Utah Drivers Now Have Access to Progressive Snapshot Discount Program

Snapshot packageAn increasingly visible discount car insurance program from Progressive Insurance has been expanded to Utah, making it the 32nd state market to have access to the usage-based program, which is being introduced nationwide on a state-by-state basis.

The program uses a device installed into a car’s electronic port that records and transmits data about users’ driving habits–including how far they drive, whether they frequently brake hard and at what times of day they primarily drive.

Progressive records these factors in order to assess whether the car’s drivers engage in low-risk habits.

Mileage information is collected because the insurance company’s data have shown that motorists who put in fewer miles behind the wheel file accident claims at a lower rate than higher-mileage drivers. Company data from 2005 showed motorists in the 5,000 annual mileage class filed bodily injury and property damage claims at about half the rate of those in the 25,000 annual mileage class.

The company collects braking data because frequent slamming on the brakes could indicate that drivers engage in riskier driving practices like tailgating.

The time of day the car is usually driven also gets factored in because certain periods of the day tend to have higher accident volumes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 44 percent of the more than 5.5 million reported accidents in 2009 occurred between the hours of noon and 6 p.m.

If the data collected by Progressive show that a car is driven infrequently, with few adverse braking events and at less risky times of day, the policyholder will be eligible for a discount of up to 30 percent.

Progressive policyholders who display average or riskier-than-average habits through participation in the Snapshot program cannot have the price of their policies increased because of it, according to the insurer.

Discounts are initially assessed after the first 30 days, but participants must keep the device installed for six months in order to determine the renewal discount. In addition, the coverage provider may also ask a policyholder to reinstall the device later in order to reevaluate driving habits.

According to the insurer, the device does not collect GPS information, which has been a main concern of privacy advocates about the use of these devices.

Expansion of the Snapshot program reflects a growing trend toward usage-based discounts in the American car insurance market.

The results of a survey recently released by LexisNexis Risk Solutions showed mixed attitudes toward usage-based coverage, but a large proportion of respondents still held a positive view toward them. Out of the nearly 3,500 respondents, more than half believed rates should be determined by actual driving data. Eighty percent believed tailgating should affect rates, and 59 percent felt annual mileage should also have an effect.

A growing group of states is seeing usage-based coverage products being introduced to their markets. The country’s second largest insurer, Allstate, recently launched a similar usage-based, up-to-30-percent-off pilot program in Illinois. The program is known as DriveWise.

In addition to Utah, the following state coverage markets also have access to the Snapshot program:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
About Matthew Morisset
Matthew Morisset is a proud alumnus of the University of Redlands, where he obtained a degree in English Literature. Utilizing his passion for analysis and writing, Matthew looks for important trends in the auto insurance industry and their implications for consumers and the market as a whole.

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