Advertiser Disclosure

Root Insurance Review 2019: How It Works and Who It’s For

Aug. 22, 2019
Auto Insurance, Insurance
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. Lacie Glover
  • Root sets rates based primarily on your driving behavior.
  • Root can provide an SR-22.
  • Tech-savvy customers will like that you can do just about anything from the app.

Root Insurance offers drivers a promise most others don’t: auto insurance rates based primarily on how you drive. To get an auto insurance quote from Root, you first take a “Test Drive,” where you let the company’s app track your driving behavior for two to three weeks. The better your driving, the better the quote, but there’s a bit more to Root than just that — details below.

Root Insurance review details

Root’s auto insurance quotes

Most companies rely heavily on your demographic information, credit and driving history to set rates. Root does, too, but they factor in that data to a lesser extent so that more of your quote is based on how you drive during your two- to three-week Test Drive. Here’s how it works.

You can begin either from Root’s website or download the app and opt into the quote process. You’ll have to allow the app access to your phone’s GPS to measure driving behaviors including speed, hard braking, time of day driving, turn speed and ride smoothness. Root claims that the app can tell whether you’re a passenger through machine learning, so you shouldn’t get penalized for the behavior of another driver while you’re their passenger.

After monitoring is up, Root will either send you a quote or decline to cover you. The company is upfront that many drivers are refused a quote, saying on its site it doesn’t cover “bad” or high-risk drivers. For those who do get a quote, this is good news — by eliminating risky drivers from its customer base, Root can charge lower premiums overall.

Compare auto insurance policies instantly

Please enter a valid zip code
powered by

Root Insurance coverage options

You can get the typical coverage options from Root, including state-required coverages, comprehensive and collision. The company also offers:

Roadside assistance, included in Root policies at no additional charge. While most insurers offer roadside assistance for a monthly or per-use fee, Root covers up to three incidents per six-month policy term, up to $100 per incident.

Rideshare option for rental coverage. Most auto insurers offer rental reimbursement coverage, which pays for a rental while your car is in the shop due to a covered wreck. Root has the same coverage but is a little more flexible, allowing customers to instead be reimbursed for rides from companies like Uber or Lyft. With each claim, the option is the customer’s, but Root says it can help you decide.

SR-22 availability. You can get an SR-22 form, a certificate you file with your state that proves coverage, from Root Insurance. Like most interactions with Root, you do this through the app.

Root’s auto insurance discounts

Because of Root’s unusual pricing model, it doesn’t need to offer many discounts to keep prices low. It does offer:

  • Up to 10% discount for drivers who don’t use their phones on the road.
  • A discount for Tesla drivers who use Autosteer, or automated steering.

More about Root

Complaints: Root had more than the median number of auto insurance complaints compared to other insurers of similar size in 2018, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Website: Root has an intuitive website with a lot of FAQs, blog articles and other informational material. You can sign up and start a quote online, but everyone who wants a quote takes the Test Drive, so you’ll finish the process on your smartphone.

App: Root policies are entirely app-based, so you can view your policy documents and ID cards, pay bills, file and track claims, summon roadside assistance and much more with your smartphone. You can even request an SR-22 or change your policy from the app, which is highly rated in Apple and Android app stores.

Recap: Root Insurance pros and cons

Rates based primarily on your drivingMore likely to decline coverage than other companies
By refusing to cover risky drivers, Root can keep rates downNot yet available everywhere
Can get an SR-22 if you need one
Can do just about anything from the app

About the author