Sometime last year, Progressive Insurance started using a device called a Snapshot. The device is placed into a customer’s vehicle so that it can gather data that the insurance company uses to learn how safe a driver that person really is. Safe drivers could get a discount on their car insurance premiums. At first, the program was limited to just one state, but it has since gone nationwide.
The Snapshot program started out as a very limited program, that was available in only one state, New York. It has since grown, and is now available in 32 states: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and, of course, New York. Progressive plans on making the Snapshot program available to more states as this year goes on.
Progressive’s Snapshot Program could be called a “pay-as-you-go” program. It is a program that customers can opt into, if they so choose. So far, around 250,000 drivers have participated in the Snapshot Program. Progressive has analyzed more than 2 billion miles of driving. The drivers who are currently enrolled in the Snapshot Program save, on average, $150 per year on their car insurance. Progressive wants you to know that you could, potentially, save 30% on your car insurance premiums, as a result of participating in their program.
Once you decide to join the Snapshot program, you will have a little Snapshot device plugged into the onboard diagnostic port that is located near your car’s steering wheel. Cars that are older than 1996 may not have this port. Next, you drive as you normally would, and the device wirelessly sends information about your driving to Progressive. The device does not track your location, and does not have any GPS technology inside it. It also doesn’t track the speed that you are driving.
The device gathers data for 30 days. After that, you can log into your policy and find out how much of an initial discount you got, based on your driving habits. This discount will be applied to the six month policy you are currently on. You will be given advice about changes that you can make that will improve your discount. After the six month policy term ends, you give the device back to Progressive, and the insurance company will calculate your final discount. The final discount will be applied to future policy terms.
Worst case scenario, you don’t end up getting awarded a discount, and your premiums stay the same. There is no penalty associated with using the Snapshot device, so you have nothing to lose by trying it out.
Image by Gareth Simpson on Flickr