Thursday, July 18, 2013

Product Review: Progressive "Snapshot" Device and Discount Program.

A few months ago I decided to try the Progressive Snapshot discount program because I've put very few miles on my car during the past two or three years, I haven't had an auto-to-auto accident in Florida (7 years) and I have never had a speeding ticket (12 years.) [Knock on Wood!] I figured that I was a prime candidate for an excellent driver!

HAH! If you think the Progressive Snapshot Device can truly distinguish a "good" driver, than you (and I) are both wrong.

Let's talk about what it is. It's a tiny wireless computer device that plugs into your car's computer (in the panel by your driver seat) and reports your speeds (estimated based on mileage), hard brakes (when you stop faster than 7 MPH/Second) and the times of day that you drive as either a low, medium or high risk. Then after SIX months of daily reports, (something they don't tell you when you sign up) Progressive can choose to offer you a discount based on these reports.

I did a little research on other Snapshot product reviews and found that many people had similarly frustrating and negative results as me. DailyFinance reviewed the device accurately, noting Progressive's false advertising of the device as rewarding "good" drivers for the truth, that it only rewards "low risk" drivers, good luck if you drive during the rush hours!

Then there's the class action lawsuit that the device drains car batteries, which I know for absolute certain that it has been doing so to mine, over the past three months, as I had a new battery put in just before this trial and the car has barely been starting up recently, which is probably going to cost me anywhere from another $80-120 dollars to replace.

This blogger also reported the same experience that Tom and I had with it: that the "Hard Brakes" seemed a bit overzealous. There were times when I slowed down from 40MPH to 0 with over a hundred feet, and a fifteen second brake, and it was considered too fast. There was another time, in our first week of device reporting, where Tom got four hard brakes (in a row of four seconds) for going over a speed bump at 5MPH. The truth is, this calculation of "hard braking" is faulty. It even encourages users to run yellow lights!

Then there was the hugely irritating e-mail after only ONE month of the six month program that suggested that I had a 0% projected discount from the program...but I still have to leave it in for the remaining months so that it can drain my car battery. Even after three months now, my report says projected discount at 0%. To say that both Tom and I have been driving carefully is an understatement. Which is why even after a week of consecutive days of no hard brakes, and only a dozen or so thus far, I am annoyed.

Review Summary: This product is falsely advertised by Progressive. The device does not monitor or reward actual good driving. It depletes your car battery. It encourages aggressive driving to customers who avoid hard brakes in order to see a higher return on their discount percentage. It assesses risk regardless of past driving history. It does not monitor evasive or defensive driving as a result of other poor drivers, regardless of past driving history.

Advice: Honestly, I'm so disappointed in the false advertising, poor product and analysis, and program length at the cost of my battery that after more than five years of being a client of Progressive, I'm considering switching to a different insurance at the end of this policy length. Don't be fooled by Flo, friends.