Root Auto Insurance Review

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Root is part of a new wave of insurance providers using your own driving habits to help determine your rates. In this Root auto insurance review, we will go into what exactly Root auto insurance is and what makes it different, plus information on how to apply, filing claims, and more.

What Is Root Auto Insurance?

Root is an auto insurance company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. It has over 350 employees and plans to expand further.

Root is the first entirely mobile app-based auto insurance company. Good drivers are rewarded with lower rates based on their driving behaviors. Each customer has to do a test drive before Root will offer coverage.

Root collects telematics from the accelerometer in users' smartphones plus other data. It uses its own algorithm to calculate driving behavior and risk and offer policies accordingly.

Driving Algorithm

Root uses a combination of 200 factors to decide on a driver's rate. These include braking, the number of miles driven, turning, and phone use while driving. Root says the app's machine learning can detect whether you are biking or taking the train versus driving, and those trips won't be counted.

man holding smartphone

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It may go without saying that drivers need to have their phones with them at all times when they're driving. The test drive usually takes around 2-3 weeks to complete. For the best outcome, don't drive late at night if you can avoid it, never text and drive, and avoid hard turns and braking.

Day One Coverage

Usually, customers must already be insured or get short-term coverage through another provider during the test drive. But Root offers some customers coverage "from day one". Based on the driving test, Root may not offer a policy, but customers have 60 days of coverage in which to find another provider.

Customers can click here to see if they are eligible for day one joinroot.com/help/day-one.

Where Is Root Auto Insurance Available?

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Root auto insurance is licensed in 23 states nationwide: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

If your state isn't listed yet, keep checking back on Root's website.

Root Auto Insurance Review

According to Clearsurance.com, Root has a rating of 3.48 out of 5. Customers like that they get lower rates across the board. Some unhappy reviews come from customers who were denied coverage after the test drive, while others were unhappy with the claims process. From those who pass, however, Root auto insurance generally gets good marks.

How to Apply

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As you can see from our Root auto insurance review, it is easy to apply. Once you download the app, the app does most of the work.

The app, once downloaded to your phone, detects your driving behavior, miles driven, and also knows when you drive most, at night or during the day. Late-night driving is seen as less safe than daytime. Careful drivers who don't work late hours will see the best rates.

  1. Download the app and sign up for your test drive.
  2. Take the test drive. This could last anywhere from 2 weeks to 30 days depending on how much you drive.
  3. Check your score on the Driver Scorecard on the app. You can track how you're doing with turning, braking, and maneuvering the road.
  4. Get your score. You will be ranked between 1-10. If your score is lower than you'd like, you can try to increase it during the rest of your test drive.
  5. Get your quote from Root based on your Driving Scorecard.

What If I Am Not Offered a Quote?

We hope all readers of this Root auto insurance review try Root out.

If you don't get a quote, that probably means the score on your Driving Scorecard wasn't high enough. Or there could have been other factors. Reach out to Root directly to ask for clarification on your situation.

How to Contact Root

​ phone: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, M-F at 1-866-980-9431

​email: contact@joinroot.com

How to File a Claim

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Readers of this Root auto insurance review should not be surprised that you file claims through Root's mobile app. This is a truly app-based insurance company. You can upload photos and enter information about the accident. A claims adjuster will be in touch to complete the process.

Features


Here are some features we want to highlight in this Root auto insurance review:

  • ​Mostly app-based
  • ​Rates based on driving behavior
  • ​Low rates for good drivers
  • ​Must submit 2-3 weeks of driving behavior through the app to get a quote
  • ​Choice of Lyft credits instead of a rental car
  • ​Lower rates for Tesla Autopilot drivers

Pricing

The cost of your Root auto insurance policy depends on a few things. Mostly it depends on the outcome of your test drive. Other points like past driving history and age factor in, but not as much as with other providers.

How It Compares

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We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare in this Root auto insurance review.

  • ​Ameriprise
  • ​Erie
  • ​GEICO

Root Auto Insurance


Coverage Options - 4 Stars

As you can see from this Root auto insurance review, Root offers adequate coverage for drivers in any state.

Root offers the usual coverage options you come to expect. It includes 2 free calls for roadside assistance at no extra charge.

Here is a list of the coverage options:

  • ​Bodily injury
  • ​Property damage
  • ​Collision and Comprehensive
  • ​Medical payments
  • ​Personal injury protection
  • ​Under and insured motorist protection
  • ​Rental car
  • ​Roadside assistance
  • ​Discounts
  • Apps/Website
  • Ease of Filing Claims

​5 Stars

Based on Internet review, customers give Root's mobile app and website high marks.

Pros

  • ​Able drivers are rewarded with low rates
  • ​Good for teens or other high-risk drivers

Cons

  • ​Six-month long policies
  • ​The test drive is normally not covered
  • ​Submitting a long period of driving behavior
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Ameriprise

An important part of our Root auto insurance review is to review other providers out there. One fantastic choice is Ameriprise. Customers love it for its low rates and good customer service.

Ameriprise has been in business since 1894. It also offers financial products. It received the highest rating of any company in J.D. Power's 2015 customer satisfaction survey for the California region.

Coverage Options - 5Stars

Here is a list of the coverage options:

  • ​Lifetime renewability for Ameriprise Financial clients
  • ​New car replacement
  • ​Glass repair with no deductible
  • ​Gap coverage - Ameriprise will pay up to 120% of your vehicle's value so you aren't stuck with a loan on a car you don't own anymore
  • ​Stolen key and lock replacement coverage - no deductible under $250
  • ​Accident forgiveness for policyholders with three years of safe driving
  • ​Accident travel expense coverage - if you are stranded and need accommodation for the night
  • ​Discounts
  • Apps/Website
  • Ease of Filing Claims

5 Stars

Ameriprise is very well regarded for customer service. For customer service, Ameriprise got the highest rating of any company in J.D. Power's 2015 customer satisfaction survey for the California region.

Pros

  • ​Lifetime renewability for Ameriprise Financial customers
  • ​Multiple discounts
  • ​Excellent customer service

Cons

  • ​Only available in 34 states
  • ​May have to call to get a final quote
  • ​Uses information from six years of driving history
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E​​​​​​​rie

As part of our Root auto insurance review, we think it is important to compare multiple providers. We want you to find the rate that is best for you. Erie is a regional insurance carrier based in Erie, Pennsylvania. It is available in 12 states plus Washington D.C. If Erie is in your area, it's definitely worth a look as most customers are satisfied with their choice.

Key features of this provider include Rate lock, which locks in your auto rate unless you add vehicles or move. Accident forgiveness is included after 3 years of safe driving, and there is also pet coverage. Some nice extras are new car protection, better car protection, and rental car coverage that lets you upgrade to an SUV if you choose.

Coverage Options - 5 Stars

Besides auto insurance, Erie also offers renters, condo, and home insurance. Other insurance products it offers are umbrella insurance, insurance for classic and recreational vehicles, boat insurance, identity theft insurance, and business insurance.

Erie also sells a suite of retirement planning products.


  • ​Discounts
  • Apps/Website
  • Ease of Filing Claims

5 Stars

Erie won the top award for Auto Claims Satisfaction in the 2018 J.D. Power Study.

Pros

  • ​Robust coverage options
  • ​Diminishing deductible and Rate Lock
  • ​High marks for settling claims

Cons

  • ​Only available in 12 states plus Washington D.C.
  • ​No other cons found

GEICO

Geico primarily sells policies direct to consumers so it can keep prices low. That being said, it has 150 locations nationwide if you prefer to talk to an agent in person. Geico offers fantastic rates to people with no accident history. High-risk drivers will probably see higher rates with Geico.

Coverage Options - 4 Stars

​Geico has many coverage options. The main ones include

  • ​Bodily injury and property liability coverage
  • ​Collision and comprehensive coverage
  • ​Uninsured and underinsured liability coverage
  • ​Medical payment and personal injury protection coverage
  • ​Gap Insurance for leased vehicles
  • ​Other Coverage Options

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance, combined rideshare insurance that covers drivers when they're both on work and personal time, Emergency Road Service, accident forgiveness {not available in CA, CT, or MA}, glass coverage, and rental reimbursement.

There's coverage for more than just personal vehicles. Geico has motorcycle insurance, ATV insurance, plus customers can combine their homeowners and motor home policies.

  • ​Discounts
  • Apps/Website
  • Ease of Filing Claims

5 Stars

Customers can file claims right from the mobile app.

Pros

  • ​Accident forgiveness and rideshare coverage in 40 states
  • ​Military and student discounts
  • ​Well-established provider
  • ​Low rates for good drivers

Cons

  • ​Not good for high-risk drivers
  • ​No new car replacement

Conclusion

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Now we have reached the end of our Root auto insurance review. Based on everything we have learned, we will give Root auto insurance a rating of 4 stars. We love that Root rewards good drivers with low rates. We took off one star because most drivers need to get other coverage during their test drive.

Root is a solid choice for people with good driving habits. If it is in your area, it is worth a look!

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