Root car insurance rewards good driving habits with lower auto insurance rates. Instead of basing your car insurance premium on factors such as where you live or your credit score, Root bases your rates primarily on your driving behavior.
Although this may sound good in concept, the Root quote process to determine your rate can take several weeks because you need to submit to a test drive. Plus, Root’s system for continuously monitoring your driving through its mobile app can be seen as an invasion of your privacy.
So is Root car insurance a good choice for good drivers? Let’s explore what Root has to offer.
Root car insurance: Is it worth it?
|Our verdict: Root Insurance is a decent option for drivers who have good driving habits. However, poor customer ratings and the chance that Root’s discounted rates won’t continue after the initial 6-month policy could be reasons to look elsewhere for affordable car insurance.|
What is Root car insurance?
Root car insurance sells itself as the first licensed insurance carrier powered entirely by a mobile phone app. The Columbus, Ohio-based company was founded in 2015 by Alex Timm and Dan Manges, who envisioned creating a different approach to determining car insurance premiums.
Although most of the best car insurance companies set their premium rates based on the same common factors that affect car insurance rates, such as a driver's age, gender, and where they live, Root Insurance bases its rates on how people drive.
Root’s approach to credit scores
Root Insurance believes using credit scores to figure out rates is an antiquated approach that forces drivers with lower credit scores to pay up to $1,500 more in annual premium payments, regardless of whether they are good drivers.
Did you know?The use of credit scores as a factor in car insurance premium rates is done by insurance companies in all but three U.S. states. California, Hawaii, Michigan, and Massachusetts prohibit using credit scores to determine car insurance rates.
Instead, Root bases its car insurance rates primarily on your driving behavior during a test drive. During the quote process, you download the Root app onto your phone, and the app monitors your driving habits over a few weeks to determine your rate for car insurance.
More than 9 million drivers have downloaded the Root app, and the company has collected 15 billion miles of driving data.
|Types of coverage||
|Where you can use it||Mobile app is available on iOS and Android devices|
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST
|Availability||34 U.S. states|
What insurance does Root car insurance offer?
Root Insurance offers all the standard auto insurance coverages that other companies have. Most states require all drivers to at least carry bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Some states require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage.
Root Insurance offers the following types of coverage, including full coverage:
- Bodily injury liability coverage: Pays for medical bills, lost wages, and funeral expenses for other drivers injured if you cause an accident.
- Property damage liability coverage: Pays for repairs to other damaged vehicles if you cause an accident.
- Roadside assistance: All Root car insurance policies include roadside assistance that covers up to three incidents per vehicle within six months and up to $100 per incident. This coverage comes in handy if you need a tow truck, lock your keys in your car, or need a jump start.
- Collision coverage: Pays for damage to your vehicle in an accident with another car or an object such as a fence or telephone pole. If you are still making payments on your car (or leasing it), you may be required to carry collision coverage by the lien holder.
- Comprehensive coverage: Pays for damage to your car by something other than an accident, such as a hail storm, hitting a deer, or car theft. This coverage may also be required if you lease your car or are still paying off an auto loan.
- Rental: Pays for a rental car while your car is at the mechanic getting repaired. This coverage also includes reimbursement for Lyft rideshare while your car is in the shop.
- Uninsured motorist property damage: This coverage pays for damages to your car from an accident involving an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run. It is only offered in a limited number of states.
- Personal injury protection: Pays for medical expenses and lost wages for you and your family members after an accident, regardless of who’s at fault. Several states require drivers to carry this coverage.
- Medical payments: This coverage also pays for medical bills and expenses if you or a member of your family is injured in an accident. There are eight states that require drivers to have this coverage.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury (UM/UIM): If you are injured in an accident with someone who doesn’t have adequate car insurance, this coverage helps pay your medical expenses. UM and UIM coverage is sold either together or separately.
Root auto insurance is available in 34 U.S. states. The company also offers renters insurance in nine states and homeowners insurance in 13 states. Root customers can get discounts on renters or homeowners insurance if they bundle those coverages with a car insurance policy.
Root car insurance: How cheap is it?
Root car insurance may be an affordable option if you are a good driver with barely any blemishes on your driving history, such as speeding tickets or accidents. Driver behavior is the most significant factor Root bases its premiums on.
Before Root calculates your rate for car insurance, it has you complete a test drive period where it can monitor your driving habits over a few weeks. The better your driving habits, the less expensive your car insurance premiums will be.
How to find discounts
Root car insurance offers several discounts that are standard for all policies. The discounts are built into your Root policy, so you get the best rate possible.
Here are the discounts available with Root car insurance:
- Safe driver discount: With many car insurance companies, policyholders can earn a safe driver discount if they complete a defensive driving course. No such course is required for you to get this discount with Root. Instead, Root uses its test drive to evaluate if you have safe driving skills and to see what kind of discount you qualify for.
- Usage-based discount: The Root test drive is similar to how some insurers use tracking devices in a policyholder's vehicle to monitor their driving habits, such as braking patterns, speed, and mileage, to determine if they qualify for a discount. However, Root uses a mobile app that can be downloaded easily to your phone rather than a device installed in your car.
- Bundling discount: Root car insurance policyholders can receive a discount on renters or homeowners insurance by bundling their policies.
- Pay-in-full discount: Root insurance provides a discount for policyholders who pay their policy premium in full rather than monthly.
How to maximize savings
The best way to maximize savings with Root car insurance is to maintain a good driving record. Good drivers can save up to $900 a year on car insurance through Root.
Root doesn’t offer many of the discounts often provided by other auto insurance companies. Instead, it primarily bases its premiums on the results of your test drive.
Before Root provides its rates, you must download the Root app and submit to the test drive. The app uses a telematics tracking system to monitor your braking, speed, turns, miles driven, driving routes, and time of day. The company will collect this data over a few weeks and then use that information to set your premium rate.
All Root applicants must submit to the test drive. After you’ve completed your test drive, Root will quote a final rate for your car insurance premium. The final rate is good for a six-month policy term and may change after.
How to get an insurance quote from Root car insurance
You can get the Root car insurance quote process started online, but you won’t know what your final rate is until you finish the test drive, which could take a couple of weeks.
To start the process, click the “Get a quote” button on the Root website. You’ll then be asked to enter your first and last name.
The system will take you through a series of questions. You will need to provide your:
- Home address
- Marital status
- Phone number
You will also be asked whether you rent or own your home and if you have moved within the past six months.
Root then asks for your driver’s license number and the state your license was issued in.
Once you put in your driver’s license details, the system will pull information on the vehicle that is registered in your name.
You can also indicate the car you want insurance coverage for by entering the vehicle identification number (VIN) manually. With Root, you can put multiple vehicles on one policy.
Root then asks you how you would describe your driving. You can pick three of the nine options available.
After you have gone through the series of questions, you won’t get an immediate quote for your car insurance. Instead, Root invites you to download its mobile app to continue the quote process.
Once you have downloaded the app, you must enroll for a test drive. During the test drive, your driving habits are monitored for a few weeks before Root determines your rate for car insurance coverage.
Root car insurance FAQs
Does Root car insurance always track your driving?
Yes, Root car insurance continuously tracks your driving through its mobile app. However, the company says your driving scorecard and trip data aren’t used to adjust your premium rates after the initial test drive.
What is Root car insurance’s claim process?
Filing a claim with Root car insurance can be done directly through the Root mobile app. Just open the app and click “File a claim” to report an incident. You should provide as much information as you can, and you can even add photos. Once everything has been completed on the Root app, a claims representative will contact you to review the claim and discuss the next steps.
What is a good score on Root car insurance?
It’s unclear what score you need to get to save money on car insurance with Root.
The driver scorecard on the Root car insurance app rates your driving behavior on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. During your Root test drive, the telematics tracking system in the app will look at whether you’re focused on the road (and not your phone or the radio), if you give yourself enough time to brake, if you slow down before turning, and if you’re not driving late at night.
However, Root could deny you coverage even if you have a high score. Although Root car insurance rates are primarily based on your driving, the company does consider other factors and doesn’t provide coverage options for high-risk drivers.
If you're a good driver looking for affordable car insurance, Root car insurance may be a good option for you, especially if you don’t have a high credit score or live in an area where the rates for car insurance are typically higher.
Root insurance worries less about your credit score and demographics such as where you live when determining its rates for car insurance. Instead, Root insurance sets its rates based mainly on your good driving habits.
However, to find out about your driving behavior, Root requires you to submit to a test drive where your driving is monitored through its mobile app. Root’s app continues to track your driving habits even after you’ve completed the test drive. This may be a problem if you value your privacy and have a problem with Root knowing your every move.
Root Insurance’s process on how to get car insurance can also be a lengthy process where you won’t see a quote for coverage for several weeks.
FinanceBuzz researches a number of factors in each auto insurance provider to create our reviews. These factors include cost and discounts, complaints and customer satisfaction, coverage, and ease of use. We also gather information from sources such as J.D. Power, AM Best, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and the Better Business Bureau to ensure we provide the most useful information to our readers