Perhaps the future of auto insurance is finally upon us. Progressive announced yesterday that it has begun a national advertising program for its Snapshot Discount, a Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) program that offers drivers the chance to lower their car insurance rates based on real-time analysis of their driving habits through the device designed to read and report a driver's habits back to the insurer. While this technology has been available for some time, Progressive claims to be the first insurer to bring it to the masses.

The Snapshot device, which plugs into the onboard diagnostic port (OBD-II) found near the steering wheel of most cars built after 1996, houses an array of telematics and mobile technologies that automatically share their driving patterns with Progressive.

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