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  • Nicholas Hinrichsen

Root Car Insurance


Root Insurance Company offers car insurance based on driving habits rather than solely relying on factors such as the driver's age, credit score and driving history. As a “usage-based” company, safe drivers, even those who fit a risky demographic such as teenagers or drivers with a low credit score, can get a cheap quote. Root uses a mobile app to monitor a three week test drive period where they determine how safe of a driver you are in order to offer very low insurance rates.


This personalized pricing model of offering low rates to safe drivers means that they can offer these low rates because they do not insure high risk drivers, so they require less collateral. As each driver only receives a quote after the three week test drive period, each quote is different because each driver is different. With this, there is no average rate for Root to boast to potential customers, however Root claims an average 52% savings rate by switching to Root insurance.


Root could be for you if you belong to a high-risk demographic. As mentioned above, most insurance companies calculate rates with demographic data such as age, gender, history and credit score and this means if you belong to a risky demographic, you may be paying a high auto insurance rate even if you are a safe driver. Root uses these factors in order to determine your personalized quote, but at a much lower level. Root quotes are, instead, heavily determined by your driving performance that the app monitors during the test drive. In conclusion, if you are a safe driver, you should look into Root’s low rates, but for all other drivers, you should look elsewhere.


This article will be addressing and answering the following:

This article will walk you through everything you need to know about Root insurance and act as a complete review. It will discuss how Root works, pros and cons, costs, provide steps to apply for a quote or file a claim and outline other services offered and areas Root is available in.


How does Root insurance work? How do I apply for a quote?


Root offers good drivers low rates. In order to get a quote from Root, you must complete the test drive. To begin, create an account on the Root insurance app. This mobile app is available in both Android and Apple stores. You can begin the test drive on your new account, the app monitors your driving behavior throughout the next three weeks to show a driving score based on the following factors:

  • Breaking habits

  • Turning habits

  • Cell phone usage

  • Driving during safe hours

The machine-learning algorithm of the Root app distinguishes between driving activity and if you are a passenger in an airplane, riding a bike, walking etc. At the end of your test drive period, Root provides a free quote for you in the app. If you would like to switch to Root insurance from your old provider, Root will notify your previous insurance company for you in order to spare you the hassle of contacting them.


You can also add on drivers in the app and invite them to take the test drive. If they do not complete the test drive, their insurance rate will be determined similar to other insurance providers: by demographic factors.


Root Insurance Payments


Root drivers are offered 6 month policies and these insurance policies can be paid for full in advance or by monthly installments. All payments are made within the app via ApplePay or credit card. Another convenient feature of Root’s app is that it also stores a copy of your proof of insurance in addition to the copy Root will mail to you. In addition, if you choose to pay monthly in the app, you pick a set date to pay each month, but this date can be moved forward or backward within a 5 day range (this change of date does not change the set date for future payments).


An Increase in Root Rates


Root customers have complained about their rates dramatically increasing at the six month mark. One factor to note is that your original Root insurance policy is only valid for 6 months. At the end of this term, your rate is likely to increase based on the following factors around you:

  • Drivers listed on your Root policy

  • Cars listed on your Root policy

  • Personal driving record

  • Weather patterns in your area

  • Crime rates around your area

  • Accident rates around your area

  • Price of the cars around your area

One reason that Root may increase your rate that is out of your control is due to the way they adjust for revenue. For example, Root will increase rates if their revenue from premiums did not exceed their cost of paying out claims.


How do I file a claim?


If Root drivers get into an accident or require roadside assistance, they can file a claim through the Root app. Within the app, drivers are told to provide a detailed description of the incident and take a picture of the damage. Root will later reach out to the driver in order to assess the claim and outline next steps of action. You can also file an auto insurance claim by speaking to a Root representative over the phone with 24/7 service.


What does Root car insurance cover?


Root offers basic packages when it comes to coverage, so if you require specialized coverage options, Root may not be right for you. Root offers the following car insurance coverage:

  • Roadside assistance

  • Covers up to three incidents per policy term, up to $100 per incident at no additional charge to the driver (not applicable in California)

  • Rideshare option for rental coverage.

  • Instead of only offering rental coverage, Root has rideshare options

  • In other words, you can either rent a car while yours is in the shop or be offered Lyft credits

  • Lyft on Us

  • Root offers free Lyft rides on holidays (St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Independence Day) (offer not valid in North Dakota)

  • SR-22 availability

  • You can retrieve an SR-22 form directly from the app

Discounts

Root does not offer policyholders many discounts due to their already low personalized rates, however you can take advantage of the following discounts:

  • Tesla driver discount (available for drivers who use automated steering)

  • 10% off for drivers who don’t use their phone while driving


What are some pros and cons of Root auto insurance?


Pros

  • Cheapest average auto insurance quotes

  • Benefits high-risk drivers who would pay expensive rates through other car insurance companies

  • Free roadside assistance at no additional cost

Cons

  • Three week process to get a quote is longer than other insurers

  • Weak customer service

  • Does not offer specialized coverage

Where is Root available?


Root inc is a startup from Columbus, Ohio. As this company is so new to the insurance industry, their services are not yet available in every state. Refer to the following list to see which Root services are available in your area:


Auto Insurance:

AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV


Renters Insurance:

AR, GA, KY, MO, OH, TN, NV, UT


Homeowners Insurance:

AZ, CO, CT, DE, GA, IL, IA, KY, MO, NE, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT


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