Frequently asked questions

How does it work?

Q. What is SmartDriver?
A. SmartDriver is a free smartphone app that uses your phone’s sensors to detect how safely you are driving. The app was designed to help you manage risky driving behaviours so that you can drive more smoothly, earn a driver score and potentially save on your motor insurance.

Q. What information does SmartDriver collect and how is it used?
A. The SmartDriver app collects basic driving information such as your acceleration, braking, cornering, trip frequency and duration, which helps the app provide you with feedback on your driving. The data TOWER collects on your driving is used to help us build an understanding of how safely you drive. Depending on your SmartDriver score you could earn savings on your premium.

Q. Who created SmartDriver?
A. TOWER has worked with a US based telematics specialist company called DriveFactor. DriveFactor is a trusted worldwide source for driving data and analytics, providing a flexible platform for Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) and accompanying programs. For more information visit DriveFactor's website

Q. What does SmartDriver cost?
A. Like many good things in life it’s free. There is no cost to download or use the app.
Q. What platforms does SmartDriver support?
A. SmartDriver supports iPhone 4 and above (iOS 6 and above) and Android smartphones 2.3.6 and above. Currently the app is not available on Blackberry or Windows phones. The app is not designed to work on Android tablets or iPads.

How do I use SmartDriver?

Q. How do I get started?

A. You can download the SmartDriver app from the App Store (iPhones) or Google Play (Android phones). Once downloaded, open your SmartDriver app, push the Start button while your vehicle is still stationary and go for a drive. Don’t be distracted by your phone while you’re driving. Once you have completed your trip, push the Stop button. Alternatively you can enable ‘auto trip capture’ in the settings menu. This will automatically detect when you’re moving, and log trips for you. The app will then provide you with feedback on your driving performance and any achievements you've earned.

Q. Where do I position my phone when driving?
A. For the best results and to ensure we give you a score which most accurately reflects your driving, we recommend you use an in-car cradle or place the phone in a stable position on your dashboard.

Q. Is it safe to use SmartDriver while driving?
A. SmartDriver is designed so that you don’t need to use the app while driving. You can either manually press the ‘Start’ and ‘Stop’ buttons before and after your trip, or enable ‘auto trip capture’ to do this automatically. We recommend you leave your phone alone and fully concentrate on the road. 

Q. Can I still use my phone while the SmartDriver app is running?
A. SmartDriver will run in the background while you are using other apps or while making and receiving calls. The app will also continue to work even if your phone goes into screen lock mode. Some phones may shut down if too many apps are open at the same time. Again, we recommend you leave your phone alone and fully concentrate on the road.

Q. Do I need a mobile phone signal / GPS signal?
A. You don't need a mobile phone signal to use the app but you need to have the GPS function of your smartphone on.

Q. How does the app use my phone sensors to calculate my route?
A. The app uses a series of sophisticated GPS validation and scoring routines and every GPS point is evaluated based on a number of factors with weightings that are applied to specific criteria. You will need to enable SmartDriver to use your current location in order for the app to record your trips.

Q. Do I need mobile data to use the SmartDriver app?
A. No. If you do not have a mobile data plan, your data will be held securely and uploaded as soon as you are back within WiFi signal. If you do have mobile data but wish to not use it for SmartDriver, you can enable ‘WiFi only uploads’ in the settings menu. Trips will still be logged using GPS, but won’t be uploaded until you have a WiFi signal.

Q. Do I need to create an account to use the app?
A. You don’t need to create an account to see your trip feedback or earn achievements. But you will need to create an account to receive your SmartDriver score and potential savings on your motor premium, review your trip history or participate on the leaderboards. Also, if you decide to take out a TOWER motor insurance policy, you will need to have an account so TOWER can verify your SmartDriver score. An account only takes a minute to create while you’re in the app – just look for ‘Account’ in the main menu.

Q. How does SmartDriver impact my phone’s battery life?
A. SmartDriver will use approximately the same amount of battery life as map or navigation apps. If you are planning a long journey, make sure you have a full battery before you start and consider using an in car charger.

Q. How much of my data plan will SmartDriver use? 
A. The SmartDriver app collects data in its simplest form to avoid data overuse. For each trip you log, the data transfer is approximately equal to downloading three songs or a text only email. On average, the app will transmit approximately 0.5MB of data per average trip. If you have mobile data but wish to not use it for SmartDriver, you can enable ‘WiFi only uploads’ in the settings menu. Trips will still be logged using GPS, but won’t be uploaded until you have a WiFi signal.

Q: Can I keep using the app after I get a driver score?
A. Yes. Simply select 'Start again’ from the main menu. You will be able to complete another 150km and claim any discount you earn. If you do try again and you don’t increase your discount, any previous discount you’ve earned can still be claimed, you simply choose the highest SmartDriver discount earned to claim.
Q: My score was low and didn’t qualify for savings. Can I complete another 150km?
A. Yes. Simply select 'Start again’ from the main menu. You will be able to complete another 150km and claim any increased discount you earn. If you do try again, you simply choose the highest SmartDriver discount earned to claim.
Q: What is the minimum speed threshold?
A. At some point during each trip you need to reach a minimum speed of 40km per hour. If you don’t, that particular trip won’t contribute to your 150km.

Data and privacy 

Q. What happens to my data?
A. We understand that data privacy is important. Your data is stored on secure cloud-based servers. The data we collect will adhere to the high standards that TOWER applies to all customer data. We will not rent or sell your personal information to third parties. We will not use the data in relation to any claims. For further information, please refer to our Privacy statement

Q. What will you do with my data?
A. We take your data and use algorithms derived from experience with millions of kilometres of driving data to determine your SmartDriver score, provide feedback and award points and achievements. Aggregated data will also be used for our research purposes.

Q. Can the police request the data in case of accidents or investigations?
A. If TOWER is legally required to share information with authorities, we will abide by our obligations under the law.

Q. Can I get a copy of my data? 
A. We will provide access to your data that is readily available. Please note that we may ask you to pay a reasonable fee if your request is time consuming or costly.

Q. Could the data potentially be used against me in the event of a claim?
A. No. We won’t use any data from the app when assessing claims. In addition we won’t remove your SmartDriver savings if you do have to make a claim.

Q. Who owns the data collected by the SmartDriver app?
A. The data collected by the app is owned by TOWER.

SmartDriver points and driver score

Q. How are points awarded?
A. Points are awarded for each trip based on how you drive. Factors considered include the distance you drive and how smooth your braking and acceleration was. You’ll also receive points for any achievements you earned on the trip.

Q. How do I earn achievements?
A. There are lots of achievements which you can earn. Some of the ways you can earn achievements are by displaying safe driving skills, driving at specific times, driving certain distances and by sharing your SmartDriver app experiences via social media. You can earn more than one achievement per trip. If you earn an achievement it will show on your trip feedback and achievement screen.
The achievements screen is where you can see what you've been awarded so far. It also gives you details of the achievements you haven’t earned yet and how you can earn them. You can share your achievements via social media.

Q. How many trips do I have to take to receive my SmartDriver score?
A. You need to complete at least three trips with a combined distance of at least 150km. Each must cover a distance of between 2km and 75km. 
Multiple trips are required as they provide a better view of your driving performance than just one long trip of 150km.
Q. What does my SmartDriver score mean?
A. You will earn a score of 0-10 (10 being the highest) once you have logged a total of 150km of eligible trips. The app will show you how your score compares to the average score calculated from all SmartDriver users. If you get a good score, you could qualify for savings of up to 20% on your premium.

Q. Can I keep using the app after I get a driver score?
A. Yes. You can keep recording trips, receiving feedback, points and achievements and can continue competing on the weekly leaderboard.
Q. My score was low and didn’t qualify for savings. Can I complete another 150km?
A. Yes. Simply select 'Start again’ from the main menu. You will be able to complete another 150km and claim any increased discount you earn. If you do try again, you simply choose the highest SmartDriver discount earned to claim.

Q. What is the difference between trip points, leaderboard points and my driver score?
A. You’ll receive points for each trip you take with SmartDriver. They provide a way for you to compare each trip. Note, you’ll earn more points when you receive achievement badges. The points you’ll see on your leaderboard challenges represent the average score of the trips you’ve logged during the challenge time period. This score is out of 100 and gives you an indication of what your driver score will be. The safer you drive the better you will fare in challenges against your friends.
The driver score you receive after completing 150km with the app is your final driver score and shows how safe your driving with the app has been. This score is out of 10, and the higher the score you achieve, the higher the saving you could earn on a TOWER motor policy – up to 20%.


Q. What are the leaderboards?

A. It’s more fun when there’s competition. SmartDriver has a number of features that enable you to see how your driving compares. Test yourself against a friend or family member using the head to head challenges, create or join a group leaderboard to test yourself against a bigger group of people, or check out where you sit on the ‘all New Zealand’ leaderboard. Leaderboards use an average of your trip scores. The leaderboards reset every calendar month so you get another chance to get to the top. You must create an account to access the leaderboard.

Q. Is there a limit to how many leaderboards I can create?
A. Yes. You can create a maximum of 10 head to head challenges. In addition to this, you can create up to 10 private and 10 public group leaderboards.

Q. What time period are leaderboards set to?
A. You can select the time period for head to head challenges, either 24 hours, one week or 20 days. All group leaderboards are automatically set to renew each calendar month (New Zealand time).

Q. Are there any limits on leaderboard names?
A. Yes. When you create a group leaderboard you will be prompted to give it a name. These names must not include any offensive words or abbreviations and are limited to 30 characters.

Q. I’ve been invited to a leaderboard but I do not wish to participate.
A. If you receive an invite for a head to head or group leaderboard and don’t wish to participate, you don’t have to. Simply ignore the invitation and it will delete from your wall after seven days.

Q. I’m participating in multiple leaderboards but my score is different in each one
A. Leaderboards use your average score from trips taken since being a member of a leaderboard, so there can be some difference between leaderboards. Sometimes it can also take a few minutes for the system to process the leaderboard acceptance, so this could be why you see discrepancies between scores.

SmartDriver and your insurance

Q. How to I qualify for SmartDriver savings? 

A. When you receive your driver score, you will see any discount you’ve earned. You could qualify for savings of up to 20%. See our Eligibility criteria for more information. 

Q. How long is my SmartDriver score valid for? 
A. Once you earn your SmartDriver score, it is valid for 12 months. If you do not take out a TOWER motor insurance policy or apply it to an existing policy with TOWER within this timeframe, you can complete another 150km to earn a new score.

Q. I recently received a quote. Can I still use the SmartDriver app to earn a discount? 
A. Yes. A SmartDriver discount can be applied to any valid quote for an eligible motor policy.

Q. Can existing customers receive SmartDriver savings? 
A. Yes. Existing customers who receive a SmartDriver score that qualifies for savings can have it applied to their policy. If an annual premium has been paid a refund may be given.
Q. Will my premium go up if I get a low score?
A. TOWER will not increase your quoted price or current premium as a result of your driver score.

Q. When do the savings apply from? 
A. Your savings apply from the date that you take out your new policy with TOWER, not the date you earned the driver score in the app. If you're an existing customer, your savings will start from when you phone us to apply it to your policy.
Q. My partner and I share a car. We've both earned SmartDriver savings. Can we apply both of them to our policy? 
A. SmartDriver savings are only available for the main driver of your vehicle who is noted on your policy. Other drivers of the vehicle are welcome to use SmartDriver for driving feedback, to earn achievements and participate in the leaderboards, however their score and subsequent savings (if applicable) will not be applied to the policy premium.
Q. I also drive another car in my household frequently. Can I use the app when I am driving either car? 
A. You can use the app in any car for the purpose of earning your driver score. 
Q. Can I apply my SmartDriver savings when I add a second motor policy? 
A. Your driver score and savings can be applied against multiple policies but only if you are the main driver noted on each policy. 

Q. Do I need to earn another driver score to keep my savings at renewal? 
A. On renewal, your SmartDriver savings will still apply. TOWER reserves the right to adjust discounts, require you to requalify for a discount or to cancel the programme. 
Q. How do SmartDriver savings affect my existing package discount? 
A. SmartDriver savings will only be applied to your motor policy and is in addition to any existing discounts.


Q. Why can’t I see my trip on a map in the SmartDriver app?
A. You will need to have an internet connection, either WiFi or mobile data, to see your trip on a map. 
Q. Why is the app displaying the wrong km driven? 

A. SmartDriver uses your phone's GPS to record your trips. The GPS on your phone is not always accurate. Sometimes, depending upon your particular phone or other factors such as the weather, the phone may take a while to find GPS (meaning km may not be recorded). It may also record small amounts of additional km that you haven't done as the GPS refines your location. 

Q. I forgot to press stop at the end of my trip. What should I do? 
A. Press the 'Stop' button as soon as you remember. It shouldn’t significantly impact your driver score. 
Q. I haven’t completed my 150km and I am changing my phone. Can I move my trips to my new phone? 
A. Your data is linked with your account, not your phone. Simply download the app to your new phone and login to your existing account. All your information should now be available.

Q. My phone doesn’t have enough memory to download the app.
A. Although the app is relatively small (around 10mb) you may need to remove unwanted apps and data in order to free up enough space to download it. 
Q. How do I close the app if it's crashed or frozen? (iPhone) 
A. Come out of the app by double clicking the 'Home button' and a separate view will appear on your phone. On this menu you need to navigate to SmartDriver and swipe up close' the app. Now you can navigate back to the menu and open SmartDriver as normal. 
Q. How do I close the app if it’s crashed or frozen? (Android) 
A. Come out of the app, find the 'Applications manager options'. Select the SmartDriver app, there will be an option to 'Force close' select this and restart the app. Do not select the 'Clear Data Options' as this will remove your driving data.

Q. On the map, why does it appear that I wasn’t always following the road?
A. The app relies on the quality of the GPS signal to show your trip on the map. The quality can vary between handset types, location and the time of day.
Q. Why is GPS not working on my Android?
A. Certain handsets may encounter GPS issues with all location based apps including SmartDriver. We recommend researching the recommended actions specific to your handset and Android version for improving your GPS experience.
Q. Why is SmartDriver accessing my location data in the background? (iPhone)
A. On iOS 8 devices, you may receive prompts telling you that SmartDriver is accessing your location data in the background. These prompts are part of the update to iOS 8 and do not indicate a change in the way SmartDriver uses your location settings. If you would prefer, you can access your location privacy settings and change SmartDriver to ‘while in use’. This means the app will only access your location when SmartDriver is open and you’re actively using it.