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Root Car Insurance Review

Usage-based insurance with limited live support ​
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Premiums determined by driving habits
App-based support
Limited availability

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Reviews Report

  • Reviews.com scores Root car insurance a 4.6 out of 5 based on overall coverage, pricing, and customer satisfaction.
  • Root auto insurance is a usage-based car insurance company that charges premiums based on miles driven.
  • Standard & Poor’s listed Root as one of the fastest-growing auto insurance companies of 2018.

Root auto insurance emerged in the usage-based insurance (UBI) market in 2015 and it employs telematics to acquire information about customer driving behaviors and frequency and then sets premiums based upon the results. 

Root has not been around long enough to be rated for financial strength by AM Best or customer satisfaction by J.D. Powers. However, Root has recently expanded into the home and rental insurance markets and we have reviewed its bundling options offered along with other available discounts.

Despite this, we crafted Root car insurance review based on available coverage, price, ease of obtaining quotes and submitting claims, and comparisons with its competitors.

Root Insurance Overview

Reviews.com Score:
4.6
In business since
2015
AM Best: AM Best rates insurance providers creditworthiness. Ratings are based on the provider’s ability to follow through with a payout when a consumer files a claim.
N/A
J.D. Power J.D. Power scores are based on surveys for customer satisfaction and product quality.
N/A
States served
39

For drivers who have confidence in their safe driving abilities, Root auto insurance may be worth a look. It is particularly easy to get started with an online quote and download the Root car insurance app, which measures driving habits for a couple weeks before a car insurance rate is offered. Unlike traditional coverage, premiums are based on current driving habits rather than past driving or credit history.

Although not yet rated by AM Best or J.D. Power, Root has received a favorable insurance review from S&P Global. S&P Global points out that based upon direct premiums written, Root car insurance was the “third-fastest-growing auto insurer in the U.S. in 2018”.


PROS

  • Premiums based on driving behaviors This pricing platform relies on current driving behaviors and may help certain high risk drivers escape some of their past driving history.
  • Ease of obtaining quote High-tech solutions allow applicants to easily obtain an initial quote and download the app for monitoring driving.
  • Offers referral rewards Cash payments are made for referrals of new customers.
  • Completely app-based With the Root app, policyholders can view their policies and ID cards, pay bills, submit and monitor claims, call for roadside assistance, and more.

CONS

  • Coverage not offered in all states Root auto insurance has to date only established coverage options in 39 states.
  • Financial stability still uncertain Though business growth has been impressive, it is too early to predict long-term profitability.
  • Limited coverage options larger insurers, Root does not offer a wide array of options and discounts for specific needs.

Root Car Insurance Highlights

Coverage
Customer
Discounts & Add-ons
Claims

Root auto insurance provides the following basic coverages which are comparable and competitive with most car insurance companies:

  • Liability protection for personal injury and property damage
  • Collision coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage 
  • Medical payments and personal injury protection (PIP)
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist

Unfortunately, as with many startups, Root has developed a relatively poor record for customer service. The most recent report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) shows a significantly higher number of complaints made in 2020 than for the insurance industry as a whole. Root’s customer complaint index was scored at 3.98, which is significantly more than the industry average of 1.

Root does not offer a menu of discounts and add-ons to pick and choose from. Rather declaring that “We don’t put you into boxes,” Root claims to build every available discount into your basic premium. This includes the now available bundling option when you purchase both homeowners and car insurance from Root.

Despite recent unfavorable data from NAIC about customer satisfaction, Root auto insurance makes it incredibly easy with its mobile app to submit a claim following an accident. Initially following an accident, the app prompts users to answer a set of simple questions and then send photographs of the damages with the app. After an initial assessment, Root follows up with more detailed questions and directions. Ideally, this process leads straight to resolution.

Root’s Car Insurance Bundling Discounts for Cheaper Insurance

Root offers homeowners insurance in certain states, but it is only available to someone who already has a Root car insurance policy. With that in mind, Root does claim to discount homeowner insurance premiums for bundling both home and auto coverage.

The first step in the bundling process is to check the Root website to determine whether both car and home insurance is offered in your state. If this appears to be the case, it is advised to confirm this with a Root representative because changes in company expansion plans and state laws may reflect changes not yet posted to the site

Root Car Insurance vs. The Competition 

ProviderReviews.com ScoreJ.D. Power Customer Satisfaction*AM BestDiscounts**
Root4.6N/AN/AN/A 
Travelers4.4824A+12
Geico4.8833A++16
Auto-Owners4.4845A++13

Information accurate as of June 2021

*J.D. Power’s 2021 Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study average rating across regions. Based on a 1,000-point scale. 

**Discounts available may vary depending upon state requirements and driver eligibility.

Root vs. Travelers

Both Root and Travelers offer driving behavior-based car insurance. Travelers is one of the largest carriers in the country and first and foremost offers standard comprehensive coverage with a wide range of options and discounts to customize plans.

Additionally, with Travelers you can enroll in the IntelliDrive program to measure driving behavior over a 90 day period and receive a premium discount for safe driving. Root car insurance is “all-in” with usage-based car insurance and offers a more straightforward route to potentially higher savings for safe drivers though more robust coverage may be limited.

For the best solution, obtain complete quotes from both Root and Travelers using all available telematic options, and compare.

Root vs. Geico

This is the classic David and Goliath comparison between Root, a high-tech startup available in a limited number of states, and Geico, one of the largest and best-known car insurance companies available everywhere in the United States.

Geico offers far more extensive coverage options and specific discounts as well as a user-friendly website that allows an applicant to obtain quotes quickly. With Root car insurance, there may be an opportunity to achieve significant savings with good driving behavior though users may sacrifice the customer attention they will likely receive with Geico. 

Root vs. Auto-Owners

Auto-Owners is a higher rated company than Root in both financial strength and customer satisfaction, categories where it excels. Both Root and Auto-Owners receive excellent ratings from Reviews.com though they both have different strengths.

With Auto-Owners, users will likely obtain affordable coverage based on customized options and discounts and obtain the best service through direct representative contact. On the other hand, with Root auto insurance, customers control their options with technology and can potentially find lower premiums based on good driving behavior.

Root Car Insurance FAQ 

Methodology

We evaluated Root car insurance based on discounts, coverage, online resources, financial strength, and customer satisfaction to determine Reviews.com scores and create our best car insurance reviews. To compare car insurance companies with other providers across the board, we calculate each Reviews.com score based on the following:

  • Discounts: Auto insurance companies that advertised more discounts received higher scores in our methodology.
  • Financial Stability: Reviews.com utilized AM Best ratings to assign a score based on each car insurance company’s financial stability.
  • Customer Satisfaction: J.D. Power ranks car insurance companies by customer satisfaction, so we used its 2021 Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study to compare the average rating of insurers across all regions.
  • Coverage: Car insurance companies were awarded higher scores for advertised coverages beyond the body liability, property liability, collision, and personal injury protection.
  • Online Resources: We reviewed the digital resources of each car insurance company and awarded higher scores to insurers with mobile claim estimates, digital insurance cards, and more.

About the Authors

Rick Hoel

Rick Hoel Contributing Writer

Rick Hoel is an international business attorney and legal and insurance writer for Reviews.com. Over the last several years, he has covered topics dealing with personal and commercial insurance and technology and the law.

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