AutoInsurance.com
January 12, 2023

Root Auto Insurance Review

Prices determined more by behavior than by demographics

Unlike many other car insurance providers, Root places a higher importance on the way you drive than on your demographics. The company strives for fair pricing to help good drivers save money. This means that your braking habits, turning speeds, driving routes, and miles driven will matter more than your education, occupation, or marital status in determining your rate. In fact, Root intends to remove credit scores from its pricing entirely by 2025.

Below, we’ve compiled information about Root’s pricing system, coverage options, and other essential factors to help you decide whether you could save money on your car insurance with Root compared with other car insurance companies.

Key Takeaways

Who It’s Best For

  • Safe drivers and those who drive cars with safety features such as driver assistance technologies
  • People with smartphones, as Root functions through its mobile app
  • Drivers who are interested in saving money through Root’s telematics system1

Who It’s Not Best For

  • People who are uncomfortable using technology
  • High-risk drivers
  • People with long commutes and who drive a lot, especially at night

Pros and Cons of Root Car Insurance

Pros

  • Prices based on driving, not demographics: Root’s pricing system means the way you drive will be the primary consideration in your insurance rate, rather than factors such as income or occupation. That being said, if you’re a bad driver, look for other auto insurance companies that don’t use telematics.

  • Affordability: Because Root bases its prices on your driving habits, there are many ways to save money with simple changes in the way you drive. Your driving behaviors — like your turn speed, braking habits, and route consistency — factor into your rate, which means you have control over how much you’ll end up paying.

  • Mobile app: From choosing your coverage to filing claims, the Root app will allow you to handle everything related to your car insurance on the go.

Cons

  • GPS tracking: Once you download the Root app to your phone, you’ll need to allow it to access your GPS location indefinitely, which is a privacy concern for some people.

  • Customer selectivity: Root only insures good drivers, so if you have a history of risky driving or demonstrate unsafe habits behind the wheel, Root may not approve you for a policy.

Root Auto Insurance Coverage

  • Liability: Liability coverage is required in most states, as it protects the other party when you cause an accident. This type of insurance covers their medical and funeral expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Note that liability insurance only covers losses that occur outside your car, not losses of you or your passengers.
  • Collision: If you cause an accident, collision coverage covers your car’s damage.
  • Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage includes any damage to your vehicle from events other than accidents, including weather-related incidents, fires, theft, and vandalism.
  • Rental car coverage: If your car sustains damage from a covered claim, Root’s rental insurance will cover the cost of a rental car, or even Lyft rides, while your car gets repaired.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UI/UIM) property damage: UM/UIM property damage coverage protects you if your car sustains damage from a hit-and-run or a driver without sufficient insurance.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UI/UIM) bodily injury: If you sustain injuries after an insufficiently insured driver hits you, this type of insurance will cover your medical expenses.
  • Medical payments: Medical payment insurance covers your medical expenses (or anyone else in your vehicle at the time) after car accidents that cause injuries. The at-fault driver pays for the injuries.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Similarly to medical payment coverage, PIP pays for your or your passengers’ medical expenses after an accident. However, PIP applies regardless of who is at fault; each party pays their own medical expenses. In addition, PIP covers losses beyond medical payment coverage, like lost wages and funeral costs. No-fault states, like Florida, require PIP.
  • Roadside assistance: All Root policies include roadside assistance, which is easily accessible through the mobile app. Your policy will cover any service under $100 for up to three incidents per six-month policy term. Additionally, if you decide to purchase an outside roadside assistance policy, you can email roadside@joinroot.com to get reimbursed. Note that in California, policies do not include roadside assistance, but you can add it as a separate cost.

What Will My Auto Insurance Rate Be?

Root has some of the lowest prices among auto insurance companies. As of December 2022, Root’s average annual cost of $829 places it as the second-cheapest auto insurance provider in the U.S.

Root calculates your rate based primarily on how you drive, and it will never calculate your rate using factors such as your education level or occupation. However, Root still considers certain demographic factors to assess risk, including your credit score, age, marital status, gender, ZIP code, vehicle type, and prior insurance. Of course, a large part of how Root insurance works is through telematics, which tracks the following:

  • Focused versus distracted driving
  • Smooth versus sudden braking
  • Gentle versus quick turning
  • Safe hours versus late-night trips

You’ll need to complete a 30-day test-drive period to find your exact rate, as this insurance is usage-based. To get started, download the Root app and enable the GPS feature on your smartphone. After you drive around for a few weeks as you usually would, Root will give you a free quote.

CheckFYI:

Monitor your driving during your test drive through the app’s Driver Scorecard feature, which updates once a day.

Discounts

Many people often have to ask their providers for auto insurance discounts. However, Root only covers good drivers, which means you’ll save money automatically if you drive safely. Root customers can save up to $900 per year on car insurance using the following discounts:

  • Focused driving: Drivers who avoid using their phones behind the wheel can earn up to 10 percent off their car insurance policies.
  • Bundling: Save money on your car insurance by bundling your Root policies, which include renters and homeowners insurance.
  • Upfront payment: Root may award discounts if you pay your premium upfront rather than monthly.

Availability

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Root Customer Service

You can contact Root regarding general inquiries or claims by calling customer service at 866-980-9431 during business hours (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET). If you need help with an existing claim, call 866-489-1985 during the same hours. Alternatively, you can email Root at help@joinroot.com with any questions or concerns.

Mobile Apps and Online Features

As a fully digital company, Root’s app is the one-stop shop for everything you’ll need to access within your auto insurance policy. Once you download the app, you’ll give it permission to access your GPS automatically to track your drives, so you won’t need to open the app every time you drive. Root measures your phone’s orientation through its gyroscope, magnetometer, and acceleration to determine whether you’re the passenger or the driver.

As of December 2022, Root’s app rating in the Apple App Store is 4.7 out of 5 stars, based on over 60,000 reviews. It’s rated 3.5 out of 5 stars in the Google Play store, based on over 36,000 reviews and over 1 million downloads.

Through the app, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Review your past trips and earn trip points
  • Add covered drivers and vehicles
  • Submit payments (by credit card or Apple Pay)
  • Change your payment date and frequency
  • Access your insurance card
  • Request roadside assistance
  • Request SR-22 forms
  • Make changes to your policy
  • Request a cancellation of your old insurance policy with a different carrier
  • Cancel or reinstate your policy

CheckWARNING:

You may not be able to see your recent trips if your phone is on low-power mode, if you have poor cell reception, or if your location permissions are disabled.

Third-Party Ratings

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating: The BBB has accredited Root since January 2017, and the company has an A+ rating.2 The organization calculates its ratings using a variety of factors, including the size and type of business, the company’s complaint volume, and the number of unanswered and unresolved complaints.
  • BBB customer rating: Despite its high BBB rating, Root received only 1.3 out of 5 stars from its customers. The most common problems in customer reviews involve slow processing and payment of claims, policy rate increases, and poor customer service.
  • NAIC Complaint Index: Root’s NAIC Complaint Index in 2021 was 3.2, which is considerably higher than the national index of 1.0.3 This index measures a company’s performance by dividing its share of complaints in the market by its share of premiums. That being said, Root’s index was 3.82 in 2020 and 4.57 in 2019, thus demonstrating improvements over time.

Company History

Alex Timm and Dan Manges started Root in 2015 with the goal of using a technology-forward pricing method to offer fair rates to safe drivers. The company is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, but expanded rapidly from 10 states in 2017 to 22 states in 2018. As of 2022, Root covers 34 states, with Alabama and Florida being its most recent additions.

Other Insurance Root Provides

  • Renters insurance: Root offers renters insurance to cover both personal liability and medical expenses in the event of stolen or damaged personal belongings or injuries on your property.
  • Homeowners insurance: Root’s homeowners insurance protects you, your home, your visitors, and your belongings in unforeseen events such as fires or theft.

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel your Root policy anytime on the mobile app or by calling customer service at 866-980-9431. All cancellations are effective for all coverages, individuals, and vehicles listed on the policy. Root will refund you on a prorated basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Root Insurance?

The parent company of Root Insurance is Root Inc., but the company is publicly traded on NASDAQ.

Does Root have to track your driving?

Yes, Root must track your driving to calculate your insurance rate. The app tracks your driving during your test drive for about three weeks and continuously (unless you disable location tracking) once you buy a policy with Root.

Is Root a real insurance company?

Yes, Root is a real insurance company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Root is a publicly traded company that provides auto, rental, and homeowners insurance coverage in 34 U.S. states.

Citations

  1. What is telematics? Root Insurance. (2022).
    https://www.joinroot.com/car-insurance/telematics/

  2. Root. Better Business Bureau. (2022).
    https://www.bbb.org/us/oh/columbus/profile/insurance-companies/root-0302-70095046/customer-reviews

  3. Results by Complaint Index. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2022).
    https://content.naic.org/cis_refined_results.htm?TABLEAU=CIS_COMPLAINTS&COCODE=25658&:refresh