It's curious how quickly an idea either takes off or dies the death. What was casually called pay-as-you-go has now become a highly competitive market. If you ever wanted proof of just how competitive, you only have to look at the court roster where you find Progressive suing State Farm and The Hartford for alleged infringement of patents. You may well throw up your hands in despair. We are used to seeing technology companies accuse each other of copying the other's patent for an on/off switch, but patents also cover any business ideas that no one has registered using those words before. So Progressive claims it registered the idea of using technology to monitor how far and how well people drive and to offer discounts to all the safest drivers. Now we have to wait for a judge to say how obvious this business plan is and that it should never have been registered as a patent. Until then, attorneys are collecting their usual high fees to fight it out to the death.
So what exactly is Progressive offering that it feels must be defended so aggressively? In most states, this insurer was the first to offer a black box for monitoring driving behaviour. The most recent version is called Snapshot. What makes this so interesting is you can run it for a one month's trial while holding your existing policy. This gives you a direct comparison and tells you exactly how much you will save if you make the switch. If you decide not to switch, there's no comeback. Progressive simply recovers the hardware link and looks for business elsewhere.
Why is usage-based insurance the best chance for inexpensive car insurance? The answer comes in two different ways. The first relates to the number of miles you drive and the time of day you drive them. The statistics show low milage drivers have the smallest numbers of accidents, particularly if you drive at off-peak times. Second we come to the way you drive. Gentle acceleration, modest braking, no violent swerving all indicate a safe driver. That earns you cheap car insurance. All the insurer has ever wanted is proof you are safe. Now technology supplies that information you can earn maximum discounts.