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Root car insurance review 2021

See dramatic savings if you’re a safe driver, but rates can change based on how you drive.

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.

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, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Roadside assistance Included free
Accident forgiveness Yes
New car protection No
Pay schedule 6 months, monthly
Claims methods Online, Email, Phone
Rideshare coverage Yes
SR-22 support Yes

Pros

  • Low, transparent rates
  • Rewards good drivers
  • Free roadside help
  • Fast claims

Cons

  • Not every driver can qualify
  • Not available nationwide
  • App-based 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 Yes
Avatar

Review by


Sarah George is a writer at Finder who unravels complicated topics about insurance, business and finance. She's been wordsmithing for nearly five years, after earning an English education degree. Her insurance know-how has been featured on CarInsurance.com. You can usually find Sarah sipping hot tea and talking through movie plots in her downtime.

Expert review

Founded in 2015, Root Insurance is a legitimate pay-as-you-go insurance company accredited by the BBB and backed by state insurance funds, just like national insurers.

What we like about Root is that its prices are weighted heavily on your test drive. This means that you get the chance to prove you’re a safe driver, even if traditional insurers lump you in high-risk groups based on your age, gender or credit score.

We also like that Root reportedly saves many customers hundreds of dollars a month with wider coverage than they had previously.

On the other hand, if your driving’s not up to snuff, Root will decline to offer you a policy after your test drive. The same goes for your driving over time — if you start braking hard, speeding or you get in a car accident, expect your rates to jump up. And the insurer doesn’t always have the best claims experience.

If you’re a safe driver who’s looking for bottom-dollar rates and wide coverage, it’s worth going through the test drive to get a quote for free.

This article was reviewed by Andrew Flueckiger, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and certified insurance counselor and licensed insurance agent in five states.

How to get a free quote for Root car insurance

Since Root is an app-based insurance company, you’ll get started through its intuitive app, which monitors your driving and offers insights while you’re waiting for your quote. Follow this step-by-step process to start your test drive.

  1. 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.
  2. Set up the app. Log in and enable your location, motion and notifications. Scan your driver’s license and fill in any details.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Get your custom rate. If your score meets Root’s application standards, the app calculates an auto insurance quote and recommends your coverage.

What discounts can I get with Root?

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. But 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 does the Root app look like?

Root customer reviews and complaints

Overall, Root sees mixed customer reviews about drivers’ experience with the company, though it also has a high number of customer complaints. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives the company an A+ rating and accreditation that suggest it’s dealt properly with negative complaints.

However, Root holds a 1.84 score on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint index. The national standard is 1.00, and anything above that shows complaints are higher than normal.

Specifically, many online reviewers say that they’ve saved as much as $100 a month or over $1,000 a year, with dramatic savings and robust coverage that’s much higher than they had with past companies. But a number of customers see their rates rise after a few months or experience unexpected billing charges or hard-to-reach customer service during the claims process.

Our star rating for Root, explained

Our car insurance experts rate Root slightly above average because of its wide coverage, offering rental car reimbursement and including roadside assistance for free in most states. We also like that Root holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, showing that it handles complaints in a timely manner. But Root’s low to average customer ratings hurt its overall score.

Compare Root auto insurance to other companies

Root isn’t the only telematics insurance company available — you can see discounts up to 40% if you go with Allstate Drivewise. If you’re looking for the cheapest rates overall with wide coverage, Progressive Snapshot is worth a quote.

But if you want to focus on the steepest savings for low mileage, a pay-per-mile policy with Metromile might be your best bet.

These days, most major insurers offer some sort of telematics discount. Consider your options and select Get quotes to see your customized coverage and rates.

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Safe driver discount Available states
Allstate
Optional
13%
All 50 states
Your dedicated agent can help you find the best savings with multiple discounts and rewards programs.
The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford
Optional
Yes
All 50 states
Enjoy low rates for mature drivers, plus perks like new car replacement and lifetime repair guarantees. Only for drivers over age 50.
USAA
Optional
Yes
All 50 states
Affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service. Only available to military members and veterans and their family.
Savvy
Optional
Depends on provider
Yes
All states & DC
Get quotes in 30-seconds from 100+ companies, and save an average of $800 or more per year. Requires online login to your existing insurance.
Assurance
Optional
Yes
All states except AK & HI
This broker shines with over 600 positive customer reviews, more top ratings than any broker we've compared.
Root
52%
Available in 31 states
Track your driving to receive a low rate that reflects your driving skills, and enjoy a fully app-based policy experience.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How does Root car insurance work?

Like many usage-based or telematics insurance, Root sets your rates based on how you drive. First, you’ll prove your driving skills with a test drive through its app that monitors your driving habits for a few weeks. Then you’ll get a rate based on how much and how well you drive.

Using your smartphone’s accelerometer and GPS, the Root app determines your speed, mileage, hours driven and braking distance.

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.

WATCH: Is Root car insurance the best out there?

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. And the free roadside assistance is a perk that you’d typically pay for with other insurers.

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.
  • Full coverage. You can get full coverage with Root — this term means that you have liability, comprehensive and collision coverage on your policy. But full coverage doesn’t include other types of coverage.
  • 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.

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 affects my rates with Root?

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, and the app estimates how much time you have left in the test period. 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.

Car insurance ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — 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

    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?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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

    Default Gravatar
    Chris
    April 16, 2019

    Can I get a sr22

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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

    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?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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 and has hundreds of reviews from active policyholders. Thousands of people have used Root.

      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. 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

    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?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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

    Default Gravatar
    Josh
    February 17, 2019

    Does Root cover motorcycles?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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 can use our motorcycle insurance Finder to see other motorcycle insurers.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

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