So What's the Deal with Progressive Snapshot
Snapshot is a simple data collection device that plugs into your vehicle maintenance port to collect information about how you drive. It looks like a big USB drive and uses the same interface that your Dealer uses to turn off that annoying Check Engine Light. The gathers Snapshot specific information to send to Progressive. Progressive then uses that information to offer you the best insurance rate possible. Over 900,000 drivers have used Snapshot to lower their insurance rates. Snapshot is currently available in all states with the exception of AK, CA, HI, IL, IN, MN, NC, NE, NY, OK, SD, TN and WA.
What Snapshot can do for your Rates
Progressive states that using Snapshot can reduce your car insurance rates as much as 30%, depending on your current rate and the results of the Snapshot data that is collected. Progressive emphatically states that Test Drive data cannot and will not be used to raise your insurance rates.
For existing Customers, the Snapshot device needs to be in use for 30 consecutive days, then based on the driving data, your new savings will kick in immediately. After 5 months of continuous use and data, a renewable rate will kick in.
If you are a new customer, you will get an immediate snapshot discount, then after 30 days, you will get your Snapshot based quote for insurance. After purchasing your policy and using the device for 5 months, a renewable rate will be quoted.
Anyone in an eligible state can sign up to use Snapshot or take a Test Drive. There is no obligation to purchase insurance if you take the 30 Day test drive and it can be cancelled at any time by requesting a prepaid return envelope from Progressive.
Take Snapshot for a Test Drive
Signing up is as easy as calling Progressive or using their online sign up page. If you aren't sure, or don't have Progressive insurance yet, you can get a quote and request a Test Drive. After you sign up, 7-10 days later you will receive the free device(s) for your specific car models, delivered to your home, and you can install Snapshot that same day. You can use the device for 30 days, then request a Snapshot based quote for your insurance. There are no fees associated with using Snapshot, other than a $50 replacement fee if the device is lost, stolen or damaged. The device must be returned to Progressive when you stop participation in the program.
Installing and Using Snapshot
Snapshot uses the same method of accessing your vehicle information as your dealer or car shop does when you want that pesky Check Engine light turned off. The data port, called the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) port, is standard on all vehicles produced since its first wide scale introduction in the early 1980's by General Motors. Most cars produced in the past 15 years use an industry standard maintenance port, based on the OBD-II standard, that allows access to federal and state regulated omissions data, as well as general maintenance data for the car. Details on the OBD-II standard can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On-board diagnostics.
Installing is similar to plugging in an USB drive. The port is usually located to the left side of the steering column, on the underside of the dash.
Just plug it in and follow the simple vehicle specific instructions (http://fitguide.installernet.com/progressive/), and in 30 days, you will be eligible for lower rates. The Snapshot device uses private network technology to encrypt, secure, and transmit your vehicle data to the Progressive Snapshot system.
What it Collects
The Snapshot takes data collection beyond the standard OBD-II data set, which is comprehensively designed to log data and provide control interfaces for vehicle maintenance. The Snapshot device only accesses information relative to providing you the best insurance quotes available. Specifically, Snapshot is looking at
- The number of miles driven
- The number of Hard Braking Incidents
- The miles driven between 12:00 - 4:00 AM
- The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Connection to the Vehicle (You will be alerted if the device is disconnected or stops working)
All the data collected is made available to you through your online account at Progressive.com. You can see all the data collected, and the projected savings based on 5 months of continuous use and similar driving data.
No "Big Brother"
More important to many, is what it doesn't collect. Progressive has gotten some significant consumer pushback on the "Big Brother" nature of the device. Most importantly, there is no identity data collected, so they do not know who is driving the car at any time. No GPS data is collected, so they don't know where the vehicle is driven or how fast, just when and how far.
Progressive has extensive information about what data is collected, where it is stored and how it is used in its Privacy Statement. In simple terms, they only personalize data relative to the account and the Snapshot device, they store it on their secure servers, they never sell the data and they are subject to all Federal and State laws relative to insurance and privacy of information, so the Snapshot data is as safe as the rest of your personal insurance information.
There is no downside to taking the Snapshot for a Test Drive. With no fees and protection against any rise in rates, it is well worth a try. Progressive has continued their innovative use of technology to offer the most aggressive and comprehensive insurance quotes to the individual. If you use the device, your insurance rates are very likely going to go down, up to 30%, which for multi vehicle households can add up to some significant savings on an annual basis.