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      07-24-2012, 08:59 AM   #1
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Snapshot and my 335

A couple months ago, I finally came to the end of my 6-month evaluation period with my Snapshot device from Progressive and thought I'd share some of the results with the E90Post.com community.

Before committing to this somewhat controversial method of receiving an insurance discount, I read up as much as I can from other online forums and decided that based on my driving habits, it would be only a minor inconvenience (less so with the additional work-arounds I used). Also, I could use as much savings as I can get while finishing up my PhD

Here are some of those comments:
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6 months ago, user reviews on the Snapshot program was relatively limited and scorned on other car enthusiast forums. Since there's no sort of information on here on it, I thought it would be worthwhile to inform people who may have or may be considering it in the future.

For those with better things to do than read this post, here's what it boils down to: If you drive often (especially during at-risk hours), rack up a lot of miles and are always aggressive with braking, this won't work for you. On the other hand, if your daily commute is short and you'd like to see a potential reduction in your insurance rate while giving up some of your driving freedom for 6 months, go for it, but there is a catch. At the end of 6 months, I ended up getting the maximum discount (30%) that amounted to a net decrease of $10 over 6 months (the math doesn't add up, yeah - read on for details). As far as I'm concerned, it's just a data collection ploi
  • My usual daily commute is 8 miles. On nicer days I opt for my road bike. On longer hauls, and those that include driving during the "unsafe" hours as defined by Progressive, I disconnected the device from the OBD and drove. No issues.
  • Here's some of the experiences I've had with the device from day 1.
  • The device is a small knob-like thing that plugs into the OBD port. It looks like a $5 toy, and interferes with the driver side interior aesthetic (for those conscious about aesthetic).
  • First days driving - The device uses cell phone antennas? to transmit data to Progressive. What kind of data? As far as I know, it can get anything that the OBD can give while driving. They claim not to monitor speed (relative to the speed limit), but only accelerations, decelerations and driving time/ durations. Since acceleration is a derivative of velocity, the device obviously has to collect data on how fast you're driving. Additionally, the speeds do get recorded in their database which they graph up for you to review online, and the device triangulation can give them relatively accurate positioning on roads being driven.
  • If you decelerate more than 7mph/s, the device makes a "nintendo game over" sound which means that you have failed your mission for the day. I joke... from what I've read, if you do more than 4 of these per day, you basically won't end up with a discount and may as well give the device back. I probably did 3-4 hard brakes per week which I thought was okay, but my first month discount was not as great as I hoped with the relatively little driving I did (50-100 miles per week). Note: It is VERY easy to trigger the device on braking beyond 7mph/s, especially at traffic light stops.
  • I however have not consciously limited my accelerations (at all), and put the pedal all the way down on open road whenever I feel like it.
  • Driving times - apparently the time of day at which you drive is important. 12-4a is a no-no (high risk), medium risk (4-9a, 3-6p, 9p-12a) and all other times (9a-3p, 6p-9p) are considered low risk. The data transmitted from the device records individual trip information (distance/duration), which is also cumulatively compiled in the online display. You can review both individual and cumulative trip data.
  • Below is a typical summary that you can review online at the end of each day.


  • 1-month evaluation - At the end of the 1st month, you get a preliminary discount which is applied to the balance of the duration of your policy. At this point, if you forfeit the device, you forfeit the initial discount. My initial discount was 15%, which brought my premium down to $60/mo.
  • After the first month, I thought I'd call up Progressive to send back the device only to find out that I would have to forfeit the initial discount. Since I was anticipating driving even less over the summer, in the end I thought I'd continue on with it.
  • The next 5 months - there were a few instances where I had to do overnight drives, a week or two where I had to rack up some serious miles of driving, and then a couple CCA events that I went to. On all occasions, I disconnected the device before starting the car up and kept it in my door pocket until I resumed my low-mileage driving routine. A couple times, the device was disconnected for up to a week. Note: Progressive says that this is a no-no, and action would be taken against the policyholder if the device was found to be removed based on convenience. Never happened to me though, not once. However, on days I do not drive my car, it seems like the device still gets pinged since there is a daily positive status update on the online data display that records when the device was last contacted. Bottom line - do this at your own risk.
  • After 6 months, I racked up just over 3000 miles on my 335. After fine tuning my habits, I ended up getting the maximum 30% discount at the end of 6 months, which was apparently applied to my subsequent policy contract. With the inconvenience of having this thing, I don't mind that Progressive has the information that they have, simply because there's relatively little for them to go on based on aggressive driving and mileage alone.
  • Why didn't I get a net 30% decrease in my premium, although it was confirmed in their correspondence? (1) The $50 initial discount when first signing up doesn't apply at renewal (+50); (2) A "premium increase" for the state of TX amounted to a $90 increase in my premium (+90). According to Progressive, had I not done the Snapshot I would be paying $140 more than I currently am. I don't want to believe this, unless some other non-snapshot Progressive customer can confirm that this is the case. If it is indeed true, then I am happy to be paying less in the next 6 months.

Conclusion: The discount they advertise is effectively a discount based on expected future premium increases, which amount to be quite significant in my case based on where I live (TX). At the end of the day, I'm still shopping around - which I'd be doing anyway had I not signed up for Snapshot.

If you're contemplating enrolling in the program, I hope this gives you some of the insight you need before committing. Feel free to chime in if you've had personal experiences, or if you'd like to find out anything more specific.
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Last edited by Doctor///M; 07-24-2012 at 01:38 PM.
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      07-24-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S3RI35 View Post
On longer hauls, and those that include driving during the "unsafe" hours as defined by Progressive, I disconnected the device from the OBD and drove. No issues.
So it sounds like you can scam the device?
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      07-24-2012, 10:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by upstatedoc View Post
So it sounds like you can scam the device?
well, not so sure about scamming. They do say that they can record when it is disconnected. How true is this? I'm not so sure, since it didn't seem to interfere with the discount, nor did I receive any correspondence from them about it.
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      07-24-2012, 10:49 AM   #4
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How would it record if it was disconnected?
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      07-24-2012, 11:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbillytalent View Post
How would it record if it was disconnected?
It doesn't record anything while disconnected. Progressive just doesn't want it disconnected at all for 6 months.
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      07-24-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
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I also did the snapshot program with my 335i. They lowered my rate by 30% as well.

I disconnected the device a few times, even for an extended period while it was at the dealership, and Progressive said it was not an issue.
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      07-24-2012, 12:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Corso View Post
I also did the snapshot program with my 335i. They lowered my rate by 30% as well.

I disconnected the device a few times, even for an extended period while it was at the dealership, and Progressive said it was not an issue.
Great to hear! Thanks for the backup.
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      07-24-2012, 11:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbillytalent View Post
How would it record if it was disconnected?
I assume it would be able to tell it was disconnected based on mileage.
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      07-25-2012, 05:57 PM   #9
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      01-04-2013, 08:57 AM   #10
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Just got my snapshot and thank you for this thorough review. If it wasn't for this I would have probably not done it. My premiums on the other hand have just gone up consistentely with no tickets or accidents. $156, $152, $165, then $186... And there is no GREAT explanation why.
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      01-04-2013, 09:01 AM   #11
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scam
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      01-04-2013, 09:25 AM   #12
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They just get you to drive slowly and carefully for 6 months which reduces their exposure to paying out on a claim and they give you $10 off? Best $10 they ever spent!
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      01-04-2013, 09:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamimbj View Post
Just got my snapshot and thank you for this thorough review. If it wasn't for this I would have probably not done it. My premiums on the other hand have just gone up consistentely with no tickets or accidents. $156, $152, $165, then $186... And there is no GREAT explanation why.

Ummmm, because Miami?

I don't see how the insurance industry can even make money own there. Damage to your car is like a fact of daily life there.
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      01-04-2013, 10:54 AM   #14
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally Posted by S3RI35 View Post
They claim not to monitor speed (relative to the speed limit)
They clearly do monitor speed, so not a good program for high speed cruisers or even anyone who sprints past 80!
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      01-04-2013, 11:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamimbj
Just got my snapshot and thank you for this thorough review. If it wasn't for this I would have probably not done it. My premiums on the other hand have just gone up consistentely with no tickets or accidents. $156, $152, $165, then $186... And there is no GREAT explanation why.
You're welcome and whaaa? That's a waste given the time invested. We're you tracking your discount amount while you were doing it? I called them up and demanded an explanation... You should do the same.
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      01-04-2013, 11:04 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasVS
They just get you to drive slowly and carefully for 6 months which reduces their exposure to paying out on a claim and they give you $10 off? Best $10 they ever spent!
True dat.
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      01-04-2013, 01:17 PM   #17
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Interesting info OP, thanks for sharing.
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      01-04-2013, 01:27 PM   #18
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I have GEICO,am I screwed?
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      01-04-2013, 03:29 PM   #19
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I have GEICO,am I screwed?
Haha, not sure. I had them before switching, and they're still quoting me over $150 more over Progressive per 6 month period.
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      01-04-2013, 04:42 PM   #20
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How was your New Years man? Yea color me paranoid, but that snapshot stuff gives me the creeps. I mean, it knows when you're driving spirited etc.
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      01-04-2013, 07:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Knight_335 View Post
How was your New Years man? Yea color me paranoid, but that snapshot stuff gives me the creeps. I mean, it knows when you're driving spirited etc.
LOL exactly. and I like to drive spirtidly (not a word I know) once in a while
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      01-04-2013, 07:10 PM   #22
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To heck with Flo's idea of "big brother" snapshot, go with Gecko or Liberty! It's too much fun to drive spirited (and fast, of course).
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