Progressive Snapshot Review & Complaints| Pay-per-mile

Progressive Snapshot is a usage-based program that could save you up to 30 percent off your premium rates. So what is a B+ on Snapshot? How does the program work? In this Progressive Snapshot Review, you'll learn how monitoring your driving habits allows Progressive to reward you for safer driving. If you're ready to compare usage-based insurance policies, enter your ZIP code to find great auto insurance rates from top car insurance companies.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: May 13, 2021

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Progressive Snapshot Review Summary
Progressive Snapshot FactsProgram DetailsFrom the Experts...
Usage-based insurance Programs to track driving habits have been around for a decade in the United StatesNational Association of Insurance Commissioners
Insurance premiumsAn accident or incident could raise rates as much as $1,000 annually Quadrant Data
Snapshot programGrades drivers based on tracked driving behaviors to discount or increase rates annually Progressive
Snapshot discountUp to 30% promised - actual discount ranges from 10%-15% Quadrant Data
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Interested in lowering your car insurance rates? Wondering “what is b+ on snapshot?” Progressive Snapshot is a usage-based insurance program that could save you some money. With Progressive’s Snapshot, policyholders have a chance to earn up to a 30 percent discount off their car insurance premium with an A grade or a 1-15 percent discount with a grade of B. Our Progressive Snapshot review will tell you everything you need to know.

Snapshot was one of the first usage-based insurance programs, which have since become a popular trend. Although it wasn’t the first of these programs, Progressive’s heavy marketing of Snapshot raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

Progressive also owns the patents to the technology used for usage-based programs, which they license to other companies. 

If you’re interested in Progressive Snapshot car insurance, we’ll help you understand all of the details of this program to decide if it’s right for you.

To learn more about Progressive and Progressive Snapshot car insurance quotes, read our Progressive insurance review. Looking for affordable Progressive Snapshot car insurance? To search for lower rates, you can begin with our FREE tool above to browse different insurance plans.

What is Snapshot?

Since its inception in 2011, the Snapshot program has changed and gained some competition from other companies jumping on the bandwagon. Today, Snapshot offers two different options for joining the program.

What is the Progressive Snapshot device? Drivers can choose a device that uses telematics science technology to remotely monitor and collect data. The Snapshot device plugs into the car and records driving habits. Progressive also offers the option of a mobile app that tracks driving information. Either way, the system works much like other usage-based programs.

Information regarding your driving habits is gathered and sent to Progressive. Progressive reviews the data, and insurance rates are adjusted accordingly. This discount could be up to 30 percent according to the program’s marketing.

What about Progressive Snapshot car insurance rates? Can Progressive Snapshot increase rates? Unlike several other programs, Snapshot can increase your rates.

Some usage-based programs promise you cannot lose by signing up, but Progressive will increase your rates if the information gathered indicates unsafe driving habits.

According to the company’s website, two out of ten drivers see an increase. That means 20 percent of those who use Snapshot will end up with higher rates. Progressive does offer an initial discount for signing up, and it promises up to 30 percent off after the 6-month review period is over, when your policy renews.

Snapshot is offered in most states. Drivers considering switching to Progressive can get a 30-day free trial of the Snapshot program, after which Progressive will give them a quote that includes the anticipated discount from the program, should they decide to switch and use Snapshot. The free trial is not available to current customers.

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How does the Snapshot Program work?

So, what does Snapshot do? There are a few types of telematics devices that can track your driving. As discussed, Snapshot uses either a plug-in device or a mobile app to record driving habits.

In addition to recording information, the device will beep three times whenever it senses hard braking. This is meant to be a reminder to the driver to be more aware of their braking behavior.

How long do you use Progressive Snapshot? You’ll drive with Snapshot for a full policy period, which may be either six or 12 months. You can check your policy summary for details of your plan.

The mobile app is downloaded and installed on your phone. All that’s required is that you take your phone with you every time you drive. In addition to sending information to Progressive, the app will also allow you to view and track all of the recorded trip information right on your phone.

Progressive uses the tracked information to award drivers a grade based on their performance. In the app, you’ll see a letter grade that lets you know what kind of discount you’re on track to earn. The better your driving, the better the grade. Take a look at the chart below for the Progressive Snapshot grades.

Progressive Snapshot Car Insurance Discount Levels
Progressive Snapshot Rating LevelsPotential Discount Percentages
A16% - 30% savings
B1% - 15% savings
C0% savings
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Your Progressive Snapshot login can be used to check in on your discount and driving habits.

Many drivers ask how to get an A on Progressive Snapshot. Almost all drivers will start with an A rating, but as you drive you will almost certainly fall to a B. To maintain an A rating a driver would need to be almost flawless all the time.

To get accurate information, your charged phone must be with you when you drive. Progressive also recommends that you do not use the app version if you frequently drive another vehicle, such as a business vehicle, as it will skew the results.

Monitoring can be paused in the app for up to two weeks. Pausing the app too frequently, however, will result in Progressive prolonging your data collection period or switching you to the plug-in device instead.

The minimum required collection period is 75 consecutive days.

Drivers can choose to switch to the plug-in device at any time during the evaluation period if the app isn’t working well for them. Drivers can also categorize trips on the app to indicate times when they were not the driver behind the wheel since the app collects data every time it is in a moving car.

If you have more than one vehicle, each vehicle and each driver will require a separate data collection process.

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What does Snapshot record?

Through the plug-in device and the app, Snapshot records several data items. This data is transmitted back to Progressive and used to determine discounts or increases on your rates

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=44&v=GW0gDCx-xfA&feature=emb_logo

The telematics device that Progressive uses for the Snapshot program collects the following data:

  • Braking: The system looks for instances of hard-braking (braking/stopping suddenly or quickly).
  • Acceleration: The device records instances of quick acceleration.
  • Time of day: The device records when you drive, specifically the time of day that you’re on the road.
  • Mileage: The device records the length of each trip to accurately determine how many miles you regularly drive.
  • Trip frequency: How often you drive your car will also be recorded.
  • Location: The device includes a GPS to locate your vehicle.

In addition to these basics, the mobile app records even more information, including a map of your trips. On that map, the locations where things like hard-braking occurred are highlighted, as well as when and where you used your phone.

How is the information used?

Of the information gathered, only hard-braking, acceleration, time of day, trip frequency, and mileage are used to calculate your final insurance rates.

Location information regarding where you drive your car is recorded, but it’s used only for internal research purposes. This information has no bearing on your rates.

How information is used, and what information is used, can vary from state to state. Again, it’s vital to read the fine print for your state before you sign up for this program. As mentioned above, Progressive can use the information in most states to discount or increase your rates.

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How do Snapshot discounts and increases work?

Progressive gives those who sign up for Snapshot an initial discount for the first policy term, which according to the website is an average savings of $25. This discount applies to the first six months, after which the actual information gathered is used to determine your renewal rate.

The Progressive website promises discounts of up to 30 percent, which is a hefty amount and a level that most drivers probably will not attain. Like many other companies’ programs, most drivers are seeing a 10-15 percent discount at the end of their evaluation period.

The graph below demonstrates the average potential savings a driver can expect with Progressive Snapshot.

Progressive Average Six-month Car Insurance With and Without Snapshot
Progressive Snapshot UsageProgressive Average 6-Month Rates
With Snapshot$752
Without Snapshot$809
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One thing that Progressive’s site does not mention is the potential percentage increase, nor does the site indicate whether there is a cap on how much they can increase your rates based on the collected information.

Discounts only apply to certain coverages on the policy, and not to the overall rates. The same rule applies to the increases in premiums.

Another point to note is that if you opt-out of the program more than 45 days after it has begun, Progressive may ding you with a surcharge on your policy.

Wherever you live, your state will have minimum required liability coverage. While the minimum requirements might be the cheapest option, it isn’t going to provide full protection.

Full protection from any insurer could be a significant cost. Programs like Snapshot can help save you money. Looking for car insurance discounts through your insurer will help offset your premiums.

What are the Progressive Snapshot rules?

If you enroll in Snapshot when you buy your policy, you’ll save immediately with the participation discount. The participation discount does not apply when Snapshot is added to a vehicle on an existing policy, however.

To save the most you’ll need to enroll in the program as soon as you buy a policy.

Progressive does allow you to have a 30-day trial of the program, after which you can decide to go ahead with the policy or take your business elsewhere. Again, we saw no indication that this option is available to current policyholders.

Only vehicles that are from 1996 or newer are eligible for Snapshot, either with the device or with the mobile app. Only fully licensed drivers can use Snapshot, and not those with a learner’s permit.

How do I install Progressive Snapshot?

For most cars, installation is very easy. To utilize the plug-in Snapshot device, your car will need to be a model year 1996 or newer.

If you choose to use the mobile app, all you have to do is download it and install it on your mobile device. From there, the app will continue to run in the background as long as your mobile phone is turned on and in service, and you won’t have to do anything more unless you need to pause or restart it.

The plug-in device is attached directly to your car’s Onboard Diagnostic port (OBD-II), which is generally located somewhere under the dashboard. Progressive offers guidance to help you find out where the port is on your car and how to plug it in.

Once it’s plugged in, you leave it in place for the duration of the information-gathering period, and then remove it at the end to send back to Progressive. They will calculate your driving score and use that to determine how much you will pay for your insurance policy.

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Is Progressive Snapshot worth it?

Progressive Snapshot car insurance company does not have the oldest usage-based program around, but it did revolutionize and popularize the patented technology that is also used by other companies today. The company has several years on most of its competition in terms of experience with usage-based systems.

Unlike the competitors’ programs, Progressive’s does come with the risk of higher rates. This means that it’s not a risk-free program, and anyone considering it will need to be aware of this before moving forward. You could end up paying more for your insurance policy depending on what your driving score says about you.

Progressive Snapshot Reddit reviews show that consumers have mixed feelings about this program.

The Progressive Snapshot forum shows that customers rarely receive the 30 percent discount. Customer experiences with the program indicate that few drivers see an overall A rating. As discussed, that is not unusual, as most companies with a usage-based program wind up with similar results.

That 30 percent discount represents a gold standard of driving that is next to impossible to achieve.

What we did see in a review of customer experiences is that while many people did see a discount, on average, it was between 10-15 percent.

Some customers have been looking around online for Progressive Snapshot hacks. Since this is a legal agreement that you have entered into, any hacks will void the contract. This could lead to loss of coverage and possible legal action. This is not recommended.

Overall, the Progressive Snapshot seems on par with other similar systems and does offer both the mobile and device options.

What is usage-based insurance?

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says that Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) first came to be about a decade ago through mileage-based discount programs meant to reward good drivers. These programs involve telematics devices, which are plugged into cars and record driving information.

US News and World Report says that at the inception of telematics devices and UBI, there were over a million cars in the United States recording driving habits. In 2018, the Insurance Information Institute estimated that there were 10-11 million telematics-enabled insurance programs in place in the United States.

That number has increased even more today as many consumers are looking for ways to save on insurance premiums.

With car accidents costing over $230 billion annually, insurance companies are looking for ways to make America’s roads safer. Of course, drivers are looking for ways to improve safety as well. Programs like Snapshot work great for everyone.

Take a look at the following table which outlines how much an incident on your driving record can impact your insurance rates.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Driving Record
CompaniesAverage Annual Rates with Clean RecordAverage Annual Rates with One Speeding ViolationAverage Annual Rates with One AccidentAverage Annual Rates with One DUI
Allstate$3,819.90 $4,483.51 $4,987.68 $6,260.73
American Family$2,693.61 $3,025.74 $3,722.75 $4,330.24
Farmers$3,460.60 $4,079.01 $4,518.73 $4,718.75
GEICO$2,145.96 $2,645.43 $3,192.77 $4,875.87
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30 $5,701.26 $6,204.78 $7,613.48
Nationwide$2,746.18 $3,113.68 $3,396.95 $4,543.20
Progressive$3,393.09 $4,002.28 $4,777.04 $3,969.65
State Farm$2,821.18 $3,186.01 $3,396.01 $3,636.80
Travelers$3,447.69 $4,260.80 $4,289.74 $5,741.40
USAA$1,933.68 $2,193.25 $2,516.24 $3,506.03
Average Annual Rates$3,123.62 $3,669.10 $4,100.27 $4,919.62
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Having just one accident could cost you over $1,000 annually. Safe driving is in your best financial interest and a great reason to give Snapshot a try.

Gathering data about driving habits and using it to inform a personalized rate, Progressive’s program operates similarly to other insurance provider monitoring programs. This car insurance trend has grown in popularity over the past few years, with most major insurance companies offering some form of discount for allowing them to monitor driving habits.

It’s an optional program aimed at giving good drivers a discount while also allowing drivers to track their habits and see what they can do to improve. However, most people don’t plan on seeing the cost of their coverage increase when using the Snapshot Device but that could be what happens. Make sure that you’re confident that you’re a safe driver before enrolling in this kind of usage-based insurance program so you don’t end up causing your insurance premium to increase.

The Insurance Information Institute states that insurers are capturing data from millions of vehicles to create information profiles on driving behaviors to support UBI programs. These programs are saving drivers money all across America.

What’s the bottom line?

Enrolling in Progressive Snapshot has the potential to save you an average of about 10-15 percent on your car insurance rates. At the very least, it will get you an initial discount on your first policy term.

Anyone thinking of trying out the program, however, should be aware that it is not risk-free, and 20 percent of the time the result is a rate increase. It’s up to the individual to decide whether or not they feel confident enough in their driving skills and habits to avoid that risk and plan accordingly.

If you’re looking for a cheaper insurance option, check out our free tool below to compare rates and plans, and visit our page of best online insurance by company.

Looking to buy Progressive Snapshot car insurance or other usage-based policies? Now that you’ve finished this Progressive Snapshot review, feel free to use our FREE tool below to get quotes near you.

References:

  1. https://content.naic.org/cipr_topics/topic_telematicsusage_based_insurance.htm
  2. https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/01/13/should-you-try-pay-as-you-drive-insurance
  3. https://www.iii.org/article/background-on-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-telematics
  4. https://www.verizonconnect.com/resources/article/what-is-telematics/

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