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In a world of about 10 major usage-based insurance options right now, Snapshot is number one. Snapshot, alongside Allstate, were the first to pilot UBI insurance in the USA. Although the idea of usage-based insurance isn’t necessarily new, it has only recently gained traction and Progressive’s Snapshot is definitely the leader of the pack.
Progressive introduced its usage based program, Snapshot in January of 2008. Since its inception, Snapshot has gone on to collect over 14 billion miles of driving data. To put that into perspective, that is approximately 50 roundtrips from the Earth to the Sun, as per the company’s website.
The goal of usage-based car insurance, Snapshot included, is to provide a more accurate premium for the user. The traditional model of premiums base costs on past statistics rather than actual individual driving records. While there are still other factors when calculating your premium, a program such as Snapshot gives the customer an opportunity to have some control over their premiums.
How Snapshot Works
From the customer standpoint, it is pretty easy.
Until 2015, the only way to use Snapshot was to plug in the device into the OBD-II port of your vehicle. However in 2015 the company launched their Snapshot Mobile App. The app uses software to monitor and measure drivers’ data. You’re able to switch between the two methods at any time during your policy should you prefer one over the other.
Plug in device: Plugging in a small device into your car is the most common option among most UBI insurance options. You simply install a small device in your car that monitors your driving habits, and reports the data back to Progressive so they can give you a customized premium. The device does not need to be plugged into a computer periodically either. It connects automatically to cellphone networks and uploads the information directly to Progressive. This data is encrypted.
App: Just as simple as installing the device, for most, having the app can be very convenient. All you need to do is install the app, register yourself, and drive! The app allows you to view your stats with the click of a button. The app tracks your driving record and trips and will also offer driving tips.
What does Snapshot track?
Usage-based auto insurance programs track different driving metrics, depending on the service. Progressive’s Snapshot focuses on three:
- Braking – How many “hard brakes” you perform on average
- Miles – The total amount of miles you drive per day
- Time – The amount of driving you do between midnight and 4am (considered high-risk)
According to Progressive’s website, Snapshot is available in every state, although details of the program can differ by location.
Those who are not already with Progressive, can enroll in Snapshot when you purchase your policy, receiving the device 7-10 days after enrollment. If you have an existing policy through Progressive, you can simply add Snapshot onto your policy.
The company does offer a 30 day trial for those who are unsure and just want to see what all the hype is about.
As the program currently stands, you are not likely going pay more than your normal insurance premium because you use Snapshot. If you do drive recklessly, the odds of your premium increasing are very slim. On average only every 2 out of 10 drivers ever see an increase.
In addition to the $25 discount the website states you receive for simply signing up, savings are evaluated 30 days after your driving data has been collected and then again once your policy is up for renewal, typically around the six month mark. Once 30 days of driving data has been reviewed, should there be a discount, it is applied at that time to your policy. When the six month mark rolls around your data is then re-evaluated and any relevant discounts are applied then.
Progressive’s website shows drivers are able earn a discount of 1% – 30%, but it appears this is on the generous end of the spectrum. There are a number of bloggers that have written about their personal experiences with Snapshot, and the range I was able to find was between two and 15%, with a large number right around 10%.
Actual users report around 10%
For most cars, installation is very easy.
The Snapshot device is a little bigger than a fun-sized candy bar, and plugs into the on-board diagnostics port, also known as the OBD-II port. For many cars, this is located below the steering wheel.
If you do not know where your OBD-II port is, Progressive has a pretty cool tool that can show your car specifically.
As the program exists today, there is no significant evidence that says you should not try it out. Progressive has the most experience in the usage-based insurance industry and continues to grow as the market expands.
We have definitely seen an increase in usage-based car insurance over the last few years, and it is important to stay up-to-date on any changes in the program just as you would with a regular insurance policy.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.