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Review: Progressive Snapshot

Learn more about this usage-based car insurance program.

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Progressive Snapshot reviewed — how it works and how to save

Snapshot is a voluntary program offered by Progressive Insurance that utilizes the newest trend in car insurance technology: telematics. Using either a mobile app or plug-in device, usage-based auto insurance generates your premium based on your driving behavior. Although it sounds simple, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting into prior to participating. Let’s review Snapshot, Progressive's telematics program.

What is Snapshot by Progressive?
  1. How does Progressive Snapshot Work?
  2. What does Snapshot track?
  3. Frequently asked questions about telematics

How does Progressive Snapshot work?

Progressive Snapshot includes three primary phases: initial onboarding, a trial period, and conclusion.


To become eligible for Progressive Snapshot, you must have an existing car insurance policy with Progressive. To begin, download the app, register using your Progressive policy information, and begin your “test drive” period. For participating, you will receive an immediate discount of $25.

From here, select either the mobile app version of Snapshot or opt to receive and install an in-car plugin. Progressive advertises these experiences are very similar with one exception. If you choose the mobile version, your mobile phone usage while driving will be factored into your premium calculation at the end of your trial.

Even if you use the plugin version of Snapshot, you will still use the mobile app to monitor your policy. The plugin device is free as well, with shipping and processing fees included.

The timeline for eligibility is up to you: if you’re only getting a Progressive policy in order to try Snapshot from the start, you can begin the trial period during your first policy period (six months). After this, you can opt in or out of the program based on the resulting price quote.

Progressive Snapshot trial period

If you have an existing policy with Progressive, your trial period will last 30 to 75 days. For new customers, it spans the entirety of your first policy period (six months). During this time, your car insurance bills will not be affected by the results of your Snapshot trial. During this period, your rates will be calculated based on the traditional method of rating factors utilized by car insurance companies: age, vehicle, driving record, and credit score (depending on your state).

During the trial period, information is collected from either the mobile app or the plug-in device. This information is used to determine your new premium once the trial period is over. Be mindful of your driving habits during the trial period. Snapshot's pricing model creates a premium that accurately reflects your driving behavior. Follow these safe driving habits to keep your premium low:

  • Avoid driving during overnight hours
  • Brake carefully
  • Drive slower than 80 miles per hour
  • Do not rapidly accelerate

These are the key pricing metrics Snapshot measures to create your new insurance rate. You can view this information in your mobile app and sign up for regular email updates from Progressive regarding your driving habits.


At the end of your trial period, your new premium will be generated. If you used the plug-in device, Progressive will send you information in order to return it. If your results from your trial period result in a more expensive premium, you can opt out of Snapshot — but you'll lose your Snapshot participation discount. Progressive advertises average savings of $130 per policy period with Snapshot.

Considering the average six-month insurance premium for Progressive was $648 in 2018, a $130 discount would reflect the following on your monthly and annual premiums:

Average 6-month PolicyAverage 6-month Policy w/ SnapshotMonthly Savings

*Actual pricing is generated by Progressive’s algorithm. The above is an estimate based on our independent analysis of average customer savings.

What does Snapshot track?

The data collected by Snapshot is similar to the data collected by other telematics programs. See below the actions that can result in higher car insurance rates.

  • Hard braking: Your device will beep if you’ve braked too hard
  • Time of day driven: Driving between midnight and 4 a.m. is deemed dangerous and often punished with a penalty.
  • Average mileage: While you must drive more than 300 miles per month to participate in this program, driving too much will result in a penalty.
  • Phone usage: If you’re using the mobile version of Snapshot, how much you use your phone while driving will contribute to your premium calculation.
  • Speed: While Snapshot is unable to compare the speed limit to your actual speed, driving above 80 miles per hour will generally result in a penalty.

Snapshot is aware of your location and where you reside, but this information is not used to calculate your insurance premium.

Frequently asked questions about Progressive Snapshot

Can Snapshot raise my car insurance rates?

Yes. Progressive advertises that Snapshot is not for everyone. If your trial period yields you with a higher premium, you are able to switch to a standard method of insurance pricing.

What happens if you unplug Snapshot?

If you accidentally unplug the device, plug it back in. If you fail to do so, Progressive will most likely email or contact you.

Why is my Snapshot device beeping?

The plug-in device beeps when it registers a risky behavior. For instance, rapid acceleration or braking. Avoid these practices, as they result in price hikes.

How is the Snapshot mobile app different from the plug-in telematics device?

They're similar in theory. In some states, using your while driving is illegal. Otherwise, Progressive advertises the results and user experience is very similar.

Will the mobile app drain your phone’s battery?

Progressive states the app uses minimal battery power when not driving. If you are driving, it is comparable to a navigation app, as they have similar functions.

How does Snapshot work with multiple vehicles and drivers?

In order for the app to work, you must have the same number of drivers and vehicles. Each driver will need to download and use the app while driving their primary vehicle. This can be tricky in a two-vehicle, two-driver household. In this situation, both drivers should download the app and allow the platform to determine who is driving which vehicle at a given time.

Can you drive for Uber and Lyft while participating in Snapshot?

Yes, but all trips will be recorded and utilized in your insurance premium. Since mileage is baked into your insurance premium, this might not be a good option.

Ultimately, the best way to determine if Progressive Snapshot is right for you is to try it. If you don’t have a Progressive policy but are interested in trying a usage-based insurance option, most companies have their own programs. Below are other telematics options. Keep in mind these programs are designed for drivers with good driving histories. If you have a history of speeding tickets or accidents, you can find additional ways to save on car insurance here.

Additional resources
Drivewise vs. Progressive Snapshot
Progressive Snapshot vs. Root
Car insurance for low-mileage drivers
Car insurance for high-risk drivers
Ava Lynch LinkedIn

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years. Currently providing insights and analysis as one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts, Ava has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.

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