Root Car Insurance Review 2020

Root Car Insurance is making waves in the car insurance industry as a car insurance smartphone application, where insurance rates are based on customer driving habits. Not only is this a great option for tech-savvy customers, it’s also known for its low car insurance rates and the ability to help you save up to 52%.

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

Whether Root Insurance is right for you depends on your car insurance needs and if you’re willing to wait a few weeks for a quote. If you’re truly a good driver with safe driving habits, Root may be worthwhile. If not, you may want to consider other options. While coverage is simple, remember that The Root has the ability to save you upwards of 52% savings, that’s better estimated savings than any of the other usage-based insurance tools that are considered competition. The only way to know for sure is to download the app, take the driving test and start saving.

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    In this article

      How does Root Car Insurance work?

      To begin, drivers simply download the Root Insurance app to their iPhone or Android and drive normally for two to three weeks. The app for car insurance gathers and analyzes data while you drive to determine your Root Insurance quote. The app looks at your breaking habits, what time of day you drive, turning habits and avoidance of sudden starts and stops. All of these factors are considered into consideration when your rate is calculated, so the better you drive, the more money you can save.

      Root Car Insurance at a glance

      • Root Insurance uses your iPhone or Android to measure your driving behavior for two or three weeks to determine your car insurance rate.
      • Roadside assistance is included with every policy.
      • Root offers a coverage quiz that recommends the right coverage plan for you.
      • Customize your plan and make changes at any time through the app.
      • The quote process takes a long time compared to other insurance providers, but happy customers agree that the wait is worth it based on how much money they save.
      • Root insurance customer service has over 26,000 reviews, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

      The specs

      PricePrice varies depending on customer driving habits. Your driving behavior is the number one factor in your calculated rate.
      Best ForPeople looking for cheap car insurance
      People with good driving habits and an excellent driving record
      Students looking for an affordable car insurance plan
      People interested in personalized car insurance quotes
      Tech-savvy customers who don’t mind a mobile experience
      Not ForResidents living in any of the 20 states where Root is unavailable
      People looking for a quick quote
      People in need of specialized coverage
      People uncomfortable with being insured by a new company
      States served30
      Better Business Bureau ratingA+
      In business since2015
      Standout featuresEntire insurance experience is based on the app
      Discounts are built into your quote instead of customers asking for them or having to earn them
      No agents are required, all work is done through The Root app
      Savings up to 52%
      Easy process for filing claims

      The claim

      Root claims to help customers save up to 52% on their car insurance. Unlike most traditional car insurance companies, Root advertises that customers can completely control their policy from the app for a hassle-free experience. You can make instant adjustments based on what you’d like to add or leave off, customers simply open the app to modify plans without having to talk to an agent.

      Is it true?

      Based on Root insurance reviews, the company saves most customers a substantial amount of money compared to their prior insurance provider. Some customers claim to have saved over 50%, with one customer even commenting that Root cut his car insurance rate in half. Other customers have saved anywhere from $40 a month to $100 a month on their coverage. As far as a completely mobile-friendly policy experience, there are no complaints reported to the Better Business Bureau that contradict what’s advertised on their website.

      Our Deep Dive

      • Best rates for the best drivers: The Root app uses mobile technology to measure your driving habits during The Root Test Drive. If you’re interested in obtaining a quote from The Root, all you have to do it download the app and drive as you normally would for two to three weeks. While you drive, the app gathers data and provides you with a quote at the end of the test drive based primarily on your driving habits. During the test drive, your provided with a Driver Scorecard that helps you improve your driving so you can obtain a better rate.
      • You control coverage from the app without a middle man: Customers have complete control over their coverage plan through The Root app, without having to discuss changes with an agent. Policyholders can access and edit their plan at any time by simply opening the app on their smartphone. However, your premiums may change if you decide to make changes, but price differences will be shown to you before any permanent changes are made.
      • Five-minute claim submission: Root focuses on simplifying the process of claim submission by including every single step inside the app, including access to your insurance card.
      • Customizable coverage: The Root offers liability coverage, car coverage (with roadside assistance included in every policy), medical coverage and “full coverage” which includes bodily injury, property damage, collision and comprehensive. You can take their coverage quiz to get a recommended coverage plan or build your own based on the coverage options above.

      Root auto insurance coverage options

      Root offers complete coverage for your vehicle to give you peace of mind on the road. These are the coverages that you can purchase through Root insurance:

      • Liability coverage: If you cause an accident, liability coverage helps you pay to repair the other person’s car or their medical expenses. Root’s liability insurance also includes bodily injury and property damage coverage.
      • Car coverage: If something happens to your car, Root’s car coverage will help you pay to repair or replace it. Car coverage comes with standard projections, including collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist property damage and rental car insurance.
      • Medical coverage: If you or one of your passengers were injured in an accident, medical coverage can help pay for medical bills. This includes personal injury protection, medical payments and uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage.
      • Roadside assistance: All of Root’s auto insurance policies include roadside assistance for unexpected breakdowns or car trouble.

      Other Root Features

      The best rates for the best drivers

      The Root app uses mobile technology to measure your driving habits during Root Test Drive. If you’re interested in obtaining a quote from The Root, all you have to do is download the app and drive as you normally would for two to three weeks.
      While you drive, the app gathers data and provides you with a quote at the end of the test drive based primarily on your driving habits. During the test drive, you are provided with a Driver Scorecard that helps you improve your driving so you can obtain a better rate.

      You control coverage from the app for car insurance without a middle man

      Customers have complete control over their coverage plan through the Root app without having to discuss changes with an agent. Policyholders can access and edit their plan at any time by simply opening the app on their smartphone.
      Your premiums may change if you decide to make changes, but price differences will be shown to you before any permanent changes are made.

      Five-minute claim submission

      Root focuses on simplifying the process of claim submission by including every step inside the app, including access to your insurance card. That means you can file a claim from the scene of an accident or whenever it’s convenient for you. All you have to do is answer a few basic questions about the nature of the accident and upload pictures to show proof of damage. Once your claim is submitted, Root keeps you updated throughout the claims process. Customers can also check on the status of their claim in the app.

      Customizable coverage

      The Root offers liability coverage, car coverage (with roadside assistance included in every policy), medical coverage and “full coverage” which includes bodily injury, property damage, collision and comprehensive. You can take their coverage quiz to get a recommended coverage plan or build your own based on the coverage options above.

      Customer service

      Root insurance customer service is known for being top-notch, which can be hard to find in the insurance industry. Although customers can manage their policy through the app, Root does have a customer support team on stand-by to help with specific matters. On the website, Root has published 26,700 reviews from real customers, with an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. Many customers praise Root for its easy sign up process, helpful customer service representatives and low premiums.

      Root car insurance cost

      Root Insurance prices vary depending on your driving habits. Obviously, safe drivers who go through the driving test and pay attention to the Driver Scorecard will save the most. Reckless drivers will either pay a higher price or receive no quote at all because driving habits is the number one factor in calculating coverage. Price also depends on your state’s minimum insurance requirements. There are various coverage levels like Root Base, Root Great and Root Premier. However, some customers have complained to the Better Business Bureau that their rates increase at the renewal date, or sometimes without warning.

      Cheaper (or free!) alternatives

      No matter what kind of deal you think you’re getting, it’s important to shop around with other car insurance companies to see if you can get a cheaper car insurance price somewhere else, if price is what’s important. Many well-known car insurance companies offer something similar to The Root, where your premium is based on how you drive. Here are a few estimated savings on usage-based programs with other insurance companies:

      Company/ToolEstimated savings
      Progressive Snapshot Test DriveAverage of $145
      Allstate DriveWiseAverage of 10-25%
      State Farm’s Drive Safe & SaveUp to 15%
      Esurance’s DriveSenseVaries
      Nationwide’s SmartRideUp to 40%
      Liberty Mutual’s RightTrackAverage of 5-30%

      The competition

      Root isn’t the only company who recognizes the value of usage-based insurance. As listed above, there are other companies with similar tools that are helping policyholders save money. Here’s a breakdown of those programs:

      • Progressive Snapshot Test Drive: Snapshot personalizes Progressive policyholder rates based on their driving habits, with the average driver saving $145 at program completion. Drivers choose the mobile app or plug-in device, drive with Snapshot (typically over a six month period) and check progress in the app or online.
      • Allstate DriveWise: The DriveWise mobile app gives personalized driving feedback that could help young drivers develop safe driving habits. You can get cash back for just signing up then earn cash back every six months for safe driving.
      • State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save: State Farm claims to help policyholders save up to 30% on their car insurance using Drive Safe & Save. You can use your smartphone to earn a discount or your eligible OnStar-enabled vehicle.
      • Esurance DriveSense: DriveSense is free for anyone to use if you want to track your driving habits. But if you’re an Esurance policyholder, you get an instant discount just for enrolling with DriveSense. This app logs your driving, tracks driving patterns and behaviors, offers tips and provides weekly recaps. DriveSense requires eligible customers to log at least 50 trips for each term.
      • NationWide SmartRide: Nationwide policyholders earn a 10% discount just for signing up and can save up to 40% with SmartRide. You can participate in SmartRide using the mobile app or the device program and are rated on four factors: miles driven, hard braking and acceleration, idle time and nighttime driving.
      • Liberty Mutual RightTrack: Policyholders are guaranteed a discount just for signing up, but have the ability to save up to 30%. RightTrack is a device program and observes behaviors like braking, acceleration and nighttime driving.

      What others are saying

      The Ways to Wealth weighs the pros and cons of Root, and what’s left is a big thumbs up towards the company’s pricing model but uncertainty as to whether the company has the money to pay for policyholder claims based on the company’s young age. This article also warns drivers that having a clean driving record may not be enough to obtain a low car insurance rate if you’re placed into a “bad demographic.”

      The Zebra gave Root four out of five stars regardless of being a newcomer in the car insurance market. This article claims that the signup process is easy, but potential customers who are sticklers for phone privacy may have issues with this process because you have to enable settings on your phone so that the app can access certain information while you drive.

      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.