Is Discovery Drive worth it?

Man driving Volvo

I recently switched our car and household content insurance to Discovery Insure with the included Discovery Drive. I was sceptic since I don’t like the idea of having to do things in return for discounts. I’m lazy like that. The thing with incentive schemes is to make sure that you will earn points without having to adjust your behaviour.

First off, let’s start with how the costs compare to my previous insurer. I drive a Volvo C30 and my wife a Volvo S60. Our previous insurer charged us R1 782 per month for the insurance and an additional R280 for our household content insurance. This is a total cost of R2 062 per month.

In comparison, the car insurance from Discovery was R1 474, with the household content insurance an additional R243. Keep in mind that to qualify for the maximum vitality drive benefit, you need to take out household content insurance of at least R250 000, which the R243 covers. That is a total insurance cost of R1 717.

You also need to pay R75 a month for discovery drive or in my case R150 for the two cars. This brings the total cost to R1 867. In comparison to my previous insurer, that is a saving of about R200. I figured whether we get any money back from Discovery Drive or not, we still win.

Discovery Drive

To get money back from Discovery Drive, you need to roll in the Driver Quotient (DQ) points. This translates to how closely you can mimic your grandmothers finely honed driving technique. However, I found that earning DQ points is rather easy.

You get paid 50% of the lesser between your DQ points and your fuel spend (at BP or Shell). If you drive 1 500 km per month, you will spend about R1 500 per month on fuel (not everyone drives a Polo BlueMotion). If your DQ points for the month is 1200, it will be the deciding factor since it is less than your fuel spend. Your cashback will therefore be R600. So, in theory, every 100 DQ points, earns you R50 per month.

How do you earn points?

First up, you get 150 DQ points for taking your car for the yearly inspection at Tiger Wheel and Tyre (TWT). Barring any obvious issues like missing thread on your tires, you should get the full 150 points.

Then you can complete a few tests online to earn an additional 350 points. The online driving course earns you 150 of those points. It involves 6 multiple choice tests of 10 questions, after watching a series of 5-minute videos. You need to score 80% for all tests, which should take the average person less than an hour. You also complete an online driver assessment of about 30 questions (which you can’t fail) for another 50 points. That’s another 10 minutes of your time.

The last test is the eye-gym that involves a few hand-eye-coordination tests. You can complete the course in twenty minutes, but you need to do at least 50 minutes of testing. This will give you 50 points. You can buy an advanced course for R200, which will give you another 100 points. These 100 points will earn you R600 during the year, so in theory, it is worth it. I haven’t done it yet but will soon. It will take me an additional 100 minutes to complete.

So, you can earn a total of 500 points for spending about 2.5 hours doing tests and one visit to TWT per year. This will earn you R3 000 for the year. That is roughly R1 000 per hour if you want to determine if it is worth your effort.

Driving score

So up to now, you have earned 500 points without driving. Well unless you count the trip to TWT. At TWT they install your tracker, which monitors your driving performance and communicates it to Discovery via your mobile device. This tracker has a gyro that monitors movement in all directions and is mounted on your windscreen. It will, therefore, pick up any harsh braking, acceleration or cornering.

Your phone then picks up whether you are speeding with its Global Positioning System (GPS), the time you are driving and whether you are using your phone. Lastly, Discovery then adds your trip distances to give you a total driving distance. All these factors are combined to give you a maximum of 850 DQ points.

What score can you achieve?

Getting a decent driving score is not that hard. You can accelerate as you would usually. Getting flagged for cornering is also quite lenient. You get 10 km/h leeway on the speed limit, which is decent as well. The biggest driving issue is braking, where you get flagged easily. This will require some driving adjustment. However, it only makes up 100 points of your score, if you want to decide screw it. Without adjusting your regular driving behaviour you should get a driving score of about 550.

You are penalised the most for night-time driving. Every minute you drive between 23:00 and 04:30 is deducted from your DQ points for 3 months. I average about 705 DQ points per month and my wife about 735 (this does not settle the debate as to who are better drivers). This is mainly because we drive long distances every month.

You can then set a personal driving goal for another 50 points per month. Pick acceleration, it is the easiest to achieve. Lastly, you can earn 200 points for remaining claim free. You reach the maximum points after 1 year and 4 months.

Show me the money

At this stage, we both have 250 points for the online tests, 150 for the yearly inspections, 50 points for reaching our goals and 705 and 735 respectively for driving well. That leaves us with 1155 and 1185 DQ points. My fuel spend at BP will total about 1500 for the month and my wife’s spend about 1300.

This means that the determining factor for our pay-outs will be the DQ points. Half of the DQ points are R577 and R592, totalling R1 169. When compared to the original payment of R1 867, the actual cost of our insurance is only R698. After completing the advanced eye-test and staying claim free, the DQ points will increase by another 300 each. This will reduce the net payment even further.

Another nice feature is what Discovery calls an Excess Funder Account (EFA) account. If you chose to convert your cashback to EFA points, you get double the amount of points. In other words, we can be earning R2 334 a month in EFA points. These can be used to fund car tires at TWT or the excess on a claim we hopefully never need.

We replace our tires every second year and a new set on both cars will run about R11 000. However, at this rate, the EFA account will rack up R56 000 in a two-year cycle. This can be even more once we’ve been on the insurance for a while. We can empty this account every three years for half the value, also known as the original cash value. The alternative is paying only one car’s cash-back into an EFA while the other car’s cashback is paid out cash.

Additional benefits

As a nice little bonus, you get a drive reward if you managed to complete 100 km worth of 5-star trips per week. This will give you between 100 and 200 reward points per month. These can be exchanged for shopping vouchers at a ratio of 1:1. A few Woolies vouchers per month will cover most of our clothing needs. You also get 25% off your Uber trips, 50% off your Gautrain travelling costs and 20% off your tires at TWT (based on your drive status).

In summary, I’m a lazy person but if you offer me a payback of R1 000 per hour you have successfully incentivised me. With a little more effort from our side, we can rather consistently fund most of our insurance costs.

Has it made us better drivers? I think so. I am definitely driving slower, sometimes to the frustration of other drivers. The gradual braking takes some getting used to, but it should reduce bake-pad costs, which is nice. I think Discovery achieved their goal of reducing accidents involving their clients. Let’s see how it works out in the long run.

This really is a unique product and can be used effectively to reduce your monthly payment. Compared to our previous insurance, we will be paying R1 514 less. Shut up and take my money.

Be safe out there,

Hendrik

Quote of the week

"Fun is like life insurance; the older you get, the more it costs." – Kin Hubbard Click To Tweet

End note

Thank you for reading to the end. Apparently, the average person spends 8 seconds on a page, so you are special. If you have any suggestions, feel free to drop me a mail on the contact page. If I missed anything or you have questions, don’t hesitate to comment below. I might even notice it and respond.

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Comments

    1. Post
      Author
  1. Ryan Chetty

    Hi Hendrik,

    I appreciate the level of detail in your articles – thanks!

    The Discovery Drive incentive scheme sounds enticing. Putting on an insurance broker hat, I could effortlessly use someone’s (very detailed) driving information and habits against them when a claim is logged in the event of a vehicle accident (worse, if a life insurance claim is logged in the event of a death associated with the accident).

    It would be worthy if Discovery can provide some public information regarding their insurance payouts against vehicle accidents on subscribers of the Discovery Drive scheme.

  2. Post
    Author
    Hendrik Brand

    Hey Ryan, Thank you for the feedback, I appreciate it.

    This was my main concern when signing up as well. This is the quote from their vitality drive documentation:

    “We will not use information from your DQ-Track when approving claims. The only time we use the data from your DQ-Track in the claims process is to verify the time and location of an accident. This helps us to make sure that no fraudulent claims are approved.”

    But yes, in theory, they could use this data to reject claims. I wonder if there are any examples with other tracking services…

  3. Ryan

    Great, thanks for the clarity! So there is some integrity on the scheme. Perhaps they should get the benefit of the doubt and I will assume only good intentions to improve clients driving behaviour through rewards.

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    Author
  5. Pingback: Financial independence - March 2019 - Tigers on a Golden Leash

  6. Elmien

    Interesting.

    Is there a certain amount of fuel you need to pay for per filling to get the payback:
    R100 each time or R300 or R500, or will you even get your points/ cashback based on only filling up with a R50. (Not that anyone does it or can with the current fuel prices.)

    1. Post
      Author
      Hendrik Brand

      Hey Elmien,

      There is no minimum spend, but your refund is dependent on the total amount you spend.

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