Do you mind "big brother" driving with you if it can save you money?

Don't Waste Your Money

(WXYZ) - How would you like a 20% discount on your car insurance? The tougher question is, to get it, are you willing to let your insurance company monitor your driving?

You may have seen Progressive's TV ads promising big discounts for safe driving. Progressive now offers a program called "Snapshot," that can lower your rate up to 30 percent... but there's one catch. You have to let Progressive install a gadget to monitor your driving.

"I liked it because it made you aware of certain patterns of your driving," says Snapshot user Kathleen Hulefeld.

Hulefeld signed up for Snapshot with her Ford. She's naturally a defensive driver, but says it still took a while to get used to having big brother watching her.

"At first I was worried about it, my husband was not, but I was concerned about them tracking," says Hulefeld.

Progressive assures us there is no tracking, because there's no GPS in the unit, so they don't know where you are.

So what is it like having your driving monitored? Progressive sent the Don't Waste Your Money Team" a Snapshot to try out in a news car for two weeks. It installed easily into our Escape's diagnostic port. We learned quickly any sort of hard stop triggers a warning beep. And every stop hard stop is recorded, and posted on Progressive's website for you to see when you log in.

Progressive Spokesman Richard Hutchinson says don't worry though... your rates will not go up if you drive too aggressively.

He says your rates will go down if snapshot finds you, drive the speed limit, avoid hard stops and don't drive late at night, when most accidents happen.

"The majority of drivers get a discount and the discount averages 10 percent," says Hutchinson.

Some critics, in online reviews, worry it could lead to drivers running red lights to avoid a hard stop. Progressive says that has not been a problem.

For drivers like Hulefeld, a savings of close to 100 dollars a year was worth the privacy tradeoff.

"Since we started the program a year ago, we received the discount, and on renewal received the discount again," says Hulefeld.

As for the Don't Waste Your Money Team's car... it earned no discount in two weeks, due to hard braking.

Bottom line, these programs are strictly optional, at least for now and the near future. So if you don't want anyone monitoring any aspect of your driving, all you have to do is say no thanks, so don't waste your money.

Print this article Back to Top