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Root car insurance review

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Get instant coverage with the Root app and see how much your safe driving could save you.

finder.com’s rating: 4.0 / 5.0

★★★★★

  • Get a quote if you want a cheap rate for your safe driving.
  • Pick something else if you want a personal agent.
  • Good drivers can save the most on auto insurance.

Included free

Roadside assistance

New car protection

Accident forgiveness

Details

States served Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia
Roadside assistance Included free
Pay schedule 6 months, monthly
Claims methods online
New car protection No
Accident forgiveness Yes

Pros

  • Safe drivers save up to 52%
  • Easy app tracks driving
  • Fast claims
  • Great support

Cons

  • Not every driver can qualify
  • Limited states
  • App only
Anti-theft device discount Yes
Bundling discount Yes
Defensive driving discount Yes
Good student discount No
Loyalty discount Yes
Homeowner discount Yes
Military discount No
Safety device discount Yes
Special employment discount No
Usage-based discount No
Other discounts
Rideshare coverage No
SR-22 coverage Yes
Temporary & short term coverage Yes

Expert review

Kelly Waggoner

Review by


Kelly Waggoner is editor-in-chief of Finder US. 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.

Expert review

This startup may reward your good driving behaviors with lower rates than you’ll find elsewhere. Root’s premise is that good drivers shouldn’t have to pay more for car insurance.

First, you’ll prove your driving skills with a test drive with an app that monitors a few weeks of your actual driving on the road. Then you’ll get a rate that’s based on how much and how well you drive. Unlike traditional insurers,

Root’s prices are heavily weighted based on your test drive, instead of focusing on factors like your credit score, age, gender, location and other demographics that most drivers can’t help. Safe drivers stand to save the most, as long as you’re comfortable leaving the app on while you’re driving.

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. You won’t get personalized support from an agent, but you can call customer support almost any time, and the easy claims process is all done online.

How does Root car insurance work?

Like many usage-based or telematics insurers, Root’s innovative 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 driven, braking distance and more. That means you won’t pay a higher rate just because you’re under 25 or live in a risky city for driving, for example, which most insurers consider to be big factors in deciding your rates.

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 high risk drivers, young drivers and drivers with sports cars. All you have to do is prove how well you drive to get a good rate.

How does Root decide my car insurance rate?

Root believes your car insurance rate should be based primarily on your actual driving. Your test drive is the largest factor that Root considers when putting together your policy and price, except in California where telematics-based rates are illegal. But, to a lesser extent, Root also considers your driving record, general demographics and your overall credit history — factors more traditional insurers use too.

If your driving doesn’t meet Root’s requirements, Root won’t offer a price or let you open a policy. You won’t be able to retake your test drive to sign up for a policy, which could be a letdown if you don’t have another car insurance option lined up.

How does the quote process work?

  1. Download the app. To get started, download the app for Android or iPhone and sign up for your test drive (except in California). You can go to the Root site and click Get the App.
  2. Set up the app. Log in through email or Facebook, and then enable location, motion and notifications. Scan your driver’s license and enter any other personal information.
  3. Take your test drive. Root’s app will monitor your driving habits for two to three weeks to decide your rate, though some drivers require anywhere from one to four weeks to set a rate.
  4. Keep track of your score. You can keep track of how you’re doing during the test drive with the app’s Driver Scorecard, which rates how well you break, turn and maneuver down the road. The app suggests ways to improve your driving score.
  5. See your score. After you’ve logged enough trips for a score, Root 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.
  6. Get your custom rate. Root then calculates a quote and presents a policy that matches your on-the-road behaviors if your score meets Root’s criteria.

Am I covered while I take the test drive?

Yes, Root offers flexible options depending on whether you’re currently insured or need same-day coverage. To get insured from day one, you’ll get a temporary 60-day policy and rate. After your 30-day test drive, you’ll see your final rate and have 30 days to decide whether to sign up.

If you’re already insured and are still considering options, stick with your current insurer until after you’ve completed your test drive and gotten your final quote. Then you can decide whether to make the switch. You can even cancel your current insurance and let your lender know you’ve switched through the Root app.

How long does the test drive take?

You’ll typically complete your test drive in two to four weeks. You can check on the time left on your test drive in the app. Some drivers reported getting a quote after only a week or two, though the average is three weeks, depending on how much you drive.

What does the Root app look like?

What coverage can I get from Root?

The app also allows you to see how limits can affect your monthly rate, which comes in handy when narrowing down the coverage you want at a rate that fits your budget. Many drivers who switch to Root report that they can increase their limits for less than the cost of their current insurance, according to several Reddit threads. The only caveat: Root currently doesn’t offer gap insurance, which protects you if your car is totaled and your claim check is less than the amount left on your car loan.

  • Bodily injury. Covers injuries to others that result from an accident you caused. Choose a limit up to $250,000 per accident.
  • Property damage. Protects you if you damage another person’s property in an accident. Choose a limit up to $250,000 per 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.
  • Underinsured motorist coverage. Pays for car repairs if you’re in an accident caused by a driver without enough insurance.
  • Rental car reimbursement. Pays for you to rent a car or otherwise get around while yours is in the shop for repairs after an accident. You can also get coverage for using Lyft instead of a rental car, a unique option not available from most insurers.
  • Roadside assistance. Included free with every policy except in California. Covers any roadside service under $100, including towing, jump-starts and emergency assistance. You get up to three incidents per car for every 6-month policy term. Call for help through the app, or send photos of receipts to Root’s customer service.

Does Root offer full coverage?

Yes, you can get full coverage policies through Root. Full coverage policies typically include liability plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Keep in mind full coverage policies don’t actually include every kind of coverage; you’ll typically pay extra for coverage like rental car reimbursement.

What discounts can I get with Root?

For qualifying customers, Root Insurance offers a string of discounts and rewards, but they’re baked into your final rate. 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. You can get a few discounts if you qualify:

  • Referral discount. Invite your friends to sign up through a personalized referral link and save $10 to $100 for each successful referral, except in California.
  • Tesla autopilot. Use the Autosteer option during your test drive in your Tesla and save based on how many highway miles you drive with autopilot on.

Pros and cons of Root car insurance

Pros

  • 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 most heavily your overall driving behaviors, rather than demographic information you can’t control, like age or gender.
  • Free roadside help. Root policies include roadside assistance, except in California, easily 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.
  • Great support. Though Root operates out of an app only or with online support, customers are very satisfied with the service they get from Root, no agent required.

Cons

  • Not every driver can qualify. Root is upfront with the fact that not every driver will be offered a quote. But even drivers who need an SR-22 can qualify, depending on their driving ability.
  • Limited states. Root isn’t available in every state yet, though it’s growing quickly and plans to roll out nationwide in 2019.
  • 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 the app.

What do customers say about Root car 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 over $100 a month. Negative reviews focus on inaccurate driving scores on the test drive and billing issues.

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 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.

Root can even help you cancel your old insurance policy. There’s an option from the app to start the process of canceling your current policy without a single phone call.

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

The company is available in over 20 states and plans to put that money toward a nationwide rollout by 2019. And Root has already expanded its availability to several more states since launch. The company’s finances are not currently rated by AM Best, though it did have a B++ rating from 2011 through 2014.

Compare Root to other providers

Root’s not the only usage-based insurance company out there. Other drivers have saved up to 40% on rates using telematics tools from national providers, like Progressive Snapshot, Allstate DriveWise, Liberty Mutual RightTrack or Nationwide SmartRide. Consider all your options before deciding on the best one for you.

  • Pay by miles driven
  • Low base rates
  • Drive less, pay less

Our top pick: Metromile

Only pay for how much you drive with the Metromile app. Get rates from $29/month plus pennies per mile.

  • Rates from $29/month plus pennies per mile
  • Low-mileage drivers could save $611/year
  • All miles over 250 a day are free
  • Easy app and online claims plus 24/7 support
Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Safe driver discount Available states
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Save up to 31% with safe driver discounts and bundling all your rides in one convenient policy.
Optional
49%
AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA
Only pay for how much you drive with the Metromile app. Get rates from $29/month plus pennies per mile.
52%
AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD, MS, MT, MO, NE, NM, ND, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA
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.
Optional
26%
All 50 states
It's quick and easy to get an online quote with Geico, and you might be surprised at how much you could save.
Optional
Yes
All states except AK, HI, LA, MI, RI
Enjoy special benefits including rate lock, no-drop policies and accident recovery. Exclusively for drivers 50+.
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Enjoy premium perks like better car replacement and accident forgiveness plus local agent support.
Optional
Optional
55%
All 50 states
Get free quotes from top insurers for the exact coverage you need in minutes.
Optional
No
AZ, CA, IL, UT
A new company with a minimalist approach to insurance. Find basic coverage, low rates and online-based service.

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Common questions about Root car insurance

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★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our insurance team analyzes car insurance providers to help you choose the best car insurance for you. We rank insurers from one to five stars based on key factors including customer satisfaction, policy options, price, billing, claims, and support. We create these rankings to help you narrow down an insurance provider that best suits your budget and coverage needs.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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14 Comments

  1. Default Gravatar
    Juanita
    June 15, 2019

    So my license will be suspended if I don’t get insurance on the next few days. If I download the app and make the payment being asked would I be able to have any documentation to show my local Dmv that I have insurance?

    • AvatarStaff
      Bella
      June 16, 2019

      Hi Juanita,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Once you passed the driving test, have the quotes and make a payment, you can access your insurance through the app and they’ll mail you a physical copy of your policy and coverage that you may show in your local DMV.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

  2. Default Gravatar
    Chris
    April 16, 2019

    Can I get a sr22

    • AvatarStaff
      nikkiangco
      April 17, 2019

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for getting in touch! To know if you can get an sr-22 from Root is 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. To know the exact requirements of Root, I suggest to contact them directly.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  3. Default Gravatar
    Georgia
    April 3, 2019

    Are there any actual reviews on ROOT Insurance? I don’t feel comfortable providing my personal information online to anyone. How can I get the assurance that this company is legit?

    • AvatarStaff
      Joshua
      April 4, 2019

      Hi Georgia,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      Root is a registered and legitimate company which is accredited by the BBB. There have already been hundreds of people who have used Root. Moreover, to help you know more whether your information is safe with them or not, I highly recommend that you read the privacy policy found on their website. Moreover, you can also directly get in touch with Root and get an idea of whether they are truly the company for you or not.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  4. Default Gravatar
    Sir
    February 19, 2019

    I downloaded the app about 6 weeks ago and I have been driving for about that time and still have not received a quote. Why?

    • AvatarStaff
      Joshua
      February 20, 2019

      Hi Sir,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Typically, Root will monitor your driving habits for two to three weeks. If you haven’t received a quote, it could be that you haven’t logged enough trips for a score or it could also mean that you didn’t pass their test drive.

      Since we don’t represent Root, I can’t exactly tell you the reason you haven’t received a quote yet. It would be best to directly get in touch with Root to learn more.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  5. Default Gravatar
    Josh
    February 17, 2019

    Does Root cover motorcycles?

    • AvatarStaff
      Jhez
      February 18, 2019

      Hi Josh,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Root does not cover motorcycles, ATVs, exotic, or commercial vehicles at this time. They’re working on dominating the personal vehicle industry at the moment.

      Alternatively, you may check other motorcycle insurers on this page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  6. Default Gravatar
    Do
    October 20, 2018

    Do you cover RVs?

    • AvatarStaff
      nikkiangco
      October 22, 2018

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your inquiry!

      Root doesn’t cover motorhome at the moment. If you’d like more options, you can review our page on motorhome insurance.

      As a friendly reminder, carefully review the Product Disclosure Statement of the product before applying. You may also contact the insurance provider should you have any questions about their policy.

      Regards,
      Nikki

  7. Default Gravatar
    Mahesh
    August 1, 2018

    Does the root Insurance have a full coverage?

    • AvatarStaff
      nikkiangco
      August 1, 2018

      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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