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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.
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. It’s also a good option for young drivers who haven’t yet established a solid record of responsible driving.
Signup takes minutes, eliminating the need for endless questions many national providers ask. Instead, Root tracks your driving via its innovative app,and after two to three weeks, it recommends a policy it thinks will work best for you.
Where is Root Insurance available?
Root plans to launch in Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina and South Carolina soon. Root has added four new states in the past six 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.
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.
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.
Pros and cons of Root car insurance
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.
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 email@example.com.
Limited states. Root services 20 states only at the time of writing, though it plans to roll out nationwide in 2019.
How to apply for Root Insurance
To get started with your test drive, download Root Insurance’s free app and sign up in minutes.
Go to Root Insurance’s site and click Get the app at upper right.
Enter your phone number and click Text me a link to the app.
After you download the app, open it and click Get started.
Choose whether you’d like to set up your account by email or through Facebook.
Adjust your settings to enable location, motion and notifications.
Scan your driver’s license and provide your personal contact information.
Start your two- to three-week test drive period, which monitors your driving through GPS.
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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claims assistance. Call 844-867-2514 at any time.
Roadside assistance. Call 855-982-1720 at any time.
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.
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.
Alternatives to Root Insurance
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.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, Root Insurance is a legitimate insurance company accredited by the BBB. 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.
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.
Root Insurance uses an app-tracked test drive to weed out drivers it considers too risky, monitoring how you brake, turn and accelerate over the course of a few weeks.
By not insuring high-risk drivers, Root deals with fewer claims, passing along the savings through lower rates on your policy.
You won’t know if Root can save you money until after you complete its test drive. After two to three weeks of the app monitoring your driving behavior, you’ll see a quote. Many Root policyholders say they’ve saved 50% or more on their previous rate.
Yes, as long as they live at your same address. To add another drive, edit your profile in the app.
Other drivers you add to your policy receive a text message encouraging them to download the app and start their test drive. When everyone on the account finishes their test drives, you’ll get your quote.
No. But Root encourages everyone to take a test drive to qualify for the lowest rate you’re eligible for.
As with all other business you’ll conduct with Root, you’ll start a claim through the app on your phone:
In the app, tap File a Claim to start the process.
Add requested information about your accident — including insurance information for other involved parties — uploading photos of the damage to submit with your claim.
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.
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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