aren’t interested in the Snapshot device, this app could make you a safer driver.

The Snapshot Hack

In early 2015, it was rumored that hackers could control vehicles with the Snapshot device installed. An Israeli security firm called Argus Cyber Security made the claims on a similar device.

And an American company by the name of Digital Bond Labs reportedly found “major problems” with Snapshot.

When reverse engineered, the company apparently was able to access a vehicle’s critical functions, such as steering, braking, and throttle. Clearly that would be a pretty scary thing if it fell into the wrong hands.

Of course, Progressive was quick to fire back that the researcher couldn’t actually control a vehicle and no evidence has been brought forward that anyone else could either.

Progressive also said they would investigate the matter because security is a top priority. It’s unclear what has been done since this issue was brought to light.

Additionally, there’s a hack on Reddit that apparently shows Snapshot users how to trick Progressive into thinking they’re super safe drivers to get the maximum discount.

Clearly this technology is still in its infancy, and with that comes a lot of potential headaches as the kinks are worked out.

Read more: Esurance DriveSense review

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35 Comments

  1. Henry March 21, 2014 at 8:59 pm -

    Has anyone out there actually used this? Does it save you money? I’m a little paranoid about handing over my driving stats to an insurance company.

  2. shany April 8, 2014 at 6:10 am -

    I’ve been using it for five months now and it has worked great for me so far. i saved almost $200 on my six month policy. and i will find out what my premium will continue to be next month when they do the final calculation, which i’m confident will end up saving me a lot. Like it says it really only tracks, mileage, hard braking, and if you drive during “risky” hours.

  3. Rick Mikolasek April 9, 2014 at 9:34 am -

    It sounds like a great deal for those of us that drive safely, and perhaps less than the standard driver. It you keeps miles low and avoid high-risk habits, Snapshot might be worth a test. Just depends how cheap their policy is relative to OTHER insurers.

  4. Dan Caissie April 19, 2014 at 6:19 pm -

    The only thing that truly matters is hard brakes. I drive 600 miles a week and an hour of late night driving. I have had the 30% discount for 5 months. I have had 3 hard brakes that whole time. My wife drives 120 miles a week and no dangerous driving time, she averages 3.5 hard brakes a week. Her discount is 6%. It’s tough to get the max discount. You have to approach every stop light like it’s going to turn red.

  5. Jackie May 8, 2014 at 6:11 pm -

    I just installed Snapshot. Hope it saves me money!

    note to the author: Snapshot is available to Washington drivers.

  6. Brian Johnson May 9, 2014 at 7:14 am -

    I have had the snapshot device for 3 months. I have a 28% and 30% discount on my two vehicles. I have one hard brake on the 28% vehicle (full coverage) and a few on the 30% (liability only). I assume that it’s more difficult to get a higher discount on cars with full coverage. The policy has still been good for me. They even removed a couple of hard brakes for me when they happened inadvertently. The best part of it all is that Progessive offered the lowest auto insurance cost when I went comparing 3 months ago. I have a feeling that I’ll be with Progressive for a long time.

  7. Rick Mikolasek May 9, 2014 at 10:52 am -

    Brian,

    Thanks for sharing. Does it notify you when you brake too hard? And is there a clear definition of hard braking? How did they happen inadvertently?

  8. Rick Mikolasek May 9, 2014 at 10:54 am -

    Thanks for the update Jackie, come back and let us know how it goes for you!

  9. Duhbrat May 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm -

    In short: Flo is the DEVIL!

    Just kidding. Here is my experience in a nutshell. I tried the Snapshot discount program, quoted at a 30 % discount. When policy was written only received 22%. Took and act of congress and a threat to go to the insurance commissioner to get the rate I was promised.

    I am a safe driver, clean driving record and only drive 5000 miles per year due to working at home.

    Fast forward to ongoing snapshot. Rate dropped to 22% due to allowing my son to drive my car first Month. 16 hard stops over a period of three days. I expected the hit. The kicker is that this percentage never increased over the remaining 4.75 months. With no hard stops, no high risk driving times and no excessive mileage. It is not uncommon for my car not to be driven for more than a week.

    Fast forward to renewal. With all considerations above, and the 22% discount! my rate increased by almost 50%. Yes I said 50! From 50.00 a month to 74.00.

    Contacting progressive resulted I’m the same BS ‘reevaluated rates in your state.’ I read that this was common practice with this company and was warned by my State Farm agent when I made the switch. Of course thinking it was all sour grapes I was stupid enough to participate and got screwed over like the majority.

    I did contact our insurance commissioner and I just happen to live in a state where insurance companies can do what they will. Here’s the kicker, when I told the representative, who the company was, she said she was not surprised and that this is common practice for them.

    That being said I guess my next stop will be the consumer protection agency as the lure of the snapshot discount sounds like the old bait and switch.

    This may be an old thread but people… Be WARNED. I was too stupid to read the writing on the wall. Especially when they tried to screw me out of the original discounted that had already been quoted.

  10. Tara October 1, 2014 at 8:44 am -

    So I have been one of the “lucky” people to try the snapshot. I had it in my car from may until now (oct 14)- and I didn’t receive a discount. I live in the big city (Houston) and there is traffic everywhere. When you hardly break it will beep, indicating that you “slammed” on your breaks when it isn’t even a slam. So stupid. So because of this reason I did not receive a discount. If you live in the middle of nowhere and don’t have crazy traffic maybe this will work for you. I live in a big city where people will pull out in front of you at any given moment. I am a great driver and I didn’t get a discount- It was stupid in my honest opinion and very pointless unless you drive like grannie or gramps.

  11. Rick Mikolasek October 1, 2014 at 9:07 am -

    Thanks for the insight Tara. Guess it’s a little more sensitive than Progressive lets on.

  12. Nusko October 11, 2014 at 7:32 am -

    I had snapshot for few months and I have to drive to work only 3 miles, I had no accident or anything pertain to insurance, and I did not receive discount on the renewal. Its just a scam for me.

  13. Melissa October 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm -

    I think the hard brakes are ridiculous. It causes me to run red lights so it doesn’t beep on me.

  14. Pam October 23, 2014 at 2:34 pm -

    I feel like running red lights or curse at the yellow lights because if I start breaking at a yellow light, it will beep. As soon as I plugged it in, I was driving 15mph and stopped at a stop sign to turn and it beeped. I just got my stats and it says I was driving 90-95 mph a few times in the past month and the fastest I EVER drive is 70 on the freeway (I don’t even think my car can go that fast). I’m taking it out today to return it.

  15. Jaye November 25, 2014 at 9:42 am -

    This thing is way too sensitive. It’s as if you are driving with bad brakes because if you use them the way they were intended to use them, it’s beeping. You are creeping around driving, have to slowly start braking halfway down the block because you never know if the light is going to change. You can be doing the speed limit and if the light catches you…you either better speed up and try to get through before it turns red or you will hear beeping. I have a brand new car and I feel like I have bad brakes because I never get to use them. Just a little tap to slow down, then coast, then tap again. It really is kind of stupid.

  16. Debbie December 9, 2014 at 1:57 pm -

    I had my snapshot for a few days and it kept going off when I was parked or when I closed the trunk of my car. I sent it back and they gave me a new one which I only had 2 weeks and they asked for it back. I only got a 19% discount and very seldom drive my car. They never even activated my new device. I am very dissatisfied with the Snapshot program.

  17. Chad December 31, 2014 at 10:17 am -

    SnapShot is a pretty horrible program. I just spent the past few days posting negative feedback on their Facebook page expressing how poorly this program is and a representative contacted me!

    Basically, if you live anywhere with high traffic, higher speeds, and traffic lights you will likely not get a discount. The area where my wife and I live has roads with speed limits between 40-55mph with traffic lights everywhere. If we started to gradually brake when the light turned yellow it would always beep. I guess Progressive wants you to run yellow lights!

    Several of my friends are in the program and have had mixed experiences. One of my friends is an aggressive driver and her device never beeped once (I’m assuming it wasn’t working because she is terrifying to ride with). Another friends’ device wouldn’t work and since it wouldn’t work Progressive automatically gave him an 18% discount. And yet another friend who drives like a grandpa had his beep non stop and he received an 8% discount.

    Avoid this program like the plague. I actually may consider switching to another company because this experience has left a sour taste in my mouth.

  18. Sandy February 26, 2015 at 7:10 pm -

    I unfortunately signed up for “Snapshot” before reading the reviews. Do yourself a favor and RUN from this evil gadget. Unless you confine your driving to vacant parking lots or empty tracks, you are doomed for failure. This contraption is simply an invasion of your privacy that is being portrayed as a means to improve safe driving but is really just another way to rake in even more money by the company. If you drive on any street, highway, thoroughfare or interstate or any roadway that has traffic and/or traffic lights, there is no way to “pass” the unrealistic standards they require. And once you do not live up to their unreasonable requirements, you pay the price. Not a minute is wasted. You will see a 10-20% increase in your very next premium. What a SCAM!!!!

  19. Kalyan April 25, 2015 at 10:36 am -

    I have used this for past 6 months. The truth is that they have increased my premium and I got 28% ($220) discount (30% max). Finally, I just saved less than 70 which should have been @ $220

  20. Lucy May 30, 2015 at 4:12 pm -

    I just been on snapshot for almost a month and the only time I heard it beep is when I start my car so does that mean I’m being penalized just for starting it.

  21. Karrie Arzanastsev June 16, 2015 at 8:02 am -

    I don’t know Lucy I was just wondering the same thing after reading a few posts. Mine beeps about 10 seconds after I start my car too. It did beep once when I stopped a little harder than usual but I would hardly call that a “brake slam.” !!! I didn’t realize it measures how fast you accelerate.

  22. Jet August 7, 2015 at 6:38 am -

    This thing has caused my car to not start twice now in the month I’ve had it. Totally dead. AND….My 30 days was up yesterday. ….did I get 30% discount? No….20%? NO! 10%? NO!!! 6%!!!!!!! Im a safe driver and have never had an accident in my life! Drive very little and never after 8 pm!!!! Im ripping this sucker out and sending it back.

  23. Ruth August 19, 2015 at 8:58 pm -

    Lucy, as for your device beeping once when you start your car, that is what it is supposed to do to let you know it is working. They told me it would beep 3 times if I “hard braked” I am lucky because I live in a rural area near a small town. The road I go to the grocery store on has all stop signs and I like that better because you can cruise to a stop. I had a similar device with another company several years ago and got the maximum discount. But you don’t get the discount until your next payment is due. I just installed the one from Progressive three days ago, so it remains to be seen how it works out.

  24. Joe August 28, 2015 at 2:19 pm -

    I just got off the phone with Progressive regarding the Snapshot. Well in my opinion you have a better shot a getting a discount by driving a hover round. I’ve only had this device for ten days,registered 16 hard stops….sorry not possible!!!
    I drive slower than most anyone and drove, during this initial period, approximately 22 miles per day. I am one who has my foot off the gas way before hitting a traffic light or stop sign and gradually apply brake pressure. Today I was already stopped at a light and the unit beeped. Hard braking is noted by stopping 7.5 mph within a ten foot distance. As a result of the noted traffic light situation,twice at the very same light I did in fact have to hit my brakes harder than normal as the light goes from green and directly to red….yes sir no yellow. So, do I blow the light, risk a ticket, get a rate hike for the summons or drive a bicycle instead. I personally watch my speed odometer more than most for sure and 16 hard brakes is by far a reality. I’m almost at a slight roll before actually stopping. Heck once you’re driving,without depressing the gas pedal, most cars are doing between 10 and 15 mph on a roll.
    The chance of getting a discount is at best nominal, so I am awed by those receiving the huge discounts noted. I’ll wait for the 30 days, acquire my results and then go shopping for another company.
    The results are without doubt more than questionable. I would not recommend this program to my worst enemy!!!
    Horrible,horrible program….do not get involved.

  25. gary October 12, 2015 at 3:32 pm -

    Wake up people! Insurance company’s are not in the business of saving people money. If you fall for this thinking you have something to gain, you better think again.

  26. mike mcnamara November 15, 2015 at 3:54 pm -

    I just finished my snapshot and they asked me to send it back. I got full 30% savings. I live in small town and drive pretty easy. one night my wife went to our hospital she is fine but they wanted to take her 60 miles to Wichita heart hospital by ems. she asked me to be there.I DID not know the way so I followed the ambulance 100mph and got 6 hard brakes. only 1 other hard brake the 8 months it was in my car.

    Progressive has been good to me. if you drive normal and not a lot of miles its well worth a try I think if I was in a big city it would be hard to get 30% savings but it don’t hurt to try nothing will go up if you don’t do well.

  27. Juan November 25, 2015 at 10:32 am -

    It is terrible. It will penalized you when you stop for yellow lights. I am so mad at it that I will be moving out from progressive in my next renewal.

  28. Dayna January 21, 2016 at 9:25 am -

    If people use it no matter how bad of a driver you are your rate will not go up. They said I drove really well and only had a few hard breaks and after my first 30 days I thought i would get a bigger discount than I did, and I only got 6% taken off. I am hesitant to do the rest of the 5 months because because I don’t like getting all upset over a hard break, but since it won’t hurt my rate me being in FL I guess I will just keep it!!!

  29. Chloe February 28, 2016 at 9:33 pm -

    I got 30% on my policy because I never drove my car anywhere. Just drove it around once or twice the for the first 2 months or so, after that, I didn’t bother cause there was snow on the ground and I didn’t wanna take the risk, so I just left my car sitting in the garage for 4 months. Just got the email from them telling me it’s time to unplug my Snapshot device and send it back.

  30. Brian Levine February 29, 2016 at 11:16 am -

    Since I commute to work during normal rush hour traffic, I did not get a discount. My wife barely drives, but since she and her car are on the same policy, I did not get a discount for her.

    Like so many things about insurance, the discount is basically only available if you don’t really use your car. Thanks a lot, Flo.

  31. Jenn J March 9, 2016 at 12:54 pm -

    Has anyone changed their mind and sent it back? That’s what I’m thinking about but I’m not sure what my best bet is.

  32. Thelma March 20, 2016 at 10:54 am -

    Here not feeling good about the negative reviews on the Progressive Snapshot. I received mine over the weekend and will plug it in this afternoon. I could not survive a hype in payments so to be honest I am already sweating salted bullets.

  33. darlene May 17, 2016 at 12:29 pm -

    I have had it in my vehicles for 2 months and I hate it.
    it isn’t accurate at all
    registers same days and others not and I take same path every day
    registers hard breaks and I don’t even touch the break, it beeps so you know it reported a hard break
    I find that I run yellow lights to not hard break to stop
    I find my self not wanting to use the breaks when a car pulls out in front of me…do want the bad mark.
    Currently I have a B+ rating and have no idea what that means
    I wish I would not have done it.

  34. Shirley June 25, 2016 at 8:31 pm -

    Another lie from insurance companies that try to control you they want to separate good drivers from bad and they let you try for 3 months to give you discounts all lies because they want to know how many miles you drive how you brake how you accelerate the car, after I used to for 3 months they send me an email for 15% discount and a month later my policy was renew with an increase I mentioned the discount and they said it was only applied to the collision of my coverage so there is not discount at all its all a lie.

  35. Randy July 28, 2016 at 3:31 am -

    The snapshot is a total fraud. After 40 years of ticketless, accident free driving both my wife and I were rated poor drivers by snapshot parameters. Although it measures acceleration, driving times, etc. the real culprit is the Stopping rate. No real world driver can pass that, and neither did we.

    In congestion if you leave enough room to prevent the alarm from sounding, you get cut off and beep-beep. If you drive on roads with speed limits more than 30 mph you either must blow through yellow lights or get penalized for stopping.

    The entire paradigm is a fraud. Unless Progressive releases the program stats of how many drivers actually pass I suspect they will continue to fraudulently promise savings which can’t be achieved.

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