Progressive Snapshot Review

Progressive Snapshot Review

Progressive offers a solid discount to good drivers, but bad drivers could see their rates go up.

Progressive Snapshot

Progressive Snapshot is a usage-based car insurance program that tracks your driving via plug-in device or mobile app and rewards safe behavior with discounts. You can score a meaningful discount with Snapshot, but bad driving increases rates for 20% of drivers.

Our review of the device and the app version of Progressive Snapshot can help you decide if this auto insurance program is a good idea for you. Read on to learn more.

Good for
  • Drivers who don't want to commit to continuous monitoring
  • Drivers who want to choose between a mobile app or a device
Bad for
  • Drivers who must brake frequently or drive late at night
  • Those who regularly drive more than 10 miles per day
  • Drivers who want to use their phone hands-free while driving

What is the Snapshot program from Progressive?

Progressive Snapshot is a free usage-based insurance program that monitors and rewards safe driving. Unlike other usage-based programs, users get to pick from one of two Snapshot driving trackers — either a mobile app or a tracking device plugged into the OBD port of the car — to share their driving data with Progressive and receive a discount on their auto insurance.

Progressive Snapshot is not available in North Carolina and California, and the participation discount is not available in Hawaii, Alaska and New York.

To encourage policyholders to join the program, Progressive offers users a discount just for participating. After driving performance is monitored for a time — how long depends on the state you live in and which version of the program you use — you receive a Progressive Snapshot score. Your Progressive Snapshot discount amount corresponds to this grade, and the discount lasts for however long you cotinue to renew your insurance policy.

The average participation discount is $47 and the average performance discount is $145, though how much you save with Progressive Snapshot depends on your state and your performance.

If you drive very poorly, Progressive Snapshot can raise your insurance rates. Progressive imposes a surcharge for risky behavior on about 20% of Snapshot drivers.

Other insurance companies pledge that their program will not raise your rates, but Progressive Snapshot does not come with this guarantee. Given this risk, we recommend that drivers consider another usage-based program if they cannot avoid the driving behaviors Progressive deems high-risk.

We also do not recommend the program to New York drivers. Not only does the participation discount not apply in New York, but drivers who use the device-based version must undergo monitoring every 36 months to retain a performance discount.

How does Progressive Snapshot work?

Because a mobile app follows an individual driver rather than a car, Progressive customers who use the app-based version of Snapshot must ensure that all drivers listed on their policy participate. The app can usually tell which driver is operating the car on a given trip, but if it makes a mistake, you can go back and correct the error afterwards in the app.

By contrast, because the device follows a car rather than a driver, Progressive policyholders who opt for the device-based version of Snapshot do not need to enroll all drivers, or even all cars. If you later decide you want to have the Snapshot device monitor a different car, you can remove it from one car and install it in the other.

Despite these slight differences between the app and device versions of Snapshot, both operate by the same essential steps:

  • Step one: Join the program online, over the phone or via your insurance agent.
  • Step two: Download the Snapshot mobile app or install the plug-in device into your car's OBD port after it arrives from Progressive in the mail.
  • Step three: Collect your participation discount. If you have the mobile app, you'll get this discount, provided that you're a new customer and register within 45 days. If you have the device, you will either receive your discount if you're a new customer and register within 45 days or after the device collects 30 days worth of driving data; it depends on which state you live in.
  • Step four: Drive. Review your driving results in the Snapshot mobile app or, if you are using the plug-in device, you can review them on Progressive.com or the main Progressive mobile app.
  • Step five: Enjoy your savings. After the monitoring period ends, you will receive a driving score and a corresponding discount. This performance discount replaces your participation discount. Your score will remain the same each time you renew, though the discount may change if Progressive revises the Snapshot program with your state's insurance department.
  • Step six: Mail the device back to Progressive if you used the plug-in version, or delete the app if you used the mobile app version.

The device-based version may be a better fit for policyholders who have multiple cars and multiple drivers with very different driving habits.

For instance, let's say you're a married couple and each of you has your own car. You work normal hours, but your spouse works the night shift and cannot avoid driving late.

You can install the plug-in device just on your car and Progressive will still give you discounts on your auto insurance, with no penalties for your spouse's late driving.

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What does Snapshot from Progressive track?

Progressive Snapshot measures your performance and awards your discount based on the following behaviors:

  • Hard brakes and rapid acceleration. Progressive Snapshot tracks your speed and uses it to determine if you've braked or accelerated too quickly. The device version of Progressive Snapshot makes a beeping sound when you've braked too hard — a feature some drivers find helpful and some find irritating.
  • Driving between midnight and 4 a.m. on weekends. Progressive Snapshot considers these hours the most high-risk driving time and penalizes drivers for being on the road during them.
  • Overall mileage. The more time you spend on the road, the more statistically likely you are to get into an accident, so Progressive tracks your mileage and uses it to calculate your discount.

Additionally, the mobile app version of the program tracks your phone usage while in the car — including any hands-free calls you might make. If you find it difficult to stay phone-free on the road, Progressive Snapshot may not be right for you.

Progressive Snapshot can track you, since your location data is transmitted either via the GPS tracker that comes as part of the device or via the mobile app on your phone. Additionally, Progressive clearly states in its terms and conditions that it will share personally identifiable information with third parties for its research, marketing, underwriting and legal purposes.

If you use the mobile app version, this means that Progressive Snapshot monitors your movements even when you're not in your car. The app can usually tell if you're using an alternate form of transportation (such as a bicycle). Even if it makes a mistake, you can go back and correct it later. You can also pause monitoring for a maximum, which may be a good idea if you're traveling or otherwise breaking your driving routine.

However, even this pause feature comes with a catch. Progressive knows that certain drivers may try to "cheat" or "hack" the Snapshot app, so it keeps track of how frequently you pause the app. If you pause it too often, Progressive will require you to use the plug-in device instead.

But even if you move to the plug-in device, you'll encounter similar restrictions. While you can unplug your Progressive Snapshot device, Progressive will know about it. Repeated unplugging during your initial monitoring period means Progressive will not have enough data to set a performance discount, and it could also cause the company to take away your participation discount. If another policy period elapses and Progressive still does not have enough data, you will be kicked off the program and could be charged higher rates when you renew.

Don't try to cheat Progressive Snapshot. If you don't like the idea of constant monitoring, take advantage of Progressive's other auto insurance discounts — including its safe driver discount — to get your rates down.

How long does the Progressive Snapshot program last?

You have to keep the Progressive Snapshot device in your car for however long it takes to gather enough driving data to determine a performance discount. That typically ranges from 75 days to a six-month policy term.

However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Progressive is temporarily reducing the amount of time drivers must undergo monitoring to just 30 days.

If you are content with your score after this time, Progressive will apply the discount you've earned right away; you won't have to wait until your policy is up for renewal to enjoy your savings. This abbreviated review period will last until July.

Additionally, once this policy term is complete and your discount has been determined, Progressive stops monitoring your driving. At this point, you can delete the app or mail back the device. The discount you've earned will continue to apply.

This limited monitoring distinguishes Progressive from other usage-based programs. Some programs — such as Allstate's Drivewise — require drivers to undergo continuous monitoring and repeatedly recalculate their discount.

If you think you can earn a higher discount than what Progressive awards you at the end of monitoring, you can complete the program again. In some states, you'll need to switch from the mobile device to the plug-in device if you want to do the monitoring for a second time. In other states, you can continue with the mobile app.

Snapshot is also available on a trial basis — known as Snapshot Road Test — to drivers who do not hold an auto insurance policy with Progressive. The Snapshot Road Test program is 30 days long and allows non-policyholders to see what kind of discount they would earn from Progressive. However, make sure you're comfortable with the information the mobile app version Snapshot collects about you before signing up. Road Test is only available in the mobile app version and not via plug-in device.

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Should you use Progressive Snapshot?

You should use Progressive Snapshot only if you're willing to take the risk that your rates could go up. The program offers some great features — it allows the user to decide whether they're monitored via app or device, and it limits monitoring to roughly one policy period — but those features likely aren't worth it if your premiums increase.

Additionally, the Progressive Snapshot discount, while solid, is not the largest offered by a major national insurer. Other programs advertise a bigger discount and don't factor phone usage into your discount, so they may be a better option for some drivers.

Program name
Maximum discount
Review period length
Can premiums go up?
Phone usage impacts discount?
Progressive Snapshot$37 average sign-up discount, $145 average final discountFirst policy periodYesYes, if using mobile app
Allstate DrivewiseNo maximum; initial sign-up discount, followed by performance discountFirst 50 trips, then every six monthsDiscount may increase or decrease depending on performanceNo
Liberty Mutual RightTrack30%90 daysNoNo
Geico DriveEasy25%First policy periodYesYes
Nationwide SmartRide40%Four to six monthsNoNo
State Farm Drive Safe & Save30%, 50% for some customersEach policy renewal periodDiscount may increase or decrease depending on driving performanceYes
USAA SafePilot20%Each policy renewal periodDiscount may increase or decrease based on performanceYes

† Description of policies for Drivewise is for app-based program, as this is the most common version.

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You should consider using Progressive Snapshot if:

  • You want one of the cars on your policy monitored, but not all of them. Because you can select the device-based version, you decide what car you want Progressive Snapshot to track.
  • You want to give a usage-based program a try before signing up. The Snapshot Road Test allows you to see what your rates would be like with Progressive Snapshot.
  • You appreciate real-time feedback on your driving. The beeping noise that the device emits when you brake too hard could help some drivers build safer habits on the road.

You should not consider using Progressive Snapshot if:

  • You are not confident you could earn the discount. Other programs guarantee that your rates will not go up; Progressive does not. Bear this in mind before adding Snapshot to your policy.
  • You don't like the idea of sharing location data with Progressive and its third-party partners. Usage-based programs are not a good idea for anyone who is squeamish about sharing data, and Progressive Snapshot is no exception.
  • You regularly drive a good deal. Progressive Snapshot rewards drivers who keep their mileage relatively low. If you drive longer and farther than average, consider another program that does not include mileage in its discount calculations.

Does Progressive Snapshot save you money?

Progressive Snapshot saves most drivers money. According to Progressive, the average sign-up discount is $47 and the average discount at the end of the program is $145. However, two in 10 drivers will see their rates go up due to bad driving. If you're not confident in your ability to drive safely and avoid an increase, consider another telematics program.

How does Progressive Snapshot handle hard braking?

Progressive Snapshot factors hard braking into your driving score and into your discount. While hard braking is just one of several factors used to assess your performance, some reviewers complain that the app is too sensitive and counts regular braking as hard braking.

Where do I plug in and install my Snapshot device?

Your Snapshot device plugs into the OBD port of your car, which is usually located below the steering wheel. Progressive has a helpful web tool that tells you where your OBD port is if you enter your car's make, model and year.

What should I do if Snapshot has problems or isn't working?

If you encounter problems while using or installing Snapshot, call the dedicated Snapshot phone number at (877) 329-7283.

Nancy is a Technical Writer at ValuePenguin, focusing primarily on auto insurance. Prior to joining the ValuePenguin team, she worked as a public relations professional, helping clients develop and publish op-eds in outlets such as CNN, U.S. News and USA Today. She holds a master's degree in English from Georgetown University.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.