Root Car Insurance Review

If you are a high-risk driver, such as a teenager, you still can score low car insurance rates like your grandparents if you practice good driving habits.

J.D. Power Rating
3/5
AM Best Rating
N/A
Standard & Poor’s
N/A
SimpleScore
3 / 5.0
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SimpleScore Root 3
Discounts 1
Coverage Options 3
Customer Satisfaction N/A
Support 4
Accessibility 4
  • Very affordable rates
  • Good mobile app
  • Roadside assistance included
  • Poor customer satisfaction ratings
  • Lacks certain coverage options like gap insurance and rideshare insurance

Founded in 2015, Ohio-based Root Insurance Company takes a novel approach in offering car insurance. Instead of basing car insurance rates solely on individualized personal factors such as age, credit score and driving history, Root evaluates your driving history over a few weeks before offering you a rate quote. For good drivers, the payoff can be really low rates, up to 52% lower per Root.

To see how Root stacks up to its competitors, we used SimpleScore to evaluate its affordability, coverage options, customer satisfaction, support and accessibility. While Root receives strong ratings for affordability, it’s noticeably lacking in customer satisfaction.

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    In this article

      Root Auto Insurance at a glance 

      In businessSince 2015
      States served30
      Best forGood drivers wanting low rates
      Not forDrivers who prioritize good customer service
      Standout featuresFile a claim in the app/online/by phone 24/7 claims supportOnce approved, quick claims payment
      Available bundlesHome, renters and auto

      [ Read: Where to Find Financial Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic ]

      What we like about Root auto insurance 

      When considering Root car insurance, review these benefits as part of your evaluation.

      Affordable car insurance rates 

      Once you prove your good driving habits, Root will reward you with cheaper car insurance rates than many of its competitors. To show off those good driving habits, you will have to take a test drive that can last several weeks, so receiving a quote won’t be instantaneous.

      A user-friendly smartphone app 

      Root monitors your driving habits — things like focused driving, smooth braking, gentle turning and the time of day you drive — through its smartphone app. Using the app, you also can make changes to your policy, get proof of your car insurance, make premium payments and file a claim.

      Free roadside assistance 

      While many car insurance companies charge extra for roadside assistance, Root includes free roadside assistance with every policy. Therefore, you won’t be stuck on the road for long if you have a flat tire, run out of gas, have a dead battery or lock your keys in the car.

      [ Read: What Are the Consequences of Driving Without Insurance?

      Things to consider

      While cheap car insurance rates are wonderful, they can be offset by poor customer service or claims resolution.

      Poor customer service 

      Root is not praised for quality customer service. In fact, the Root customer complaint ratio from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is 2.23 for 2019, more than twice the national median complaint ratio of 1. Also, customers on the Better Business Bureau site give Root just 1.75 stars out of 5.

      Lack of key coverage options 

      While Root does offer most of the basic types of car insurance coverage — liability, comprehensive, collision, medical — it lacks some other key coverage options. These include  gap insurance, which offers additional coverage on new vehicles to cover car loans in the event of an accident, and rideshare insurance for drivers who use their personal vehicles to transport others.

      Root auto insurance vs. the competition 

      In this review, Root car insurance does offer some of the lowest car insurance rates available compared to its competitors. However, it may not always be the lowest, which is why you should shop around for personalized quotes. Other factors such as quality customer service, reputable claims resolution and a more complete range of coverage options may lead you to choose a car insurance policy with a different car insurance company.

      State Farm may be expensive but with the nation’s largest provider you can protect you and your car.

      J.D. Power Rating
      4/5
      AM Best Rating
      A++
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA
      SimpleScore
      4.6 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore State Farm 4.6
      Affordability 4
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 5
      Accessibility 5

      The nation’s largest car insurance company, State Farm delivers a full range of car insurance coverage options along with quality customer service. According to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, State Farm took third place for providing a satisfying purchase experience. However, the company doesn’t always offer the lowest car insurance rates, which means this company may not fit well within your budget.

      Progressive offers low prices, but the real cost may be in lackluster customer service.

      J.D. Power Rating
      3/5
      AM Best Rating
      A+
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA
      SimpleScore
      4.2 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Progressive 4.2
      Discounts 4
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 3
      Support 5
      Accessibility 4

      When shopping for low car insurance rates, particularly for low-income car insurance shoppers, Progressive offers many discounts to help reduce the cost of your car insurance policy. In addition, they offer a variety of coverage, including some speciality options such as pet coverage and custom parts and equipment coverage. However, according to customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau site, customer service is not great, garnering just 1 of 5 stars.

      USAA offers great rats and great coverage, making it a no-brainer for a veteran or military family.

      J.D. Power Rating
      5/5
      AM Best Rating
      A++
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA+
      SimpleScore
      4.6 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore USAA 4.6
      Discounts 3
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 5
      Support 5
      Accessibility 5

      The fifth-largest auto insurance company in the country, USAA offers unmatched customer service and low rates. It consistently ranks high by such notable sources as J.D. Power and Consumer Reports for customer satisfaction and best car insurance companies. The drawback? USAA is only available to active and retired members of the military and their families. As such, most car insurance shoppers won’t qualify to receive coverage from USAA.

      [ Read: Steps to Switch Car Insurance Companies

      Root auto insurance rates 

      For good drivers, Root auto insurance can offer some very affordable rates. The better your driving habits, the lower your rates could be. Unlike many other car insurance companies that offer annual renewals, Root renews your policy every six months, leaving it open to increased premiums more often than with other companies. These increases could be the result of declining good driving habits, changes in your policy or location, or risk actuarial changes on the company side. Another cost consideration, you will need either an iPhone or a specific Android phone to run the Root app.

      Root auto insurance’s coverage 

      • Full/basic coverage: Root offers the state minimum for both bodily injury and property damage liability coverage as well as optional collision and comprehensive coverage.
      • Medical coverage: With personal injury protection, medical payments and uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury, this coverage helps pay the expenses for you and your family members if you are hurt in an accident.
      • Rental car coverage: If your car is damaged in an accident, this option provides reimbursement for a rental car or Lyft rides.
      • Uninsured motorist property damage: If someone without insurance damages your personal property, this coverage will help cover the cost of repairs.
      • Roadside assistance: Free with every policy, this provides assistance if you run out of gas, have a flat tire or your battery is dead.

      Root auto insurance discounts 

      Root says it doesn’t offer discounts, stating every available discount is automatically built into your insurance quote. That being said, Root does offer a Focused Driver Discount of 10% for drivers who avoid cell phone use while driving. Also, if you have homeowners or renters insurance with Root, you can bundle your homeowners and auto insurance to save 10% or your renters and auto insurance to save 5%. As an alternative, you can earn up to $1,000 per year by referring others to Root.

      How to submit a claim with Root Auto Insurance 

      It’s possible your Root auto insurance rates could go up after filing a claim for an accident. To file a claim, complete these steps.

      1. Open the app, and tap the “Claims and Roadside” card at the bottom of the home screen.
      2. Select “File a claim,” and answer questions related to your accident.
      3. Using the app, add photos of your vehicle documenting the damage. 
      4. A claims associate will reach out to you to go over your claim and discuss the next steps.
      5. The claims department will email you throughout the process to keep you updated, plus you can check claims status in the app at any time.
      6. After rendering an estimate for repairs, you will receive a check or electronic payment to complete your claim.

      Compare Affordable Auto Insurance Rates

      Save money on auto coverage with our simple comparison tool.

      Matching you with providers.
      We found results in
      Click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

        Root auto insurance online and mobile app 

        The Root app is the primary tool for doing business with Root auto insurance. The app is required to evaluate your driving habits, which plays a key role in determining your car insurance rates. You also can use the app to manage and customize your car insurance policy, make changes to your policy, make premium payments, and file and track claims.

        Root home, renters and auto insurance

        A new player in the insurance industry, Root just recently started offering homeowners and renters insurance. As such, homeowners and renters insurance is still quite limited, with homeowners insurance available in only 13 states and renters insurance available in just eight states. Root does offer discounts for bundling your car and homeowners or renters insurance. If you have Root car insurance, you can receive 10% off your homeowners insurance and 5% off your renters insurance.

        Root auto insurance in the news  

        • In an August 2020 Car and Driver article, Root announced it would stop using credit scores when determining car insurance rates. In the article, Root says it believes some Americans are “discriminated against by car insurance companies to the tune of $1,500 or more in additional premium payments a year,” the result of poor credit scores, which can be influenced by systemic racism. 
        • In June 2020, Root announced it was expanding its insurance offerings to include homeowners insurance in 13 states. Per the BusinessWire article, “The launch of Root Home marks the further evolution of the products available through Root’s industry-leading mobile platform, which also includes auto and renters insurance.”
        • In a 2018 article, The Hustle reported Root raised $100 million to increase its valuation to $1 billion, which the company planned to use the extra funds to expand its presence into all 50 states plus hire more employees.

        We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the car insurance companies we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

        Methodology

        SimpleScore

        The SimpleScore makes it easy to compare products and services featured here on The Simple Dollar in a transparent, open and honest way. We rate these products and services using five factors and average them to calculate a single SimpleScore. For auto insurance, we compare:

        • Discounts
        • Coverage options
        • Support
        • Customer satisfaction
        • Accessibility

        You can read more about each factor and the details of each score in our auto insurance methodology. Use our ratings and editorial recommendations as you shop for the best auto insurance that fits your coverage needs.

        Car insurance rates: We used insurance rates from Quadrant Information Services. This includes analyzing thousands of rates from all 50 states that were publicly sourced from 2019 insurer filings. Rates are based on a 30-year-old male or female that had a clean driving record. Full Coverage premiums assumed a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible, and we looked at those who had both good and poor credit. These rates should be used to inform your car insurance shopping process, but your own quote may differ.

        Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

        To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.
        However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare State Farm’s home insurance according to our criteria for the best home insurance, it scores a 3.8 out of 5. But when we compare State Farm according to the criteria for the best auto insurance, it scores higher, since the features the company offers can vary by the type of insurance.

        Discounts

        We looked at the number of discounts each company offers — more discounts mean a higher score.

        Coverage Options

        We awarded higher scores to the companies that have the most coverage options.

        Support

        We awarded higher scores to lenders with the most channels for customer support.

        Customer Satisfaction

        We leveraged the J.D. Power 2019 Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each company. (If a company wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)

        Accessibility

        We looked at the level of accessibility of each company –– the more resources they have the higher their score.

        Reviewed by

        • Nashalie Addarich
          Nashalie Addarich
          Insurance Editor

          Nasha Addarich is an editor at The Simple Dollar and a former attorney who specializes in home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, and savings. She is a former contributing editor to Reviews.com.