Root Car Insurance Review 2019

Advertiser Disclosure

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%.

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 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 taken into consideration when your rate is calculated, so the better you drive, the more money you can save.

Find the Best Car Insurance

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Root Car Insurance At a Glance

  • The 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.
  • The Root offers a coverage quiz that recommends the right coverage plan for you.
  • Customize your own plan and make changes at any time through the app.
  • Retaining a quote 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.
  • Offers policyholders special features like free Lyft credits on certain holidays.

The Specs

Price Price varies depending on customer driving habits. Your driving behavior is the number one factor in your calculated rate.
Best For People 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 For Residents 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 Served 30
Better Business Bureau Rating A+
In Business Since 2015
Standout Features Entire 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

The 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 The Root insurance reviews, the company actually 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 The 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.

Cost Rundown

The 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, since 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 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/Tool Estimated Savings
Progressive Snapshot Test Drive Average of $145
Allstate DriveWise Average of 10-25%
State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save Up to 15%
Esurance’s DriveSense Varies
Nationwide’s SmartRide Up to 40%
Liberty Mutual’s RightTrack Average of 5-30%

The Competition

The 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 The Root, and what’s left is a big thumbs up towards the company’s pricing model, but uncertainty as to whether or not 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 The Root four out of five stars regardless of being a newcomer in the car insurance market. This article claims that the signup process is very easy, but that potential customers who are sticklers for phone privacy may have issues with this process, since you have to enable settings on your phone so that the app can access certain information while you drive.

The Bottom Line

Whether or not The Root Insurance is right for you depends on your car insurance needs and whether or not you’re willing to wait a few weeks for a quote. If you’re truly a good driver with safe driving habits, The 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 really know is to download the app, take the driving test and start saving.