Root Car Insurance Review

Root Car Insurance Review

You could get a competitive rate if you're a good driver, but this young insurance company has a high rate of customer complaints.
Root Insurance

Editor's Rating

Root Car Insurance is best for drivers who aren't in a rush to obtain coverage and are searching for low rates.

Root's auto insurance has solid reviews, and filing claims is easy through its sleek mobile app. However, if you're interested in anything other than low rates, like broader coverage, you'd be better served by a different car insurance company.

Good for
  • Some of the cheapest auto insurance quotes
  • High-risk drivers, such as teens, who would receive expensive rates through other insurance companies
  • Free roadside assistance
Bad for
  • Drivers looking for a quick quote, as the process takes two to three weeks
  • Shoppers who value an insurer with a history of strong customer service
  • Anyone in need of specialized coverage, like ride-share or gap insurance

Root Insurance: One of the cheapest options for the basics

Root Insurance's biggest strength is its low rates, and it's also the company's main marketing point. It's biggest drawback is its customer service reputation.

Drivers who take the test drive and qualify for a quote will have a hard time finding rates that are cheaper than those offered by Root Insurance.

However, you might not even make the cut for a quote. In exchange for its low-priced quotes, customers will have to make due with basic coverage options.

Some drivers might need specialized policy add-ons. For instance, someone who recently purchased a vehicle might benefit from gap insurance, which is not currently offered by Root Insurance.

A few great things about Root Car Insurance are that:

  • Customers have access to claims support 24/7 by phone. Oftentimes, insurance companies that conduct the majority of their business through a mobile app won't have readily accessible representatives.
  • Claims are usually paid in 7 to 10 business days, which is impressive considering some competitors can take weeks to process claims.

The company claims that it saves its policyholders up to 52% on their auto insurance coverage, and Root Car Insurance's reviews attest to huge savings.

Some of the people who would benefit most from coverage through Root Insurance are high-risk drivers, such as teens, who would receive high auto insurance rates through other companies. Root Insurance primarily bases its rates on individual driving habits, so traditionally high-risk drivers, like teens, won't be penalized as much if they exhibit safe driving in the test drive.

Root Insurance has two main drawbacks.

The first is that coverage is not available everywhere. Though its coverage has expanded greatly to 31 states, Root Insurance is still not available in the 19 states listed below and Washington D.C.

However, the company has plans to expand into more states in the future.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

The second drawback is the a relatively poor customer service reputation. Root Car Insurance was founded in 2015, so it is new to the industry, but early indicators show that customers have had a poor service experience, specifically related to delays in handling claims.

Bottom Line: If being insured by a new company doesn't worry you, you'll be rewarded with some of the cheapest auto insurance rates from Root Insurance. All other drivers, including those in need of specialized coverage, should search for a different insurance company.

How does Root auto insurance work?

Root Car Insurance assigns personalized auto insurance quotes primarily based on each individual's driving habits and targets good drivers. While Root Insurance doesn't disclose the percentage of people that it offers quotes to, the company claims that 30% of people are less-than-ideal drivers.

Drivers seeking a quote must download Root's mobile app and take a "test drive."

Drivers must then carry their mobile devices around when they are driving so the app can track their driving behaviors for two to three weeks. The app runs in the background, so there's no need to activate the tracking feature.

The quote you receive is based on several factors, including:

  • Your braking habits
  • Speed
  • The number of miles you drive

During your test drive, you'll have access to a driver scorecard to help you understand how well the test is going. This feature offers drivers the opportunity to adjust their driving habits.

After your assessment period or "test drive," the app will determine whether Root Insurance will offer you an auto insurance quote. You can't receive a quote unless you take part in the test drive. If you do qualify, you can add people to your insurance policy and they don't have to take the test drive.

Root Car Insurance coverage

Root Car Insurance offers a full suite of basic auto insurance coverages and a few auto insurance add-ons. As a result, drivers who are searching for highly specific coverage, such as ride-share or gap insurance, would be better served by a traditional auto insurance company, like State Farm or Allstate.

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All Root policies include roadside assistance, a nice bonus as not all insurance companies include it in basic coverage.

Roadside assistance

  • Root Insurance includes roadside assistance, for services like towing and battery jump-starts, with each of its policies at no extra cost.
  • Root Insurance partners with Blink for roadside assistance, but policyholders can request service from any company.
  • Root Insurance covers up to three incidents per six-month policy term for a maximum of $100 per incident.

The most prominent add-on offered by Root is rental reimbursement coverage.

Rental reimbursement

  • This optional policy add-on reimburses you for expenses associated with renting a car if your vehicle is inoperable due to a covered accident.
  • While rental reimbursement coverage is fairly common among auto insurance companies, Root Insurance offers its policyholders the option to receive Lyft credits as opposed to being reimbursed for a rental vehicle.

Traditional coverage options available through Root Insurance

  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Liability coverage
  • Personal injury protection
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist damage
  • Medical payments coverage

Root Insurer Rating

Insurer(s)NAIC Complaint Index
Root2.6
National median of insurers1.0
A complaint index of 2.6 indicates Root has many more complaints than a typical insurer.

Root customer reviews and financial strength

Root may offer drivers the chance to get extensive savings based on driving behavior, but in its short history it has a poor customer service reputation.

Root has not been reviewed in a national consumer survey, but its customers file complaints to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) at a high rate. Adjusted for its number of customers, Root receives 2.61 times as many complaints as the national median. The most type of complaint registered with the NAIC is over delays in claims handling, indicating customers may be having trouble being reimbursed when they submit a claim. The second most common complaint reason is related to surcharges.

One of the biggest concerns customers have when signing up for insurance through a small or a new company is whether it can afford to pay claims. Despite being a new company, Root is backed by top reinsurers.

However, obtaining coverage through a new company still carries financial risk. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of being insured through a relatively new company, you should consider established national companies, like State Farm and Farmers.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.