Telematics Inside Look: Progressive Snapshot

Learn more about this usage-based car insurance program by reading our deep-dive analysis.

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Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

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The state of auto insurance looks a bit different in 2022, as companies work to deliver more personalized options to drivers. Progressive adapted to the pandemic with a slew of commercials showing its team learning the ins and outs of Zoom meetings. And it continues to adapt to the changing state of insurance with Snapshot, its usage-based insurance program that has resulted in an average savings of $145 per year for drivers. 

So, how does Progressive Snapshot work?

Key Takeaways:

  • Snapshot is a telematics tool that can track driving habits and potentially lead to a discount with Progressive
  • You can look at your data through a mobile app or the Progressive website
  • Non-customers can try things out with the Snapshot Road Test and will receive their own quote from Progressive afterward
  • The benefits of Snapshot rely greatly on how safely you drive, but also take your location into consideration

What’s inside the Progressive Snapshot app

Progressive Snapshot gives you a choice when signing up. You can either download the Snapshot mobile app — available on iOS or Android — or install a plug-in device in your car. The device plugs into your car’s OBD-II port, usually located under your steering wheel. As an added safety feature, it will beep whenever you have a hard brake.

Whatever option you choose, you’ll get your driving info from the mobile app or by visiting the Progressive website. Inside the app, you’ll find:

  • Dashboard: From here, you can see your driving status, recent trips and ways to improve your driving.
  • Trip log: Progressive keeps track of all your trips, but only ones where you’re the driver. If it accidentally miscalculates a ride, you can recategorize it.
  • Trip details: You can dive into a specific trip, exploring a map of where you drove. This screen highlights where you had a hard brake, fast acceleration or used your phone.
  • Driving tips: Progressive offers tips based on your driving that could potentially boost your score and lower your premium.

Like many telematics programs, Snapshot offers drivers opportunities to save by practicing safe driving techniques. To maximize your discount:

  • Limit hard brakes and fast acceleration
  • Avoid driving between midnight and 4 a.m. on the weekends
  • Drive less overall — Snapshot rewards carpoolers and other infrequent drivers, though participants need to log at least 4,000 miles per year
  • Avoid texting, calling or other handheld phone activity — this behavior is only considered in certain states and only if you use the Snapshot app 

In some states, factors like trip regularity are considered, as well. Before you hit the road, check out the details of Snapshot within your particular state, as well as how it might impact your premium. 


Other Progressive Snapshot features

Not a Progressive customer? You can still use Snapshot, but you’ll have to take the Snapshot Road Test beforehand. Road Test is a 30-day trial of Snapshot. You’ll simply download the app to your phone, drive for a month, and then see what your personalized quote will look like when you’re done.

The biggest difference between Snapshot and Snapshot Road Test is the former is for current Progressive customers, while the latter is for non-Progressive customers. Snapshot Road Test will also give you updates on your progress and how close you are to completing your Road Test.

Once you complete the program, you can choose to switch to Progressive at your personalized rate or stick with your current company. You’ll have six months to decide after taking your Road Test, so you don’t have to rush into a decision. 

Snapshot Road Test also offers a referral program, where you can receive a $25 gift card for getting friends to sign up.

How Progressive Snapshot affects your phone and privacy

Snapshot collects information on how you drive, when you drive and your driving frequency, and collects location data to do so. 

If you’re using the plug-in device, Snapshot will collect your vehicle speed and time of day, when the device is plugged in and unplugged from the car, the Vehicle Identification Number, and may use GPS to record G-force and location. Progressive says they delete driving data from the device after it’s sent to them, but may retain the data indefinitely.

If you’re using the app, Snapshot will track three types of data:

  • Driving data, including information like vehicle speed and location, trip duration and rates of acceleration and braking, phone usage and whether your phone use is hands-free. Snapshot collects this data even if you’re a passenger
  • Mobile phone information, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth status, whether you’re using your phone and date/time stamps
  • App analytics information, including how often you use the app, which screens you’ve viewed and other performance activity
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Progressive Snapshot’s impact on your premium

Will you save money with Snapshot? That depends on how safely you drive, as well as where you live.

On average, Snapshot drivers receive a $37 discount simply for signing up with the program. You’ll then get a rate based on how you actually drive. Snapshot also offers a discount after you complete the program and renew your auto policy with Progressive (which is typically after six months). Drivers who complete and renew save $145 on average.

The $37 savings disappears after renewing your policy and is replaced by your personalized rate. None of these participation discounts are available in Alaska, Hawaii or New York. 

Progressive also notes that about two in ten drivers will see their premiums increase as a result of unsafe driving habits.

Check your state to learn about other factors on potential discounts. Progressive may charge an increase when your policy renews if you opt out after more than 45 days after participating.

The final word

Whether you find Progressive Snapshot worthwhile partly depends on how safely you drive. If you’re not already a Progressive customer, it may be worth taking the Snapshot Road Test to see what your premium could look like compared with your current company.

In the end, it’s your decision. Whether you sign up with Snapshot or not, it's a good idea to reassess your car insurance situation once every six months to ensure you are with the best company for you. Enter your ZIP code below to see what you could save.

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