Progressive Snapshot Discount Review

April 13, 2011 18 Comments »


Progressive’s Snapshot is the latest program to be unleashed from the insurance juggernaut’s formidable discount arsenal.

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, 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 day.

You can 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 (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.”

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, TN and WA.

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.

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  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 -


    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!!!!

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