What Happens If You Unplug Progressive Snapshot? Answered

Short Answer: If you unplug the Progressive Snapshot device during the data collection period for a short time, you will be able to plug it back in. If you leave it unplugged for too long, however, it will not transmit enough driving data for you to receive the maximum discount. If you unplug the device more than 45 days into the program and don’t plug it back in, you will likely be subject to a surcharge. However, if you use the Snapshot mobile app (not the plug-in device), you can pause the app temporarily and resume service when needed. For more information about unplugging Progressive Snapshot, see below.

What Happens If You Unplug a Progressive Snapshot Device?

The Progressive Snapshot device plugs into your car’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) port, and the company recommends leaving it plugged in for the full data collection period.

However, there may be a time during the data collection period when you need or want to unplug the device. A mechanic or emissions technician may need to unplug it to do a diagnostic check, or you may just want to pause data collection temporarily (or end it altogether). The device may also become unplugged accidentally. We used the Progressive website and spoke with customer service to find out what you can do when you need to unplug your Snapshot device, either temporarily or permanently.

Unplugging Temporarily

When you unplug the Snapshot device for a brief period of time — for an emissions check, a quick trip, etc. — Progressive will be alerted to the gap in data transmission, and will likely send you an email notifying you that it is no longer receiving data on your driving habits.[1] If you do not plug it back in after being contacted by Progressive, you will automatically be removed from the Snapshot program. If there are frequent gaps in data transmission due to the device being unplugged, you risk losing your potential discount. Customer service representatives were not able to provide an exact number of times that the company will allow the device to be unplugged before they terminate the program.[2]

Note: If you use the Snapshot mobile app instead of the plug-in device, you can pause the app temporarily and resume service if needed with no immediate penalties.[1] Progressive recommends doing this during international travel, for example.

Opting Out Early

During the six-month data collection period, if you would like to opt out of the program altogether, you should contact Progressive before unplugging the device. A representative will let you know when to unplug it and how to return the device to Progressive.[3]

If you simply unplug the device early and don’t plug it back in, Progressive will calculate your insurance rate based on the data that was transmitted up to that point. This may help or hurt your current rate, depending on the driving habits the device captured. Keep in mind, you may have to pay a surcharge for unplugging or deleting the app more than 45 days into the program. If you fail to return the device, you’ll also be charged a $50 fee.[4]

If you are participating in the 30-day Snapshot trial, you can unplug the device or decline a policy with Progressive at any time with no penalty.[5]

How Progressive Snapshot Works

Progressive Snapshot is a program the insurance company uses to record your driving data and base your insurance rate on your driving habits.

How to Sign Up

If you are an existing Progressive customer, you can enroll in Snapshot by calling customer service at (877) 776-4266. If you are a new Progressive customer, you can opt to enroll in Snapshot when you purchase a policy online. There is also a 30-day trial option for those considering a switch to Progressive from another insurance carrier.[5]

Once enrolled, you’ll have the option to use the Progressive Snapshot mobile app or a plug-in device. Both the mobile app and the plug-in device are capable of collecting and sending data on your driving habits to Progressive.

Plug-In Device

If you choose the plug-in device, Progressive will mail it to you and you will need to install it in your vehicle’s OBD port. Progressive’s website provides Snapshot installation instructions for your car’s make and model. The data collection period is typically six months. After that time, Progressive will send you a mailing label to return the device.

Mobile App

If you decide to use the Snapshot mobile app, you’ll need to download it and register to use it. You do not have to open the app every time you drive; the app tracks movement at a certain speed and distance to determine when you are driving. The mobile app will send data on your driving habits to Progressive. After the collection period — which is typically six months, but can be extended if you need to pause it for a long period of time– the app will stop tracking. At this point, you can delete the app.[6]

Data Collection

Progressive Snapshot collects data on your driving habits in order to reward you for safe driving. The information is electronically transmitted to Progressive. When you enroll, you can set up an online account, which will allow you to view your collected data. The plug-in device and mobile app collect the following information:[6]

  • Hard braking and/or rapid acceleration
  • How often you drive
  • What time of day you drive (It is specifically tracking to see if you typically drive between midnight and 4 a.m.)
  • How many miles you drive (It is specifically tracking to see if you drive more than 50 miles per day.)
  • Location data (for research purposes)

At the end of the collection period, Progressive will analyze the data to determine if you are a safe driver. As a result, the cost of your insurance policy may decrease (though in some cases — if you have particularly dangerous driving habits — it may increase). There is also a discount for simply signing up, and the company claims the Snapshot program saves the average driver $145 per year.[7]

For more about insurance savings, see our related research on what happens if you go over your policy’s mileage limit.