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Privacy vs. car insurance savings in FOX19 test

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

On a perfect autumn day full of blue skies and sunshine at Kentucky Speedway, FOX19 put an insurance monitoring device to the test. Fast acceleration. Slamming on the breaks. A beep, beep, beep from Snapshot.

It's Cleveland-based Progressive Insurance's version of the driving monitor that plugs into your car's data port, often located under the steering wheel. (This is the same place your mechanic hooks-up his computer to diagnose what's wrong with your car.)

The executive in charge of Snapshot, Dave Pratt, told FOX19 that so far 1.6 million Progressive customers have tried it. And they saved an average of $150 off their premium.

Hard braking is a major concern for Progressive because it suggests you were driving too fast, following another car too closely, or both. That's why you hear the device beep at you.

"And obviously a few hard brakes is fine because sometimes it's important to avoid an accident," said Pratt. "But we've found people who are safe drivers tend not to have very many hard braking events. And so we can give them a big discount on their insurance."

Progressive also monitors what time of day you drive and how far you drive over a six-month period. State Farm does, too, and also monitors how fast you drive, according to local agent Pete Gross. Anything over 80 m.p.h. will count against you.

But Gross acknowledges a lot of his clients in the Tri-State are wary about this technology.

"And they're not sure because of the fear of the Big Brother type of mentality of who's looking over my shoulder," he said, saying this is especially an issue for his clients after all of the NSA spying stories.

State Farm would not release how many of its customers have tried the driving monitor, which in its case can be through OnStar, Ford Sync, or its third-party vendor.

To find out whether FOX19's Matthew Nordin was able to save any money after enduring the six-month test, click on the video above.