fbpx

Root Insurance Review

see how Root Insurance compares

1 Minute Review

Root’s “user-based insurance” model claims to reward drivers who stay safe on the road and practice good driving habits — and you can save 52% when you switch. However, what defines a “good” driver isn’t clear from Root’s website, and Root reserves the right to drop you from your policy if you get involved in a “series of accidents.” Root is best for infrequent drivers and drivers with a totally clean record.

Best For

  • Infrequent drivers
  • Drivers without accidents on their record
  • Drivers who don’t travel long distances

Pros

  • Many coverage types available
  • Comprehensive mobile app
  • Free roadside assistance included with every policy
  • User-based insurance model means safe and infrequent drivers save more.

Cons

  • Opaque customer service hours
  • No clearly defined discounts
  • Must complete a “test drive,” which lasts up to a month before you get a quote
  • No policies available for “high-risk” drivers
  • Not available in all states
Benzinga Money is a reader-supported publication. We may earn a commission when you click on links in this article. Learn more.

Root uses a unique user-based insurance model intended to reward safe drivers with lower premiums. But is this model right for you? Our Root insurance review goes over the facts.

Who’s Root Insurance for?

You’ll find that you need to meet specific requirements to be a Root customer. Do you fall into one or more of these categories? 

  • You have a clean record. Root keeps its premiums low by not insuring high-risk drivers. 
  • You’re a safe driver. Root rewards drivers who follow the speed limit, drive during safe hours and avoid sudden stops and starts. Root reserves the right to cancel your policy if you get involved in a series of accidents. 
  • You prefer app-based claims. You can only submit a claim through Root’s app. 

Root Insurance Products

Here are the different types of products Root offers: 

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: Covers the medical bills of anyone you physically injure in an automobile accident. Bodily injury liability coverage is required by law in all states.
  • Property damage liability coverage: Covers repair bills for any damage you cause to property in the course of an automobile accident. It’s required by law in all states.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage liability coverage: Compensates you for damage done to your property if you’re involved in a collision with a driver who doesn’t have insurance. It’s required in some states.
  • Personal injury protection: Compensates you for your medical bills and lost wages if you’re involved in an accident and unable to work. Required in some states.
  • Medical payments coverage: Compensates you for your medical bills after an accident, no matter who caused the collision. Medical payments coverage is required in some states.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage: Compensates you for your medical bills if you’re injured by a driver on the road without insurance.
  • Collision coverage: Compensates you for damage done to your vehicle during an accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Compensates you for damage done to your vehicle in a non-collision context. Some common examples include damage incurred during a fire, damage from an animal or collateral damage from a protest or political demonstration.
  • Rental coverage: Covers the cost of renting a vehicle while your car is being repaired.
  • Roadside assistance: Coverage for a roadside assistance program like AAA. These programs can assist you in non-emergency situations — for example, if your car runs out of gas, a roadside assistance program can bring you fuel. 

Standard Root Insurance Coverages

You probably already know that you need some kind of car insurance to legally stay on the road. However, the specific coverages you need vary depending on your state. Root Auto Insurance is available in 29 states — if you live in one of the areas Root serves, Root has policies available with your state minimum coverage.

Standard insurance coverage varies by state because each state has minimum coverage requirements that drivers must meet. You can also customize your policy by adding optional add-on coverages, such as rental coverage and comprehensive coverage.

Available Discounts and Tips to Get the Best Rates

Here’s how Root’s user-based insurance system works:

First, you’ll download the Root app on your phone. You’ll scan your driver’s license and sign up for an account. From there, you’ll begin a “test drive” period and Root will monitor your driving habits. Simply bring your phone along with you when you hit the road and the app will automatically collect data. Your test-drive period will last for 3 to 4 weeks, after which you’ll get your quote. It’s a system based on the idea that drivers who put fewer miles on their car are less likely to file an insurance claim and pay less for coverage. This can result in cheap car insurance policies for the best drivers. 

Unlike other car insurance companies, Root doesn’t list a set of standard discounts on its website. Instead, the company claims to “tailor a discount” to the policyholder after you complete their test drive. This can be frustrating for drivers looking for particular ways to save, but Root claims that policyholders can save up to 52% when they switch to Root.

Here are some tips for getting the best rate on your Root Insurance quote during your test drive period:

  • Avoid sudden starts and stops. Root’s motion sensors can detect when you start and stop your vehicle. Suddenly speeding or slamming on your breaks will raise your premium.
  • Drive defensively. The best way to make sure that you don’t get into an accident is to drive defensively. Keep your eyes on the road at all times, avoid distractions (like texts and food) and follow the posted speed limit.  
  • Follow the rules of the road. Root doesn’t insure “high-risk drivers” in order to keep its premiums down for good drivers. Read up on your local laws and follow them to avoid being labeled a hazardous driver. 

Common Root Insurance Coverage Selections

The 3 most common coverage packages that drivers choose include the following:

  • State minimum: The bare minimum insurance required to drive in your state, it includes both property damage liability coverage and bodily injury liability coverage in every state. State minimum may also include personal injury protection, medical bills coverage and uninsured motorist property damage liability coverage if your state requires it.
  • Standard coverage: The term “standard coverage” usually refers to a car insurance package that includes both state minimum coverage and collision coverage.
  • Full coverage: Root’s full coverage package includes state minimum coverage, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.

All Root policies (no matter the coverage level) include roadside assistance for free. 

Claims Support

Root allows you to file a claim through the app at any time of day or night. Its claims process is available 24/7, which can be useful for drivers who work during standard business hours and who cannot take time to call and file a claim.

Open the Root app and click on the claims support button to file a claim. From there, you’ll answer a few quick questions about the circumstances of the accident (a description of the event, what on your vehicle is damaged, etc.).

You’ll also snap a photo of the damage done to your vehicle and submit it with your claim. Filing a claim takes very little time and you don’t need to call anyone or go online to make a claim. You may only file claims through the app, which can be frustrating for drivers who prefer a more human-centric model.

After you submit your claim in the app, Root will review the claim and follow up with you through the app’s messaging system and through email. Root claims to email you at every step of the insurance claims process and will follow up with you if you have questions. From there, you’ll receive a check in the mail after your claim is approved.  

Pricing and Value

Root Insurance takes a number of steps to lower prices. First, the company tracks your driving habits using its user-based insurance model. This means that if you drive less, you’ll pay less for coverage. However, if you drive more often or your job involves traveling long distances, Root might not be right for you. You can get the best possible rate by making sure that you drive particularly carefully during your test-drive period.

What exactly constitutes a high-risk driver? It isn’t defined on Root’s site, but Root does reserve the right to cancel your policy if you’re involved in a series of accidents. You may not qualify for a policy at all if you’ve been involved in an accident or have infractions on your driving record.

You’ll likely be able to save when you switch to Root if you’re a careful driver— but it’s difficult to verify Root’s 52% savings claim because the company is so new.  

Customer Support 

Root offers customer support via phone and email.

  • Email: help@joinroot.com
  • Call 1-866-980-9431

Root doesn’t list specific hours of availability on its website and only mentions calling the customer service team “during business hours.” Root does claim to return all emails within 24 hours. 

Is Root Right for You?

Is Root the best car insurance for you? The answer lies in how much you drive and your driving record. If you’re the type of vehicle owner who only drives to school or work, you’ll likely be able to get a discount with Root’s user-based insurance model. However, your job or lifestyle may require you to drive late at night or very long distances. If you’re a frequent driver or you work odd hours, Root may return a higher premium even if you’re a safe driver. Finally, you may not qualify for a policy at all if you have marks or infractions on your driving record.