Root car insurance review 2021
Try the Root telematics app to see how much your safe driving could save you.
finder.com's rating: 4 / 5
Bottom line: Low-mileage, safe drivers can take advantage of low rates if you live in Root’s service area, though you’ll have to prove your driving skills first.
New car protection
|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, West Virginia|
|Roadside assistance||Included free|
|New car protection||No|
|Pay schedule||6 months, monthly|
|Claims methods||Online, Email, Phone|
- Low, transparent rates
- Rewards good drivers
- Free roadside help
- Fast claims
- Not every driver can qualify
- Not available nationwide
- App-based only
|Anti-theft device discount||Yes|
|Defensive driving discount||Yes|
|Good student discount||No|
|Safety device discount||Yes|
|Special employment discount||No|
Roslyn McKenna is an insurance publisher for Finder, where she's driven to help people get a great deal on insurance to protect their families and finances. Roslyn earned a BA in writing and communications from Maryville College and has written professionally for more than a decade, showing up on Bankrate, MSN and Reader's Digest.
Founded in 2015, Root Insurance is a legitimate insurance company accredited by the BBB and backed by state insurance funds, just like big national insurers. This pay-as-you-go insurance startup may reward your safe driving with lower rates than you’ll find elsewhere. Root’s premise is that good drivers shouldn’t have to pay high rates for car insurance.
First, you’ll prove your driving skills with a test drive through its app that monitors your driving for a few weeks. Then you’ll get a rate based on how much and how well you drive. But if your driving’s not up to snuff, Root will decline offering you a policy after your test drive is over.
Unlike traditional insurers, Root’s prices are weighted based on your test drive, instead of focusing on demographic factors like your credit score, age and gender.
How do I sign up?
- Download the app. Sign up for a test drive through the app, unless you live in California. You can go to the Root site and choose Download the app now to send a download link to your phone.
- Set up the app. Log in and enable your location, motion and notifications. Scan your driver’s license and fill in any details.
- Take your test drive. Root’s app will monitor your driving for two to three weeks, though the test period can range from one to four weeks.
- Keep track of your score. Track how you’re doing with the app’s Driver scorecard, which rates how well you brake, turn and maneuver. The app also suggests ways to improve your driving.
- See your score. After you’ve logged enough trips, 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.
- Get your custom rate. If your score meets Root’s application standards, the app calculates a quote and recommends your coverage.
What discounts can I get with Root?
For qualifying customers, Root Insurance offers a string of discounts and rewards baked into your final rate.
Root’s premise is rewarding good drivers with low rates, so it doesn’t offer the same discounts as other car insurers, like for good students. However, you can get a few discounts if you qualify.
- Referral. 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 Autosteer during the test drive in your Tesla and save based on how many highway miles you drive using autopilot.
What coverage can I get from Root?
Many drivers who switch to Root report increased coverage limits for a lower cost than their previous 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 your car loan balance.
- Collision. Covers damage to your vehicle caused by an accident.
- Comprehensive. Pays for damage to your vehicle caused by anything other than an accident.
- Liability. Covers injuries to others or property damage from an accident you caused. Choose a limit up to $250,000 per accident.
- Medical payments. Pays for your medical bills after an accident.
- Personal injury protection. Covers medical expenses, lost wages and other indirect costs for you and your passengers after an accident.
- Rental car reimbursement. Pays for a rental car while your car’s in the shop after an accident. You can use Lyft instead of a rental, a unique option not available from most insurers.
- Roadside assistance. Included free except in California, for up to three incidents per car for every 6-month policy. Covers any roadside service under $100, including towing, battery jumps and emergency assistance.
- Underinsured motorist. Pays for your car repairs if another driver causes an accident but doesn’t have enough insurance.
Does Root offer full coverage?
Yes, you can get full coverage through Root. Full coverage policies typically include liability plus collision and comprehensive coverage.
However, a full coverage policy doesn’t include every kind of coverage — you may pay extra for coverage like rental car reimbursement.
Can I bundle insurance policies with Root?
Yes, Root offers renters insurance and home policies in a select number of states. You get 5% off renters insurance premiums if you bundle car and renters insurance, or 10% off your home insurance by bundling car and home policies.
However, before buying Root home insurance, you have to start a car insurance policy with the company first.
What does the Root app look like?
Root car insurance reviews and complaints
Overall, customers have a positive experience with Root Insurance, especially with their rates — a few say they’ve saved over $100 a month.
Negative reviews focus on inaccurate driving scores during the test drive and billing issues. As of October 2020, Root earns a little under 2 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
However, two signs of solid customer support is its A+ BBB rating and its accreditation by the agency. The high rating shows that Root reps have replied to negative complaints on the site.
Compare Root to other companies
Root isn’t the only usage-based insurance company. Drivers have saved up to 40% with telematics policies from national companies, like Progressive Snapshot, Allstate DriveWise, Liberty Mutual RightTrack or Nationwide SmartRide.
Consider your options before deciding which is for you.
How does Root car insurance work?
Like many usage-based or telematics insurers, Root sets your rates based on how you drive. Using your smartphone’s accelerometer and GPS, the Root app determines your speed, mileage, hours driven, braking distance and more.
While factors like age and marital status are considered, your driving score is weighed more heavily than with traditional car insurance companies. Safe, low-mileage drivers often report that they save a lot of money by switching to Root, as do young or high-risk drivers who can’t get low rates elsewhere.
WATCH: Is Root car insurance the best out there?
How much is Root car insurance?
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.
To a lesser extent, Root also considers your driving record, certain demographics and your overall credit history — factors that more traditional insurers use. However, Root has nixed including occupation and education in your score, and it plans to cut credit score from its rating factors by 2025.
If your driving doesn’t meet Root’s requirements, Root won’t offer a price or let you open a policy. You can’t retake your test drive to sign up, a letdown if you don’t have another car insurance option lined up.
Am I covered while I take the test drive?
That depends. Most drivers can’t get instant coverage. If you’re insured but are considering options, stick with your current insurer until you complete the test drive, which could take up to 30 days.
Some qualifying drivers will get 60 days of temporary coverage while they complete the test drive. If you like your final rate and experience with Root, you can cancel your current insurance and let your lender know you’ve switched directly through the Root app.
How long does the test drive take?
You typically complete your test drive in two to four weeks. You can check on your time left in the app. Some drivers report getting a quote after a week or two, while others go as long as six weeks. The average is three weeks, depending on how much you drive.
Common questions about Root car insurance
Car insurance ratings
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★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
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