A Quick Guide to Progressive Snapshot

man lowering car insurance
When it launched Snapshot in 2008, Progressive forever changed the way car insurance works. Progressive would no longer have to make guesses about their customers’ driving habits. Instead, the company could see how people really drive and set insurance rates to match.

But the Snapshot telematics program has evolved a lot since those early days. Is Progressive Snapshot worth it? And how much money can you really save on your insurance bill?

How Progressive Snapshot Works

You must be a Progressive customer to use Snapshot. The company gives you an initial discount for signing up (usually around $25) and then tracks your driving habits for a six-month period in order to set your rates.

When signing up, drivers can choose how they’d like Progressive to track them. You can opt for the original device, which is a little dongle that plugs into your car (usually under the steering wheel). The device beeps at you when you brake too hard (fun!), and the data it collects can be accessed online, through your Progressive account.

More drivers now are opting to use the Snapshot mobile app, which runs in the background on your phone every time you drive. The advantage of the app is that it puts all the info on your driving habits at your fingertips. You can review your recent trips to see specific details of what the app is tracking, such as the places where you had a hard brake or accelerated too quickly.

The disadvantages of the app: It may be a drain on your battery, you can’t use it if you often drive non-covered vehicles (like a company car), and unlike the Snapshot device, the app may ding you for using your phone while driving.

Is Progressive Snapshot Worth It?

Can Snapshot actually save you money? That depends on a few factors: how you drive, when you drive, and where you live.

  • How you drive: You think you’re a safe driver, but Snapshot may tell a different story! The device/app tracks every time you hit the gas or the brake pedal too hard. Maybe you have a good reason — you have to merge onto the highway at speed, for instance, or you have to slam on the brakes because someone cut you off. But context doesn’t matter.
  • How much you drive: Snapshot may track your mileage, the time you spend behind the wheel, and the frequency of certain trips.
  • When you drive: If you drive during high-risk times — especially between midnight and 4 a.m. on weekends — that will hurt your driving score.
  • Where you live: Every state has its own insurance rules. So the info Snapshot collects, and the ways Progressive can use that data to set your rates, depend on the state you live in. Some states allow the company to raise your rates for less-safe driving, and others don’t. Look up your state on Progressive’s state details page to find out.

So what’s the upshot of Snapshot? How much money can you save?

That initial signup discount goes away once your policy comes up for renewal, to be replaced by a discount based on your driving habits. The maximum discount is around 30 percent, and Progressive says the average driver saves $130. But! If you live in a state that permits insurance companies to penalize you for bad driving, your rates may go up. About 2 out of 10 drivers see an increase after participating in Snapshot.

Progressive Snapshot Reviews

What do real customers say about Progressive Snapshot? Experiences vary, of course — some users say they got the full 30 percent discount, while most say they got less and some say their rates increased. Snapshot app reviews lean toward the negative, with many users complaining that the app failed to track certain trips, unfairly penalized them for unsafe driving, drained their battery or used too much data. Another common complaint is how the app dings drivers for phone usage, even if they’re waiting in a drive-thru, using a navigation app or letting a kid in the back seat use the phone.

After reading hundreds of Snapshot app reviews, we conclude that the plug-in device may be a better and simpler solution for people who want to try Snapshot. The only downside is that you must return the device by mail once you’re done, or you’ll have to pay for it.

Progressive Snapshot vs. Other Usage-Based Insurance Programs

How does Progressive Snapshot compare to other companies’ programs?

  • Allstate Drivewise runs with an app, and promises up to 10% cash back for signing up and then up to 25% cash back every six months for continued safe driving.
  • State Farm Drive Safe and Save offers up to a 50% insurance discount for safe driving, and runs via mobile app or OnStar device.
  • Travelers IntelliDrive uses an app to track your driving for 90 days. At renewal, you can save up to 20% for driving safely, or you might pay more for your riskier driving habits.
  • Liberty Mutual & SafeCo RightTrack – You could be saving 30% on your current policy by trying out RightTrack. There is no charge to sign up.

Should I Try Progressive Snapshot?

Snapshot, along with those other usage-based insurance programs, does have the potential to give you savings on car insurance. But if you hesitate to take the risk, or if you don’t like giving a big company all your driving data, just remember that there are other ways to save! Here’s our guide to some of the car insurance discounts that are available to you.

In the end, there’s only one way to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal on car insurance: Compare personalized quotes on Compare.com and pick the best deal for you. What are you waiting for?

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