Progressive insurer has aggressive driver surcharge
For years, insurance companies have said their voluntary driver-monitoring programs rewarded good driving but didn’t penalize bad motoring skills.
Now, Progressive says it will impose a surcharge on aggressive drivers using its Snapshot device.
The change is effective only in Missouri and limited to new participants, spokeswoman Amanda Lupica said.
It’s likely to be rolled out to additional states, she said.
In its recently released annual shareholders report, the company revealed plans for its Snapshot program, which, in the industry, is commonly called telematics, pay-as-you-drive or usage-based insurance.
A device installed in the car is one way the information is gathered for the insurer.
“In recent years, we have employed a ‘discount only’ model for usage-based rating,” the Ohio-based company wrote in its annual report.
“In our latest model, introduced in one state in December 2014, we are affording more customers discounts for their good driving behavior, while offsetting with surcharges for a small segment of drivers.”
In recently updated Snapshot terms and conditions available on the company’s website, Progressive prominently mentions the change.
“Some customers who drive more aggressively will receive a surcharge at renewal,” it said. “In these states, customers can opt out of the program, and we won’t consider their Snapshot experience at all.”
Usage-based insurance programs historically have given discounts for people who drive few miles, who don’t drive during the wee hours of the night, and who have few incidents where they apply their brakes hard.
Another tweak to Snapshot is giving users an initial discount as soon as they sign up, instead of having them wait to have their driving assessed.
To offset the cost of that initial discount, Progressive will charge higher rates for the worst drivers in the program.
Eight of 10 Snapshot users get discounts, with the rest getting either no discount or a “small” surcharge, said Dave Pratt, Progressive’s general manager of usage-based insurance.
What is small?
“No more than 10 percent” of the rate they had been paying, he said.
In 2014, Progressive generated more than $2.6 billion in premiums with customers who are part of its Snapshot program. Progressive’s net premiums in 2014 were $18.7 billion.
Allstate doesn’t have a surcharge for its Drivewise program now and isn’t planning one, spokesman Justin Herndon said.
State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save continues to be a discount program, spokeswoman Missy Dundov said.
Car insurance costs less for female, married drivers, study finds
Women are likely to pay less for car insurance, according to a report commissioned by Insurance Quotes.com
A 20-year-old man pays 22 percent more than a 20-year-old woman for the same coverage, says InsuranceQuotes.com, an insurance shopping website.
Also, a married 20-year-old pays 21 percent less than a single 20-year-old for the same policy.
Car insurance costs also drop every year until age 60, with the sharpest drop — 41 percent — between ages 20 and 25.
The penalty for being a senior citizen isn’t as steep as it is for being a younger driver.
People who are age 75 pay 17 percent more than a 60-year-old. And that 75-year-old still pays 43 percent less than a 20-year-old.
InsuranceQuotes.com is a unit of Bankrate.com. It commissioned Quadrant Information Services to measure the affects of gender, age and marital status on car insurance premiums from the carriers accounting for more than 60 percent of the market in each state and in Washington, D.C.
Assumptions include that the driver is employed, drives a 2012 sedan, and has a bachelor’s degree, clean driving record, excellent credit score and no lapse in coverage.