Root Insurance claims it’s the first insurer founded on “the relentless pursuit of fairness.” Since 2015, its mission has been setting up good drivers with the affordable coverage they’ve earned.
Everything from signup to claims is conveniently handled through the app. No insurance agents or storefronts are necessary.
Based in Ohio, CEO Alexander Timm has worked in insurance since the tender age of 14, giving him lots of time to see the industry’s negative side.
He started Root to fix all that, designing a unique smartphone app that eliminates the need for a network of agents or storefronts.
Pros and Cons of Root Auto Insurance
Low, transparent rates. Many drivers can get higher coverage limits with lower rates from Root. And it’s easy to use the app to see where your rate comes from.
Rewards good drivers. When calculating a quote, Root weighs your overall driving behaviors most heavily, rather than demographic information you can’t control, like age or gender.
Free roadside help. Root policies include roadside assistance, which can be accessed from the app.
Fast claims. The app lets you make a claim in minutes, and Root processes most claims within 10 business days — much faster than the industry standard of several weeks.
Not every driver can qualify. The root is upfront with the fact that not every driver will be offered a policy. But even drivers who need an SR-22 can qualify, depending on their driving ability.
Not available nationwide. The root isn’t available in every state yet, though it’s growing quickly and plans to roll out nationwide.
App-based only. You’ll need to have your phone on and the app running while you drive, which might not be an option for every driver. Other telematics companies often offer a physical device instead of just an app.
How Does Root Auto Insurance Work?
Like many usage-based or telematics insurers, Root’s app determines your rates based on how you actually drive.
Using your smartphone’s accelerometer and GPS, the Root app can determine your speed, mileage, hours drove, braking distance, and more.
While factors like age and marital status are still considered, your driving score is weighed much more heavily than it is with traditional car insurance companies.
Safe, low-mileage drivers often report in customer reviews that they save a lot of money by switching to Root.
Drivers who can’t get good rates with other insurance companies are also good candidates for Root, including young drivers and drivers with sports cars. All you have to do is prove how well you drive to get a good rate.
Root Auto Insurance Coverage
Root Car Insurance offers a few auto insurance add-ons, but it offers the full suite of basics.
As a result, drivers who are searching for highly specific coverage, such as ride-share or gap insurance, would be better served by a traditional auto insurance company, like Farmers or Allstate.
This optional policy add-on reimburses you for expenses associated with renting a car if your vehicle is inoperable due to a covered accident.
While rental reimbursement coverage is fairly common among auto insurance companies, Root Insurance offers its policyholders the option to receive Lyft credits as opposed to being reimbursed for a rental vehicle.
Root Insurance includes roadside assistance, for services like towing and battery jump-starts, with each of its policies at no extra cost.
Root Insurance partners with Blink for roadside assistance, but policyholders can request service from any company.
Also, Root Insurance covers up to three incidents per six-month policy term for a maximum of $100 per incident.
Traditional coverage options available through Root Insurance
Personal injury protection
Uninsured and underinsured motorist damage
Medical payments coverage
What Root Auto Insurance Doesn’t Cover
While it might seem like we just covered a lot of ground, there are several aspects that the company does not cover, including:
Commercial or small business car insurance
Specialized vehicle insurance for ATVs, boats, motorcycles, RVs, etc.
Home, travel, or pet insurance
What Makes Root 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 auto insurance, Progressive car insurance, and State Farm auto insurance, 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 late 2019. 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 keep rates low because it doesn’t insure bad drivers. It 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. The 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 car 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 an app. If you don’t have a smartphone, 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 claims, everything is done right in the 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 policy like an 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.
Is Root Legit?
Yes, Root Insurance is a legitimate insurance company accredited by the BBB and backed by state insurance funds, just like big national insurers. Root’s a startup company founded in 2015.
The company’s not out to scam drivers or pull a bait and switch with low rates you can’t actually qualify for. Instead, your driving will play a large part in setting how much you save.
You won’t get personalized support from an agent, but you can call customer support almost any time — and the claims process is all done online.
1. Is Root car insurance any good?
Our verdict is that Root auto insurance can be good if you can wait a few weeks to get a quote, and you have good driving habits and a good record. If you need anything else besides auto and renters insurance, you won’t be able to get it with Root.
2. Does Root offer full coverage?
Yes, Root offers full coverage car insurance through a combination of bodily injury, property damage, collision, and comprehensive insurance.
3. Does Root Insurance have SR-22s?
Yes, Root can provide an SR-22 form to satisfy state requirements. That’s a plus because not all car insurance companies can.
4. Does Root also sell homeowners and renters insurance?
Root Insurance only sells automobile policies.
Whether Root Insurance is right for you depends on your car insurance needs and if you’re willing to wait a few weeks for a quote.
If you’re truly a good driver with safe driving habits, Root may be worthwhile. If not, you may want to consider other options.
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