Progressive Snapshot Discount

When you get a quote on car insurance, you may be asked for details such as your real name, date of birth, the zip code you live in and your favorite ice cream flavor. OK, maybe not the last one, but the others are pretty much the standard questions, regardless of the insurance company. I often get asked “Why do you need my real name” or “what does my zip code have to do with auto insurance?”. While there is a lot of details needed to properly answer these questions, the simple explanation is that insurance companies use statistics as a way to determine your rate. So, if you live in a densely populated area with a lot of traffic accidents, the insurance company is going to adjust your rate to account for this risk (i.e. higher price!). It works on the flip side too, if you live in an area with fewer accidents then you will more than likely get a better rate, especially if it’s a competitive marketplace. The other two questions, your real name and date of birth are used for various rating factors, including age and and credit score.

The usage of credit as a rating factor has been an ongoing practice for years, except in those states where it is not allowed. You might ask yourself, how does having bad credit have anything to do with my driving habits? The answer: nothing! However, statistics show people with lower credit scores are more likely to file a claim than those with good credit. This is simply a numbers game and one that is difficult to rationalize unless you’re an insurance company. In theory, this would be the same as charging people who liked chocolate ice cream over vanilla, because statistics showed they were poorer drivers.

What we’re seeing here is a what happens when insurance companies use correlating data as a way to determine rates. It’s been done this way for years and it’s not going away anytime soon. I often explain this to my clients and I feel a bit sad that it works this way. I was 16 once, I had to pay those exorbitant rates until I started getting in my mid twenties. This is clearly not “fair” but what other alternatives are there?

Enter Snapshot® from Progressive. Essentially, Snapshot® is a device you plug into your car’s diagnostic port and it looks at certain driving habits that often lead to accidents. It calculates how many miles you drive, the time of day you drive, and how many hard stops you make each day. If you average well in those three areas, you get a discount added to your insurance, up to 30 percent! What’s so neat about this discount is it allows people to participate in their rate instead of being at the mercy of their peer’s driving habits. You might have a 17 year old driver paying $900 for six months of coverage on a car that is used only to drive to school and back each day. With Snapshot®, he could save up to $270 just by plugging in the device. After the six months, he will the discount permanently and send back the device. There is no way that it can raise your rate and of course, it’s a completely voluntary discount.

So, if you don’t like paying for bad drivers because they are the same age, gender, and live in the same zip code as yourself, you might want to checkout Snapshot®. It’s also great for those weekend only vehicles because they will more than likely get the full 30 percent discount. For more information, talk to your local independent agent.