Last week I signed up both my WRX and Jen's xD for Progressive's Snapshot program. It took just a few days for our devices to arrive and we ended up connecting them late Saturday afternoon this past weekend.
No idea what I'm talking about? Super simple version: It is a small device that connects to your car's diagnostic port (any vehicle after 1996 is required to have one). It tracks 3 driving characteristics: time of driving, total miles, and "hard brakes." It does not contain GPS of any kind and has no idea where you are. It also does not track any information related to exceeding the speed limit (so they're not going to turn around and say "it looks like you speed a lot and that's unsafe"). That's it. So plug this little guy in and you can end up saving up to 30% on your premium. And worst case, your premium will not increase because of this device. So what is there to lose?
Let's take a look at those 3 factors though... time of driving. Basically any time between 12am and 4am is a really high risk time. So if you end up driving often within that time frame, that's not good. We are typically never out at that time of night. I would say maybe once a month or less - and even then, we're probably on our way home at 12am.
The total miles driven. This one is kind of obvious - if you drive less, your risk is less. We both have very short commutes. Hers is less than 4 miles round trip and mine is less than 6 miles round trip to work. Outside of that, it's about 12 miles to the mall or anywhere else we would go. To put our driving in perspective, her car is just barely 2 yrs old and just very recently passed 15k miles. That's not a lot.
The 3rd factor is the more interesting one. They track the number of "hard brakes" you make. And thankfully they do provide a definition of this... it is a decrease in speed of 7mph per second or greater. That doesn't sound too bad - but turns out it's kind of hard to gauge. It is really the one factor I'm concerned with.
Even with me being fairly cautious for the last 3 days, I've apparently had 6 hard braking instances in just 38 miles. I've been trying to pay attention to my braking and all, but apparently not enough - or my guess of deceleration is a bit off. Believe it or not, the whole 7mph per second thing is pretty hard to estimate. 🙂
The question becomes, how much of a factor is that? And do they take other factors into account when looking at it? According to their Twitter account, they do to some degree. So that's good. I look at it this way, if you drive a lot of highway miles commuting, you're probably going to have a much lower "hard brakes per 100 miles" number. But I drive much more in the city than the highway, so with more stop and go traffic, it is very likely my number might end up higher than I would like it to. But again, I'm hoping some of that data is taken into account.
We're still a month away from knowing whether or not we'll save anything from this - but I'm expecting we will. Neither of us drive a whole lot and it is almost exclusively during the day. So even if we don't get that full 30%, even 10% or 20% would be nice. Our 6 month premium is about $900 for both cars and both drivers with full coverage. A 30% savings of that would knock off almost $300 and could save us $45 per month! That's pretty significant.
In the end, there's no real downside to trying this program out. It can't really get much worse... and I'm honestly expecting SOME level of discount, regardless of the number of hard braking instances. Just have to wait a while to see what that will be.