Root Insurance car insurance review September 2018 | finder.com

Root Insurance car insurance review September 2018

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Get rewarded with low rates for your good driving habits with this innovative app.

If you’re a responsible driver who’s looking for affordable auto insurance with full coverage, Root Insurance might be your answer. This app-driven insurer specializes in helping drivers reap the rewards that come with good driving habits.

How does it know about these habits? Root’s app tracks your driving for a few weeks before recommending a policy it thinks you deserve. But that’s not the only way this digital insurer stands out from the big-name crowd.

Description Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
States served Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah
Roadside assistance Included free
Pay schedule monthly
Claims methods online
New car protection No

Pros

  • Rewards good drivers
  • Fast claims
  • Free roadside help

Cons

  • No gap coverage
  • No agents to access
  • Limited states
Defensive driving discount Yes
Good student discount Yes
Loyalty discount Yes
Homeowner discount Yes
Military discount No
Safety device discount Yes
Special employment discount No
Usage-based discount No
Other discounts Paid-In-Full Discount, Advanced Quote Discount

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Who is Root Insurance best for?

Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Signup takes minutes, eliminating the need for endless questions many national providers ask.

Instead, Root tracks your driving via its innovative app, after two to three weeks presenting a policy it thinks will work best for you.

It might also be an option for teenagers and young adults who haven’t yet established a solid record of responsible driving.

But Root’s services are limited to 20 states as of this writing, most in the South and Midwest.

Where is Root Insurance available?

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Utah

Root plans to launch in Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina and South Carolina soon. Root has added 4 new states in the last 6 months, so the company is growing and plans to continue to expand its availability. To learn about your own state, sign up for notifications online.

What is Root Insurance?

Root Insurance claims its 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.

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.

Everything from signup to claims is conveniently handled through the app. No insurance agents or storefronts necessary.

In early 2018, Root raised $51 million in funding — the largest raised by an Ohio startup. The company plans to put that money toward a nationwide rollout by 2019.

How does Root Insurance work?

Root designed its innovative app to do most of the work. To get started, you download the app and sign up, allowing Root to monitor your driving habits for two to three weeks — what it calls your test drive. Root then calculates a quote and presents a policy that matches your on-the-road behaviors.

Throughout the test drive, you can keep track of how you’re doing with the app’s Driver Scorecard, which rates how well you break, turn and maneuver down the road. Using your smartphone’s accelerometer and GPS, the app can determine your speeds, distance and overall skill over the course of your test drive. It also monitors the hours you’re typically behind the wheel, ranking daylight driving safer than at night.

After you’ve logged enough trips for a score, it rates your driving on a scale of 1 to 10. If it’s lower than you’d like, use the remaining time in your test drive to improve your score.

Your test drive is the largest factor that Root considers when putting together your policy and price. But, to a lesser extent, it also considers your driving record, general demographics and your overall credit history — factors more traditional insurers use too.

If your driving just isn’t up to snuff, Root will decline offering a quote, barring you from taking a future test drive for a policy.

What car insurance coverage does Root Insurance offer?

Root offers a full range of liability, collision and comprehensive coverage.

  • Bodily injury. Covers injuries to others that result from an accident you caused.
  • Property damage. Protects you if you damage another person’s property in an accident.
  • Collision. Covers damage to your vehicle caused by an accident
  • Comprehensive. Pays for repairs if your car is damaged by something other than an accident — for instance, fire or vandalism.
  • Medical payments. Pays for medical care after an accident, whether you’ve collided with a car, a bike or a tree.
  • Personal injury protection. Covers medical expenses, lost wages and other indirect costs for you and your passengers after an accident.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Pays for car repairs if you’re in an accident caused by a driver without sufficient insurance.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage. Covers damages to your car if you’re hit by an uninsured driver.
  • Rental reimbursement. Pays for you to rent a car or otherwise get around while yours is in the shop for repairs after an accident.
  • Roadside assistance. Reimburses you for towing, jump-starts and emergency assistance on the road. Just send photos of receipts to Root’s customer service.

How much can I expect to pay with Root?

Root claims that it’s able to save good drivers as much as 50% off their current insurance rates. But because it’s a startup that focuses on individualized policies matched to your driving, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much you might pay.

Getting a quote is easy. Just download the app, sign up in minutes and start your test drive. After two to three weeks, Root generates a quote based on the app’s findings and a handful of standard factors, like your credit score, demographics and vehicle type.

What discounts can I get with Root Insurance?

For qualifying customers, Root Insurance offers a string of discounts and rewards.

Root’s whole premise is rewarding good drivers with low rates. And so it doesn’t offer the discounts that mainstream car insurance providers do, like those for good students.

Like many other startups, Root provides special referral discounts. If you love the savings you’re getting with Root, invite your friends to sign up through a personalized referral link. Depending on where you live, you could make anywhere from $10 to $100 for each successful referral.

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What’s not covered by Root Insurance?

Root Insurance offers solid coverage — but that doesn’t mean it covers everything. Motorcycles, ATVs and commercial vehicles are not eligible for coverage, nor does it offer gap coverage at the time of this writing (though it plans to).

If you work for services like Uber and Lyft, you’re covered only when driving on your own time, not while on the rideshare clock.

Are there any coverage maximums?

Yes. Roadside assistance tops out at three incidents every six months, the term of most Root policies, and up to $100 per incident.

Bodily injury comes with a limit of $250,000 per accident, as does property damage. And the maximum combined total Root covers for each accident is $500,000.

Other coverage details and maximums vary by state, but you can confirm your policy’s specifics through the Root app.

The app also allows you to see how limits can affect your monthly rate, which comes in handy when narrowing down the coverage want at a rate that fits your budget.

Pros and cons of Root car insurance

Pros

  • Rewards good drivers. When calculating a quote, Root weighs most heavily your overall driving behaviors, rather than demographic information like age or gender.
  • Fast claims. Root processes claims within 10 business days — which is faster than the industry standard of several weeks.
  • Includes roadside help. All Root Insurance policies — including basic liability — include roadside assistance, easily accessed from the app.

Cons

  • No gap coverage. If you’re financing or leasing a vehicle, you won’t find coverage to bridge the difference between the balance remaining on your vehicle and the amount that’s covered in a total loss.
  • No agents to access. Root operates out of an app only. But you can get help each day by phone from 9 am to 11 pm ET or email support@joinroot.com.
  • Limited states. Root services 16 states only at the time of writing, though it plans to roll out nationwide in 2019.

What do customers say about Root Insurance?

Overall, customer have good things to say about their experience with Root Insurance, especially the rates they’ve gotten with this startup — a few saying they’ve saved up to $100 a month. Negative reviews focus on inaccurate driving scores on the test drive and billing issues with coverage.

A few Redditors suspect that as Root rolls up its services, it’s contracting out support, adjusting and claims with minimal full-time staff. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it could mean that you’ll need to clearly communicate your problems with more than one person and stay on top of claims after an accident.

At the time of writing, Root earns 4.1 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where it’s accredited since January 2017. A good sign of solid support: Root reps have so far replied to every negative complaint on the site.

How to apply with Root Insurance

To get started with your test drive, download Root Insurance’s free app and sign up in minutes.

  1. Go to Root Insurance’s site and click Get the app at upper right.
  2. Enter your phone number and click Text me a link to the app.
  3. After you download the app, open it and click Get started.
  4. Choose whether you’d like to set up your account by email or through Facebook.
  5. Adjust your settings to enable location, motion and notifications.
  6. Scan your driver’s license and provide your personal contact information.
  7. Start your two- to three-week test drive period, which monitors your driving through GPS.
  8. After Root compiles enough data, they’ll send a note through app to let you know if you qualify for a quote.

What info do I need to apply?

To take a test drive and get a quote, you need only your driver’s license and basic personal information.

When it’s time to sign up for a policy, you’ll provide your Social Security number, banking details and vehicle information, among any other documents Root requires.

How do I find a Root Insurance agent near me

Root Insurance runs all business through its smartphone app. You’re not assigned a dedicated agent, and you won’t have the opportunity to visit an office to discuss your policy or claim.

How to make a claim

As with all other business you’ll conduct with Root, you’ll start a claim through the app on your phone:

  1. In the app, tap File a Claim to start the process.
  2. Add requested information about your accident — including insurance information for other involved parties — uploading photos of the damage to submit with your claim.
  3. Root will call within one business day with an update and any next steps.

Root claims to pay out claims within 10 business days by check. And you can track the progress of your claim through the app. Or cal Root’s claim support 24/7 at 844-867-2514.

How to contact Root Insurance

If you’re not able to get the help you need through the app’s support menu, you have options to speak with a representative, depending on your needs:

  • General questions. Contact Root Insurance’s customer support team at 866-980-9431 weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm ET or email support@joinroot.com.
  • Claims assistance. Call 844-867-2514 at any time.
  • Roadside assistance. Call 855-982-1720 at any time.

Does Root Insurance offer other types of insurance?

No. Root focuses exclusively on auto insurance, providing liability, collision and comprehensive coverage for good driving behavior.

Rumor has it that if all’s a successful with car insurance, it plans to introduce other types of coverage.

What car insurance providers are similar to Root Insurance?

While a few big names offer smartphone apps to manage your policy, not many require one to sign up for a policy. Tracking your test drive before extending a rate makes Root an innovator in the industry.

Metromile is a similar insurance company that offers usage-based insurance that can help safe drivers save on insurance based on good driving habits.

Progressive was among the first insurers to introduce a tracking device through its Snapshot program, which was originally designed to reward good drivers. It’s since begun using the data it collects to hit bad drivers with penalties and higher rates. Allstate is another large insurer using a smartphone app, but you aren’t required to use it.

Root tends to accept safe drivers only. If your driving record is relatively free of accidents and claims, you can find low rates through many other insurers, big and small.

Compare car insurance providers like Root

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Root
Included free
No
Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
Metromile
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington
Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.
USAA
Included free
No
All 50 states
USAA offers affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service to millions of military members and their families. Only available to military members, veterans and affiliated military members.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Quality auto insurance with good coverage doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny — especially if you’re a responsible driver. But Root Insurance asks you to prove it, requiring you to sign up for a test drive that monitors a few weeks of your driving on the road.

If you’re up for the test, this startup may reward your good driving behaviors with lower rates than you’ll find elsewhere. And so far, its policyholders like what it offers.

If your driving record isn’t as clean as you’d like it to be or you need specialized coverage compare your car insurance options to find a provider that meets your needs.

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Frequently asked questions

Kelly Waggoner

Kelly Waggoner is a senior editor with finder.com. She's worked with publishers, magazines and nonprofits throughout New York City, including ghostwriting a how-to on copyediting for the Dummies series. Between projects, she toys with words, flips through style guides and fantasizes about the serial comma's world domination.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MaheshAugust 1, 2018

    Does the root Insurance have a full coverage?

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoAugust 1, 2018Staff

      Hi Mahesh!

      Thanks for leaving a question on our page.

      Yes, Root Car insurance offers full coverage. This includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverages.
      To know more information about this, simply visit their website.

      If you need more options for car insurance, you may go to this page.

      Hope this helps!

      Regards,
      Nikki

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