That Tracking Device From Your Car Insurer Is Actually A Good Thing

Progressive snapshot

Photo: Progressive Insurance via flickr

Drivers can now install tracking devices in their vehicles to save hundreds of dollars annually in an insurance program known as “usage-based” or “pay-as-you-go,” reports the Los Angeles Times.Typically placed underneath the steering wheel, the device records a driver’s mileage, daytime driving, hard/extreme braking and speed. After six months, this data could qualify them for a discounted set rate.

But what if you’re among the not-so-safe drivers who consistently slams on the brakes every time you see a car 50 feet ahead of you?

You can still benefit from the alternative program.

Even if you allow your insurance company to track you, and the data portrays a less-than-ideal snapshot of your skills, you still won’t be punished with a higher rate, says Leah Knapp, a Progressive spokesperson.

Approximately 250,000 drivers have tried Progressive’s Snapshot program, according to the insurer, and received a discounted rate between 10 to 15%, an estimated $150 in savings annually.

The system is designed to track the mileage, how much you’re driving and when you drive. But the system doesn’t know if you’re on a highway with a speed limit of 70 mph or a school zone at 35 mph.

“We don’t know where you’re driving to nor do we care,” Knapp says, implying this is a good thing. “The fact is you can still drive fast and be a safe driver. If you’re driving 70 mph, but you stay a decent distance behind the person in front of you, then you won’t be pressing your brakes all the time.”

To qualify, a Progressive customer needs to enrollĀ online and have a car manufactured after 1999. There is no cost for the device.

Following the trend, State Farm is offering a similar program, including one with GPS to offer roadside assistance.

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