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As a mobile-first company specializing in low-cost auto insurance, Root Insurance takes safe driving seriously. It may offer considerable savings for good drivers and even requires new applicants to pass a driving test. For responsible drivers who don’t need in-person support, Root Insurance could be a highly competitive option.
- Pros & Cons
- Company Overview
Reduced auto insurance rates for safe drivers
Fast online application for quotes
Can launch temporary coverage immediately
Roadside assistance included with all auto policies
Excellent mobile and online experience
Requires a test drive for all applicants
High number of customer complaints
Limited insurance offerings beyond auto
Only accepts credit cards and Apple Pay
No in-person support or agents
When Root Insurance launched in 2015, it was the first licensed insurance carrier run entirely through mobile technology. It started by selling auto insurance and has since expanded into selling homeowners and renters insurance.
Root Insurance is still a relatively small newcomer, with just over 220,000 policies in-force. It is based out of Columbus, Ohio, but sells in most states throughout the country. Root Insurance does not sell policies in Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire. New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. In the states where Root Insurance operates, it sells auto insurance but not always homeowners and rental.
- Year Founded 2015
- Kinds of Policies (name each one) Auto insurance, homeowners insurance, renters insurance
- Payment Options Credit cards, Apple Pay
- Customer Service Email, phone (866) 980-9431
- Official Website www.joinroot.com/
- Reduced auto insurance rates for safe drivers: Root Insurance uses driving behavior as the largest part of its pricing model. While other auto insurers offer discounts for safe driving, Root Insurance claims its discounts are more impressive.
- Fast online application for quotes: You can request a quote within a few minutes using the Root Insurance app or website. There is no need to speak with anyone or submit paperwork.
- Can launch temporary coverage immediately: When you apply for a quote, the Root Insurance app will tell you if you qualify fortemporary coverage. If so, you can set up insurance right away while you complete the driving test.
- Roadside assistance included with all auto policies: Root Insurance includes roadside assistance at no extra charge for issues like needing a tow truck, a jump start, or because you locked your keys in the car. Policies cover up to $100 per incident, with three allowed per six-month policy cycle.
- Excellent mobile and online experience: As a mobile-first company, Root Insurance lets you handle nearly all your policy needs online. This includes changing your policy, making payments, finding your insurance card, and filing claims. Root Insurance was one of Investopedia’s best digital insurance providers of 2023, winning the auto insurance category.:
- Requires a test drive for all applicants: Regardless of your past driving history, Root Insurance requires you to take a driving test that lasts about three weeks. The test is ongoing as you drive with the mobile app on your phone. Root Insurance could increase your rates and even reject your application based on the test drive results.
- High number of customer complaints: Over the past three years, Root Insurance received far more complaints than expected for an insurer its size, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This could be a drawback of an online-only experience.
- Limited insurance offerings: Root Insurance offers auto insurance and has begun to branch out into homeowners and renters insurance. However, it doesn’t offer business or life insurance, nor coverage for other vehicles like boats, RVs, and snowmobiles.
- Only accepts credit cards and Apple Pay: You cannot pay for your Root Insurance policy by check or by ACH bank transfer. You also cannot use a mobile wallet besides Apple Pay.
- Not available in all states: Root Insurance does not sell policies in Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire. New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.
- No in-person support or agents: If you need help with your policy or want to file a claim, you can only reach Root Insurance by phone, email, or through the mobile app. It does not have in-person branches or agents.
It is rare for auto insurers to require a driving test to set up coverage. Most offer a discount if you prove you’re a safe driver, but that test is usually optional.
How Root Insurance Works
Root Insurance heavily bases its auto insurance rates on driving behavior. When you first apply for coverage, the app will look at traditional factors like your past driving record, vehicle type, age, marital status, and credit score. Root Insurance does not consider your occupation or education level though. After you submit your information in the app, it will then determine whether you qualify for a temporary policy.
From there, you’ll take a driving test that lasts about three weeks. You need to keep your smartphone with the Root app in your vehicle when you drive. It will check factors like how hard you brake, whether you turn safely, and the hours you drive. Based on these factors, Root Insurance will decide whether to offer you a policy and at what rate. Safe drivers may find Root Insurance to be one of theirtop options for cheap car insurance.
To get a quote from Root Insurance, you can use its website or mobile app. You can also call one of its agents by phone.
Root Insurance’s three-year complaint index was 4.01, which means it has received many more complaints than expected over the past few years based on its size.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks the number of complaints an insurer receives each year. The NAIC then generates an index reflecting how many complaints that company received versus how many an insurer of its size is expected to receive. An index below 1 means the company received fewer complaints than expected. An index above 1 means a company received more complaints than expected.
For this calculation, we averaged Root’s NAIC complaint index from the past three years: 2020, 2021, and 2022.
AM Best and J.D. Power are two popular third-party services which rate insurers. AM best is a credit rating agency that considers the financial strength and creditworthiness of insurers to give them a score. A high score means AM Best believes an insurer is in good financial shape to cover claims and other obligations. This is important because if an insurer runs into financial trouble, it could struggle to pay your claims.
AM Best has not given Root Insurance a rating. As a result, there is no third-party analysis of its financial strength. JD Power publishes annual surveys showing customer satisfaction with the top insurers. Once again, Root Insurance did not make it on these rankings. It is too new and small to be scored.
Root Insurance does have a 4.7/5.0 score for its mobile app on the Apple App store. This is based on users giving reviews of the app as well as Root Insurance. Its Google Play score is just 3.4/5.0 though.
Through the Root Insurance app, you can design your auto insurance policy. You decide how much coverage you want in the standard auto insurance categories:
- Liability: Pays for damage you cause to other people because of an accident that was your fault.
- Collision: Pays to repair damage to your vehicle for an accident that was your fault.
- Medical Payments: Pays the healthcare bills of yourself and anyone else in your vehicle after an accident.
- Comprehensive: Covers damage to your vehicle from something other than an accident, like a burglary or a hailstorm.
- Uninsured motorist protection: If another driver causes an accident and doesn’t have insurance, this coverage will pay for your bills.
The Root Insurance app will tell you how much a plan costs for the minimum coverage required to drive in your state. It also suggests other options. If you want to design the policy yourself, the app guides you.
Root Insurance checks if you drive late at night, especially during the weekend. If you drive frequently during these hours, it could increase your premium.
Root Insurance has expanded into sellinghomeowners insurance, though these policies are not available in as many states. Its policies cover damage to your home and belongings, as well as medical payments and liability if someone is injured on your property. If you need to live somewhere temporarily during home repairs, Root homeowners insurance policies pay for temporary lodging.
If you rent your home, Root Insurance offers renters insurance. These policies cover damage to your belongings as well as theft. This includes theft while you’re traveling. If you need to live somewhere temporarily while your rented home is being repaired for damage, Root renters policies can cover temporary lodgings for up to 12 months.
Root Insurance reduces your renters insurance premiums by up to 5% if you also buy auto insurance.
Root Insurance offers customer service by phone and by email. You can call its customer service agents Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. You can also reach its insurance agents by phone to discuss setting up your policy. If you reach out by email, Root Insurance says it aims to reply within 48 hours.
If you need to file a policy claim, you can do so 24/7 by filing through Root Insurance’s mobile app or website. You can also call its claims department and speak to someone during normal business hours.
Is Root Insurance Right for Me?
If you consider yourself a very safe driver, Root Insurance could offer an excellent deal for your auto insurance. Driving behavior is a more scrutinized factor with Root Insurance versus other insurers since the company requires a driving test. Root Insurance’s mobile-first experience also helps keep costs and premiums low. If you’re interested in a Root Insurance policy, you need to be ok not having any in-person support (no brick-and-mortar locations).
In our Root Insurance review, we analyzed the following company specifications:
- Available policy types
- State availability
- Quote process
- Application process
- Policy features and add-ons
- Customer service features
- Mobile and online features
We also analyzed reviews and analyses by third-party authorities, including AM Best, J.D. Power, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). We analyzed three years of NAIC complaint index data for Root Insurance across all product offerings.
Root Insurance. “Q4.2022 Shareholder Letter.”
NAIC. “Root Ins Co.”