Root is one of the companies we researched as part of a deep dive into the insurance industry while searching for the best car insurance companies. In this article, we’ll take a good look at Root auto insurance coverage, what makes Root different from other insurance providers, and Root insurance reviews from customers.
In this article:
- Root Insurance Overview
- Root Car Insurance Coverage
- How Much Does Root Car Insurance Cost?
- What Makes Root Car Insurance Different?
- Root Insurance Reviews
- Our Root Insurance Review: 4.0 Stars
- Top Recommendations For Car Insurance
- FAQ About Root Insurance
Root Insurance Overview
Root Insurance differentiates itself from other insurance providers in several ways. In calculating insurance premiums, it weighs your driving behavior first, not your record. Root also doesn’t insure bad drivers, so it pays out less often. However, that means it can deny coverage if you aren’t a great driver. It does still look at your driving record, and that can also influence your premium. To get a concrete Root auto insurance quote, you first have to take a test drive with the Root mobile app, which can take a couple of weeks.
Where Is Root Car Insurance Available?
Root Insurance is an insurance provider that began as a startup in Columbus, Ohio, in 2015. It is a young company and is currently only available in 30 states, but it is expanding its availability to more soon. Root car insurance is available in:
|Montana||Nebraska||Nevada||New Mexico||North Dakota|
Root Car Insurance Costs
Root’s website claims that drivers can save as much as 52 percent on their current insurance payment by switching to Root. While you can’t pull up insurance quotes online, people do attest to getting good prices, at least during the first six months. For some, car insurance rates may go up after that depending on a number of factors. If you are a good driver, you can probably find a rate through Root that is less than what you are paying now.
Keep in mind that Root can monitor how much you use your phone while driving for the test drive. If you use it during your trips, your driving score will go down. That’s a good thing because distracted driving is linked to all kinds of accidents.
The cost of car insurance varies by location, credit score, driving history, and can even change day by day. To help you see how these factors affect the cost of your premiums, here are some national averages from top providers for drivers from different profiles:
|Car Insurance Company||Annual Rate Estimate|
|Car Insurance Company||Annual Rate Estimate|
|Car Insurance Company||Annual Rate Estimate|
These are just averages used as an example. Your own individual rates will depend on your own unique profile as a driver and on the specifics of your vehicle and where you live.
Root Car Insurance Coverage
As most auto insurance companies do, Root offers the basic types of car insurance, including:
- Liability coverage
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive car insurance
- Rental car reimbursement
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
- Medical payment coverage
- Personal injury protection
To learn more, read our full breakdown of the standard types of car insurance.
Roadside Assistance With Root Car Insurance
Each Root Insurance policy comes with roadside assistance already included. The program covers the cost for three occurrences per six-month term. Each occurrence has an allowance of $100.
To get roadside service, you have to make a request through the mobile app. Now, you might be in the middle of nowhere when you need service and might not have a great data signal. In that case, you can use another provider and email your receipts to Root for reimbursement. Even if you have another roadside company that you use, you might as well claim your allowances with Root. Here’s what Root’s roadside assistance covers:
- Lockout service
- Fuel delivery
- Spare tire replacement
What Root Car Insurance Doesn’t Cover
While Root Insurance covers all of the standard types of car insurance, there are several add-ons that the company does not cover, including:
- Gap coverage
- Rideshare insurance (for Uber and Lyft drivers)
- Accident forgiveness insurance
- Commercial or small business car insurance
- Specialized vehicle insurance for ATVs, boats, RVs, etc.
- Motorcycle insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Travel insurance
- Pet insurance
- Umbrella coverage
What Makes Root Car Insurance Different?
There are several things that make Root car insurance different from your run-of-the-mill insurance company:
- It’s still young. Root was founded in 2015. Compare that to Geico, Progressive, and State Farm, which were all founded in the first half of the 1900s.
- It’s not yet available everywhere. Root plans to expand to eight new states in the near future, but it only covers twenty-nine states as of 2021. Likewise, if you move from a covered state to one without coverage, your policy won’t transfer.
- Great rates because they only ensure good drivers. Root offers insurance based on your driving. The company says that it can offer low rates because it doesn’t insure bad drivers. Root claims that the worst 30 percent of drivers cause 45 percent of all damage costs, so it prefers to not insure those drivers. Other companies will insure you no matter how you drive, but not Root. Root can also cancel your policy if you begin to display a pattern of accidents and tickets while under a plan.
- It's done entirely through a smartphone. Root auto insurance is only available through what it calls a “test drive.” This is a two or three-week period where Root judges your driving ability based on telematic tracking through their mobile app. If you don’t have a smartphone, android, or if your iPhone is older than a 5S, you’ll have to upgrade your phone to download the smartphone app.
- Everything is done in the mobile app. From the test drive to making insurance claims, everything is done right in the Root app. During a claim, you’ll get email updates as the process moves along.
- There are no agents. Root auto insurance does not assign you a personal agent. You can call customer service and talk to a real person, but they won’t be specifically assigned to your Root policy like a local agent from Allstate auto insurance or Nationwide car insurance would.
- Includes roadside assistance. Another thing that makes Root car insurance different is that each plan comes with roadside assistance already included.
Are There Any Issues With Root Car Insurance?
Root attracts people because it is tech-focused and young. However, the company’s age also works against it. Starting a multi-state insurance company in just a few years is a huge undertaking. Does the leadership team have the experience and knowledge to handle it?
Car insurance companies have a lot of responsibility. It’s one thing to be polite on the phone, but another to manage serious incidents like accidents and theft restitution. While Root Insurance is available in more than half of U.S. states, the company only has about 800 employees as of 2020. Compare that to State Farm’s 56,000 employees, and you can get an idea of its size. Another indicator of its size is that it’s not even included in J.D. Power’s 2020 Auto Claims Satisfaction StudySM.
Aside from being small, some people have had issues with being denied insurance even though they performed well on the test drive. That’s because a person’s driving record is the second metric that Root takes into account, and it’s almost weighted as heavily as the test-drive period. The company says its insurance is based “primarily” on how you drive, but how you have driven in the past does still count.
Another downside is that you can’t just switch to Root car insurance at the drop of a hat. If you know that your current insurance renews in the next few days, you’ll probably have to pay some type of early cancellation fee to switch over once the test drive results come back in a few weeks.
Root Insurance Reviews
Overall, it seems that Root is accomplishing its goal of insuring safe drivers and helping them save money. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and it’s also BBB accredited. It has received over 300 complaints on its BBB page at the time of publishing, but it has also closed all of them. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports Root saw more than twice the number of expected complaints in 2020.
Here are some Root customer reviews that we found:
Positive Root Insurance Reviews
"This app is truly one of the best apps, and it does exactly what it is promised to do. It saves me over $100 a month on car insurance and is extremely easy to use. Everything is laid out in black and white and there is no need to contact anyone for any further help, because the app truly takes care of it all. Great company, idea, service, and app!"
- Jessica G. via BBB
"I saved almost $200 a month switching to Root. Had several quotes for our vehicles totaling between $390 to almost $500. After a test drive with Root, ever driving a work vehicle 30ish miles a day, my rate is $230 a month for increased coverage over the competitors, $207 matching coverage."
- Nathan P. via BBB
"I just purchased insurance this month. Was kind of scared at first because it took so long to get a quote. But when they came back with a quote, it was $145 cheaper than the company I switched from."
- Chandra H. via BBB
Negative Root Insurance Reviews
"I got hit. The other person was at fault and openly admitted to being at fault. Not only did it take two weeks for me to figure out no one was calling to answer the filed claim, I had to call daily for a few days to find anyone to take the claim. Then, after we get finished, I come to find it is going to be two to three months on a clear case before I get paid back. No wonder the service is so cheap! Practically have to walk them through every step of doing their jobs. Not worth the price so far."
- Jacob S. via BBB
"This company does not follow up or return calls or emails for claims. But, does not hesitate to take your payment. Very unprofessional, does not care about their customers or that they are your insurance provider."
- LaQuita W. via BBB
The company has over 20,000 ratings on the Google Play app store, and it has a 3.8 rating overall. There are obviously many happy policyholders. Some Root car insurance reviews do say that it’s hard to get a real person on the phone and that prices can increase after six months.
Our Root Insurance Review: 4.0 Stars
We rate Root Insurance 4.0 out of 5.0 stars and named it Best Usage-Based Insurance in 2021. With its long-term rates, mobile claims, positive Root insurance reviews, and A+ BBB rating make it a smart choice for good drivers.
Root insurance is not suited for bad drivers or anyone who wants to bundle home and auto insurance.
|Root Auto Insurance Pros||Root Auto Insurance Cons|
|Great rates for good drivers||May deny coverage based on your driving behavior|
|Everything is done through a mobile app making |
for a simple quotes/claims process
|Only available in 29 states|
|Includes roadside assistance||No personal agents assigned to your policy|
|A+ rating from the BBB||A very young company compared to others in the industry|
Top Recommendations For Car Insurance
The secret to finding great car insurance is researching several different providers. In our recent review of 12 companies, a few stood out from the pack.
It's best to compare pricing for your unique situation. Use our tool below or call 844-246-8209 to start comparing personalized car insurance quotes.
Geico: Best Overall
If you want a company with some more coverage options, we recommend looking into Geico auto insurance. Geico came out with 4.5 stars out of 5.0 in our review, where we found it to provide great value across many different criteria – including financial stability, trustworthiness, and customer service. You can get it in any state, and you don’t have to wait a few weeks to get an insurance quote.
Learn more in our complete Geico review.
Progressive: Best For High-Risk Drivers
Progressive auto insurance also warranted 4.5 out of 5.0 stars in our review. The insurer has an extensive selection of coverage, plus add-ons like rideshare coverage and coverage for custom parts and equipment. You can also find options for Progressive motorcycle insurance, rental property insurance, boat insurance, RV insurance, and more with Progressive.
Read more about coverage in our review of Progressive insurance.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.
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