If you are a good driver then you might want to be rewarded for your driving behaviors – and Root Car Insurance does just that by offering policies and coverage options tailored for good drivers.
Founded in 2015, Root is a unique insurance provider that uses telematics to gauge your driving behaviors and set the rate of your premiums. Available in over 30 states, Root offers everything you might need from your car insurance coverage but it functions differently from traditional providers. The better you are on the road, the higher your chances of getting a low rate. Root even claims that drivers can save over 50% with its insurance policies.
Everyone wants to be able to save on car insurance, even more so if they have a clean record. Root may be different from other car insurance companies – but if you dig deeper, you might find it to be just right for you.
How does Root Insurance work?
The biggest question people have about this provider is, “how does Root work?”
Root Insurance produces quotes and adjusts existing customers’ rates based on data collected through telematic technology. You have probably heard other insurance companies talk about telematics as part of a discount incentive program, but they do not use it to set your rates, which is what Root does. To put it simply, Telematics is essentially a way to see how your car is behaving using GPS.
To get a quote from Root, you must first download the Root mobile app to your Android or Apple smartphone and carry it with you while you drive. You will then do a 2-3 week “test drive” while the app collects and sends data about your driving behavior back to Root.
Using your phone’s GPS, the mobile app collects data on:
- The time of day you drive
- How fast you make turns
- How you accelerate
- How you stop
- How well you follow road rules
After the test-drive period, Root will send you a quote if it likes what it sees.
Root Insurance coverage
Root car insurance offers a full lineup of auto coverages, including:
- Bodily injury liability coverage: This coverage pays for medical expenses, lost wages or funeral expenses of other drivers or passengers when you are at fault for an accident.
- Property damage liability: This is to pay for the damage to another driver’s car or property such as fences and mailboxes when you are at fault for an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage: This type of insurance pays for damage to your vehicle not caused in an automobile accident. For example, if a tree limb falls on your car and smashes the hood, your comprehensive coverage will pay for the repair. Comprehensive insurance also pays to replace stolen vehicles.
- Medical payments coverage: This pays the medical expenses of you and your family, regardless of who is at fault for an accident. If another driver is at fault for an accident, their bodily injury coverage will pay your medical expenses first and your medical payments coverage will kick in if costs exceed the other driver’s liability limit.
- Personal injury protection: This pays the medical bills, lost income or funeral costs of you and your passengers, regardless of who is responsible for an accident. Unlike medical payments coverage, many states require PIP insurance.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage: This coverage will pay your medical expenses if an uninsured or underinsured driver is at fault for an accident. Currently, Washington D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia require UM/UIM insurance.
- Rental car coverage: This pays for a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop following an accident. Root also allows you to choose Lyft credits in lieu of a car rental.
- Roadside assistance: Root includes this coverage in all policies to pay for service fees associated with emergencies such as flat tires, jump starts or dead batteries.
Like traditional car insurance companies, Root allows you to choose the amount of coverage you want and set deductible limits.
Except for reduced rates based on good driving habits, good telematic reports and low mileage, Root does not offer discounts. It believes customers shouldn’t have to work or apply for them. It believes they should happen automatically.
Root Insurance ratings, reviews, customer satisfaction and complaints
Rating services such as Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and AM Best have not produced financial ratings for Root, so there aren’t that many professional Root car insurance reviews.
According to an August 2019 Wall Street Journal report, Root secured $350 million in funding from Coatue Management and DST Global, elevating its valuation to $3.65 billion. If and when AM Best reviews Root, this should help significantly.
The Better Business Bureau gives Root an A+ rating but there are 138 customer reviews primarily consisting of complaints. Most complaints filed with the BBB against Root center on rate increases without notice or discernible reasons. Some customers report that Root is reluctant to pay out claims. Other customers point to failures in the Root app, claiming that the technology cannot distinguish when a user is a driver or passenger (though Root refutes this). One Root insurance review claimed her Root driving score drastically dropped after riding in a rideshare vehicle.
Though S&P hasn’t officially given Root a rating, it has taken notice of it. A report by S&P Global states that Root still has a long road ahead of it before it can reach true profitability, but that it is presently “growing like a weed” in many states. For now, S&P says that Root is adequately capitalized and that it has made several smart decisions recently to scale back that will help its growth and longevity in the years ahead. Expect a formal grade in the not-so-distant future from S&P as Root continues to grow.
Lastly, overall Root insurance reviews for the app are good. On the Apple store it has 4.7 out of 5 stars with almost 44K votes. On Google, 30,000 votes have given Root an average rating of 3.8 out of 5.
Though these are officially Root Insurance reviews for the app, they shouldn’t be taken lightly as Root is an app-based company. All customer feedback about the app is ultimately feedback about the company itself.
Top reasons to consider Root Insurance
Root says, “30% of drivers cause nearly 45% of all accident costs.” This means that Root does not want to penalize a good driver just because there are bad drivers on the road.
Most people are accustomed to discount programs from their car insurance company that help them reduce their rates for getting good grades, taking a defensive driving course or bundling their insurance policies, but Root Auto Insurance does not offer any of these options. It is just a straightforward auto insurance company that lowers rates for maintaining good driving habits.
With that in mind, Root auto insurance is best suited for people who are comfortable with an app-based insurance company. While Root does staff a call center to field customer calls, they encourage policyholders to communicate through the mobile app, even when filing a claim.
Root may be a newer insurance company, but it has a lot to recommend it. Because Root’s system determines rates based on driving habits, it is virtually impossible to conduct an apples-to-apples comparison with other car insurance providers.
Frequently asked questions
What information is needed to get a quote from Root Insurance?
To obtain a quote, you must drive your car with the Root app on your smartphone for two or three weeks. After the Root system has obtained enough information to form an opinion about your driving habits, it will send you a quote. If Root does not like the data it receives about your driving habits, it will not insure you.
How do I file a claim with Root?
Root Auto Insurance encourages customers to file claims through the Root app. Using the app, you can describe the type of damage sustained and take photos to send to the claims department. Root also offers phone and email support.
Does Root know if I’m the passenger?
Yes, the Root Insurance Company is able to use machine learning to know when you are driving and when you are not driving. For that matter, it also knows if you are riding a bike or taking the subway. It only ever records data when you yourself are driving.