Root Car Insurance: Is It Legit?

Root Car Insurance is a modern insurance company leveraging technology to provide personalized auto insurance rates. By analyzing your driving habits, Root aims to offer fair and affordable coverage tailored to your specific needs. Experience a new way to secure reliable car insurance and potentially save on premiums.

What Is Root Insurance?

Root Insurance is a newer car insurance company that started in 2015. It’s different from traditional car insurance companies because it mainly insures good drivers. The cost of insurance with Root Insurance depends mostly on your driving history, and they don’t heavily rely on things like your age, gender, or credit score.

What Is Root Insurance?

Traditional car insurance companies use a lot of different factors to figure out how much you should pay for insurance. Some of these factors include how you’ve driven in the past and things like your age and credit score, but Root Insurance mainly looks at your driving history. After you take a test drive with them, they give you a quote for your car insurance. One big advantage of using Root Insurance is that they don’t judge you based on things you can’t control, like your age, gender, or credit score.

What Does Root Insurance Coverage?

Root Insurance, despite its non-traditional approach, provides coverage types similar to what you would typically find at traditional car insurance companies.

What Does Root Insurance Coverage?

Liability Car Insurance

Property damage and bodily injury liability auto insurance cover the costs of damage and injuries caused to others in an auto accident where you are found at fault. This type of insurance also handles expenses related to legal judgments, court settlements, and attorney fees.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive insurance provides protection against theft and damage caused by vandalism, fires, floods, hail, falling objects, or collisions with animals. While states don’t typically mandate it, if you have a lease or loan on your vehicle, your lender or leasing company will likely require comprehensive coverage in addition to collision coverage.

Collision Insurance

Collision insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your car when you collide with an object like a guardrail or pole, regardless of who is at fault. In case your vehicle is declared a total loss, collision coverage pays the actual cash value of your car, minus the deductible. It’s important to note that both collision and comprehensive coverage are optional.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance

Uninsured motorist coverage takes care of medical expenses when you or your passengers are injured in an accident caused by a driver who either doesn’t have insurance or lacks sufficient coverage to cover your medical bills. This coverage is mandatory in 22 states and typically aligns with your liability limits.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal injury protection (PIP) covers not only medical expenses but also lost wages and essential services like house cleaning if you’re unable to perform them. This type of coverage is mandatory in 15 states.

Medical Payments Insurance (MedPay)

Medical payments insurance, often referred to as MedPay, handles medical expenses for injuries sustained by you and your passengers in a car accident, without regard to fault. Its necessity varies by state, being mandatory in some and optional in others.

Additional Root Insurance Programs

Root Insurance provides various discounts and additional benefits, such as:

  • Roadside assistance: All Root insurance policies include roadside assistance without any extra charges. This sets Root apart from other insurers that typically charge a monthly fee or per-use cost for this service. With Root, drivers have coverage for up to three incidents per six-month policy term, with each incident covered up to $100.
  • Rental car reimbursement coverage: Root Insurance offers rental car reimbursement coverage, which pays for the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is undergoing repairs after an accident. This reimbursement is usually provided at a fixed daily rate.
  • SR-22: Root Insurance offers SR-22 certificates when required, particularly following a DUI charge. An SR-22 is a document that the insurance company submits to the state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV) to confirm that you have the minimum required insurance coverage according to your state’s regulations.

How Root Car Insurance Works

Most insurance companies heavily rely on your demographic info, credit history, and driving record to determine your rates. Root Insurance also considers these factors but places less emphasis on them. Instead, a significant portion of your quote is based on your driving behavior during a two- to three-week Test Drive. Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up for a Test Drive: You can start the process on Root’s website or by downloading the app and opting in for a quote.
  • Allow tracking of your driving behavior: To provide a personalized quote, you’ll need to grant the app access to your phone’s GPS. This allows Root to monitor your driving habits, including hard braking, turn speed, mileage, routes taken, and the time of day you drive. Root claims its app can distinguish if you’re a passenger using machine learning, so you won’t be penalized for another driver’s behavior when you’re not the one driving.
  • Receive a quote or a decline: After the monitoring period, Root will either offer you a quote or decline to provide coverage. Root is transparent that not all drivers receive a quote, as the company exclusively covers “good” drivers. By focusing on safe drivers, Root can offer lower premiums to its customers.

How to get a free quote for Root car insurance

Starting with Root, an app-based insurance company, is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to begin your test drive and get an insurance quote:

  • Download the App: Begin by downloading the Root Insurance app. If you’re in California, you can visit the Root website and select the “Download the app now” option to receive a download link on your phone.
  • App Setup: After installation, log in to the app and grant permission for location, motion, and notifications. You’ll need to scan your driver’s license and provide any necessary details.
  • Take the Test Drive: The Root app will monitor your driving for a period ranging from one to four weeks, typically lasting two to three weeks.
  • Monitor Your Score: Keep an eye on your driving performance using the app’s Driver Scorecard. It assesses your braking, turning, and maneuvering skills and offers suggestions for improving your driving.
  • Check Your Score: Once you’ve completed enough trips, Root will rate your driving on a scale from 1 to 10. If it’s not as high as you’d like, you still have time during your test drive to enhance your score.
  • Receive Your Custom Rate: If your driving score meets Root’s criteria, the app will calculate an auto insurance quote tailored to you and recommend your coverage options.

Root Insurance Reviews and Ratings

Root Insurance reviews and ratings present a mixed picture. Many customers report obtaining lower insurance rates with Root, but they also note difficulties in reaching customer service for claims, as most interactions are app-based, limiting live-person contact.

On the positive side, the Root Insurance app receives solid ratings on both Apple and Android devices. It garners a 4.47/5-star rating on Apple and a 3.4/5-star rating on Android.

Root Insurance Reviews and Ratings

However, Root Insurance has received more customer complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) than other insurers of similar size. It’s worth noting that experiences and ratings may vary depending on location.

MarketWatch rates Root Insurance positively, with an 8.0/10.0 rating, particularly praising availability and cost. Additionally, ratings for Root Insurance align with feedback from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners regarding telematics-based insurance.

According to The Zebra, Root Insurance maintains an excellent financial strength rating, indicating stability according to AM Best. While Root is a legitimate auto insurance company, not all drivers will qualify for coverage. If you have an imperfect driving record, you may find more competitive car insurance rates from other providers.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Root Insurance offers lower auto insurance rates for safe drivers, emphasizing driving behavior in its pricing.
  • Applying for a quote with Root is quick and paperless, done easily through their app or website.
  • You can secure temporary coverage promptly when you request a quote, even before completing the required driving test.
  • All Root Insurance auto policies come with complimentary roadside assistance, covering services like towing, jump starts, and lockout assistance, up to $100 per incident, with a limit of three incidents every six months.
  • Root Insurance prioritizes a seamless mobile and online experience, allowing policyholders to handle various tasks, including policy management, payments, accessing insurance cards, and filing claims. It received recognition as one of Investopedia’s top digital insurance providers in 2023, particularly in the auto insurance category.

Cons 

  • Root Insurance requires all applicants, regardless of their previous driving history, to undergo a three-week driving test using their mobile app. Your test drive results can impact your rates and even determine if your application is accepted.
  • The company has received a higher number of customer complaints over the past three years compared to what’s typically expected for an insurer of its size, as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This may be a drawback of their online-only approach.
  • Root Insurance primarily offers auto insurance and has started offering homeowners and renters insurance. However, it doesn’t provide coverage for business or life insurance and does not cover other vehicles like boats, RVs, or snowmobiles.
  • When it comes to payment methods, Root Insurance only accepts credit cards and Apple Pay. Options like check or ACH bank transfers are not available, and other mobile wallets aside from Apple Pay cannot be used.
  • Root Insurance is not available for purchase in several states, including Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.
  • The company does not have in-person branches or agents for customer support. If you require assistance with your policy or need to file a claim, your options are limited to phone, email, or the mobile app

How to Save Money on Root Car Insurance

Root Insurance has a unique pricing model that doesn’t rely heavily on traditional discounts. However, you can still save on your Root Insurance policy with these tips:

  • Maintain a Good Driving Record: Keeping a clean driving history, free from accidents and tickets, helps you maintain your coverage with Root Insurance and prevents rate increases.
  • Avoid Distractions While Driving: Root offers a Focused Driving discount of up to 10% if you refrain from using your phone while driving, promoting safe driving habits.
  • Utilize Advanced Safety Features in Tesla Vehicles: Root now offers discounts to Tesla drivers who use automated steering features, as mentioned in a Root Insurance news release.
  • Compare Quotes: Periodically compare your Root Insurance rates with quotes from other insurance providers. This helps ensure you’re getting the best deal. Request updated quotes if your circumstances change.
  • Watch for Rate Changes: If you receive traffic violations or are involved in an accident with Root Insurance, be aware that your rates may increase when your policy renews, and in some cases, your policy may not be renewed.
  • Bundle Policies: Root Insurance has expanded its offerings to include other insurance types. Consider bundling multiple policies together to potentially save on premiums.

Compare Root with other insurers

Root vs. Lemonade

Lemonade could be a good choice if you want car insurance from a company that uses data from devices in your car to figure out your insurance cost. They also care about the environment and plant trees to make up for the pollution caused by their customers’ cars. You can even pick which charities your extra insurance money goes to. Lemonade also makes their own home insurance policies and got an award from Bankrate for being a top digital home insurance company in 2023. But, right now, you can only get Lemonade car insurance if you live in Illinois, Ohio, or Tennessee.

Root vs. Allstate

Allstate is a big insurance company that has a program called Drivewise. It gives rewards and discounts based on how you drive using real-time data. You don’t have to be an Allstate customer to use it. Allstate also sells different types of insurance like home, auto, and life insurance. This can be good if you want all your insurance from one place. But, keep in mind that Allstate’s prices are usually higher than what most people pay for insurance in the country.

Root vs. Clearcover

Clearcover is also a tech-savvy car insurance company. You can get quotes and file claims online. You can do everything related to your policy and payments through their mobile app. You can also get help from their customer service agents anytime you need it. Clearcover’s home insurance is provided by a company called Hippo Insurance, similar to how Root does it. But, unlike Root, Clearcover is available in fewer states.

Methodology


In our review of Root Insurance, we looked at several important aspects, including:

  • Types of insurance policies they offer.
  • Where they provide coverage (which states).
  • How they give insurance quotes.
  • The process to apply for their insurance.
  • Special features and extra options in their policies.
  • Ways you can save money with discounts.
  • What customer service options they provide.
  • Features on their mobile app and website.

We also checked what experts from places like AM Best, J.D. Power, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) had to say. We studied three years’ worth of NAIC complaint data for Root Insurance, including all the types of insurance they offer.

FAQs

  • How do I file a claim with Root Insurance?

You can make a car insurance claim with Root through their mobile app or website. To start a new claim, you can call 1-866-980-9431. For updates on existing claims, you can reach them at 1-866-489-1985. If you have home insurance with Root, you can also file a claim using their mobile app or by calling 1-844-208-0665.

  • Does Root practice corporate sustainability?

Root Insurance is committed to being a responsible company. They put their customers first by using telematics to set insurance rates. They also do a lot of charity work. They’ve given more than $300,000 to cancer research. They support the Wendell Scott Foundation, which helps young people who are at risk. Every year, Root makes a plan to see how they can help the environment and promote a cleaner world.

  • Why am I not eligible for Root?

Root Insurance aims to provide lower rates to most drivers, but it gives preference to safe drivers over riskier ones. The company tries to avoid insuring drivers who pose the highest risk while giving priority to those who drive safely.

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