Root Insurance Review 2021: App Based Car Insurance

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
Quick Take: Root Auto Insurance provides fairly priced auto insurance plans to good drivers, rewarding them for their safe driving habits. Once downloaded, the Root app monitors the drivers, allowing the company to offer them coverage based on their driving skills. It's innovative, tech-inspired and worth a try.
  • Customer Satisfaction
    4.5
  • Coverage Options
    4.6
  • Pricing
    4.5
  • User-Friendly App
    4.8
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Has lower rates than the competition
  • Free roadside assistance
  • Gives referral rewards
  • Is exclusively app-based
  • Offers premiums according to driving behaviors

Cons

  • Not available in all 50 states
  • Limited options
  • Not available to all drivers

What Is Root Insurance?

In 2015, Root Auto Insurance launched a technology-based auto insurance company with a fully digital and automated underwriting system, meaning that they can accept applications 24/7 through the mobile app.

Root Insurance is available in 19 states, including California, Nevada, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and many others.

The company uses telematics to monitor drivers’ driving capabilities and offers them premiums accordingly. This makes it a lucrative option for drivers with a good record.

What Is Telematics?

Telematics refers to connecting devices to the Internet for centralized management. One of the critical advantages of telematics technology is that it provides real-time vehicle location information that allows users to track their vehicles daily. Thus, you can have an accurate picture of what your vehicles are doing and how they are working.

When drivers download the company’s app, they have to use it for a test-drive period, during which their driving scores are calculated based on :

  • Turning habits
  • Braking habits
  • Cell phone usage
  • Driving hours
  • Ride smoothness

The test drive takes nearly three weeks, after which the driver gets a quote. Alternatively, if the app detects poor driving skills, the driver will be denied an insurance plan.

Like most other insurance companies, Root relies on your credit history and demographic information to set rates. Still, the company has promised to remove the former from the pricing calculation by 2025.

Coverage Options

The minimum coverage for car insurance is different, depending on the state. So, when you’re looking for auto insurance options, you need to know what the minimums are in your state, as well as how much coverage you’ll need above that minimum.

Most states require at least bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance. You will also need uninsured motorist coverage, including medical payments for you, your passengers and others who might get injured but don’t have their own insurance.

If you rent or lease a vehicle, collision and comprehensive insurance are recommended because they cover incidents that aren’t caused by an accident that someone else is responsible for. This type of auto insurance can help if something happens to your car from an accident or weather-related event like a hail storm or flood.

Root Auto Insurance offers the following standard coverage options:

Types of Coverage

  • Collision Coverage: Collision coverage pays for repairs required due to traffic-related road accidents, irrespective of the party at fault .
  • Property Damage Liability: Property damage liability pays for property damage due to a car accident caused by you.
  • Bodily Injury: Bodily injury pays for death compensation or injuries when you cause an accident.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage covers costs out of the driver’s control, such as animal-involved accidents, vandalism, weather and theft.
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Uninsured motorist coverage covers property damage and medical costs when you have an accident with a driver with little to no insurance coverage.

Apart from these standard options, Root also offers:

  • Lyft On Us: Root gives its customers free Lyft rides on New Year’s Eve, Independence Day and other holidays in all states where coverage is provided, except North Dakota, where this feature is unavailable.
  • Roadside Assistance: Roadside assistance comes with Root insurance coverage at no extra cost. The company covers three incidents in a six-month policy, up to $100 for each incident.
  • Rental Reimbursement Coverage: Root offers you an alternate mode of transportation while your car is at the repair shop.
  • SR-22: Policyholders can get an SR-22 form from Root by applying through the Root app.

Disadvantages

Although Root insurance seems like an ideal pick for a modern low-risk driver who prefers doing everything on their phone, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

  • No coverage offered. There’s a high likelihood of you being declined through Root compared to other insurers since the company says 30% of the drivers are at fault for 45% of all road accidents. Thus, they do not offer coverage to less-than-excellent drivers.
  • Your driving is monitored. You have to let the app monitor you while you’re driving. If this intrusiveness makes you uncomfortable, Root may not be for you.
  • Purely app-based experience. Everything on Root is app-based. You won’t have much human contact like you would with traditional insurance providers, although a toll-free number is available for customer service.

Root calculates rates based on day-to-day driving. Good drivers are offered a great rate without relying on discounts. This may or may not be an advantage if you’re looking for discounts that other companies might offer, such as for students, multi-car, multi-policy or occupation-based.

How To Buy

Start by downloading the Root Insurance app from the App Store or Google Play Store. Once you open the app, you will have to provide your name, address, birth date and identifying information for the car you want to insure.

Then, the test drive starts and takes about three weeks. If the intelligent monitoring system considers you a low-risk driver, you will get a quote in the app. Otherwise, you will be refused coverage.

Is It Worth Trying?

If you consider yourself a good, low-risk driver, you can get a comparatively lower rate from Root car insurance than any other company.

Moreover, the insurance provider is ideal for millennials and Gen Z drivers who prefer insurance-related tasks to be app-based rather than having to talk to a representative for everything.

But if you’re a not-so-perfect driver or prefer less tech involvement in your insurance plans, you might want to look elsewhere.

About the Author

Scott Jeffries is a seasoned technology professional based in Florida. He writes on the topics of business, technology, digital marketing and personal finance. After earning his bachelor’s in Management Information Systems with a minor in Business, Scott spent 15 years working in technology. He's helped startups to Fortune 100 companies bring software products to life. When he's not writing or building software, Scott can be found reading or spending time outside with his kids.

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