Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Dec 1, 2021

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At a Glance

  • Root auto insurance rates can be as low as $65/mo for drivers with clean records
  • Customer service reviews are poor due to a slow Root insurance claims process
  • Root is a solid company for new drivers, drivers with short commutes, and those with good driving habits

It may be one of the youngest usage-based companies in the market, but Root auto insurance has been changing how car insurance rates are calculated since 2015.

Root uses telematics and GPS to measure driving habits, frequency, and ride smoothness to determine its rates. Drivers take an insurance test drive to qualify for quotes, and good driving habits are rewarded with an affordable full-coverage policy. 

But how do Root auto insurance rates compare to other usage-based insurance companies? And will your rates go up for bad driving habits?

To find the answers you’re looking for, comparing cheap car insurance quotes is a great place to start. 

Keep reading our Root auto insurance review to learn more about the company, how to lock in the most affordable rates, and where to compare Root auto insurance rates to other top companies in your area.

You can also compare car insurance quotes from local companies for free. Enter your ZIP code above to get started.

How does Root auto insurance work?

Insurance companies typically use factors that have nothing to do with driving to determine rates. For example, single drivers with low credit scores pay much higher rates than married couples. This is based on statistics showing that single people and people with bad credit are more likely to file claims. 

However, Root bases its auto insurance rates on your driving behavior. On its website, Root claims that your driving style accounts for nearly a quarter of your insurance costs. At other companies, it barely makes up 10%.

What does this mean if you switch to Root auto insurance? Well, if you’re a good driver, you could see cheaper rates with Root than anywhere else. But in order to qualify for Root auto insurance, you must earn a high test drive score. 

To shop for Root auto insurance quotes, you need to download the Root mobile app first. It’s free to download the app and participate in the test drive. The app will access the GPS in your phone to monitor your driving habits and determine your rates after three weeks. 

Root uses the following driving criteria to determine rates:

  • Speed and turning speed
  • Time of day
  • Hard braking
  • Ride smoothness

After the test period, you will receive a notice denying or accepting you for coverage. Be aware that many customers fail to pass the test drive. Denial of coverage is one of the most common customer complaints with Root.

However, passing the test drive means you qualify for some of the cheapest quotes. In addition, because Root car insurance quotes are based so heavily on driving style, many high-risk drivers are denied coverage, allowing the company to keep rates low for those it does accept.

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How much does Root auto insurance cost?

Drivers with excellent records who drive less than 1,000 miles per month can qualify for rates as low as $65/mo with Root.

Take a look at the table below to see how Root compares to other popular auto insurance companies with usage-based programs:

Auto Insurance CompanyAuto Insurance RatesA. M. Best Rating
State Farm$98/moA++

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The above rates are averages based on 30-year-old drivers with clean records who drive under 500 miles per month. Your rates will vary based on your own driving record, as well as where you live and the type of car you drive. Insurance rates are also dependent on your Root insurance test drive score.

Root uses real-time driving habits, then considers other demographics, including ZIP code, to calculate rates.

As a result, Root offers some of the cheapest usage-based insurance rates because it doesn’t cover many high-risk drivers. If you drive less than 1,000 miles per month and are an experienced driver, you could lock in affordable Root auto insurance rates.

If you have a poor credit score, Root may soon have cheaper car insurance quotes than other companies. According to its website, Root promises to stop using credit scores by 2025.

Root Auto Insurance Discounts

Root automatically factors in your relevant driving and demographic information to ensure you get the cheapest quotes possible. This knocks a few dollars off your rates while saving you the trouble of asking ahead of time for available discounts.

After three years of good driving, you’re eligible for further discounts, and again after the five-year mark. This includes up to 10% off if you don’t use your phone when driving.

If you bundle your Root auto insurance policy with the company’s homeowners or renters insurance coverage, you can save an additional 5% on car insurance.

This may not be the same extensive list of discounts you see at other car insurance companies, but Root is all about convenience. Drivers can sign up for coverage quickly without asking about each individual discount, and Root can still offer lower rates than its competitors. 

However, if you qualify for specific discounts, such as membership or military discounts, you may find more affordable coverage elsewhere. It pays to shop around with multiple companies before you buy Root auto insurance to find out where you’ll get the cheapest rates.

Root Auto Insurance Financial Ratings

The A.M. Best financial rating of an insurance company reflects its abilities to pay claims. Root doesn’t have a rating because it’s a smaller company. 

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does pose more of a risk than buying from a larger company with a bigger market share. So consider your options and compare multiple companies before you make the switch.

What kind of auto insurance coverage does Root offer?

Root Insurance offers liability and full coverage car insurance. 

Liability coverage is required to drive in nearly every state. Full coverage collision and comprehensive policies are optional. The type of car you drive and whether you are financing or leasing your vehicle will determine the coverage you need.

Check out this table for more information on Root auto insurance coverages:

Policy TypePolicy Limits and Deductibles
Collision Coverage$500 deductible
Comprehensive Coverage$1,000 deductible

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Adding collision and comprehensive coverage will raise your rates, but Root auto insurance deductibles are very affordable. A little extra cost upfront for lower deductibles can save you more in the event of an accident.

If you live in a state that requires it or simply want the additional coverages, Root also offers:

Uninsured motorist protection will cover you in a hit-and-run or an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. PIP and MedPay cover medical costs that exceed the limits of your auto insurance policy.

In most states, PIP and MedPay go hand-in-hand. If you live in a no-fault state, you automatically have PIP coverage. In tort states, you can choose to add this coverage.

Buying more coverage will raise your Root auto insurance rates, and not all types of coverage offered by Root are required by law. Check your state insurance laws before you buy coverage.

However, Root’s rates are very competitive to start with. And if you follow these hacks to get the cheapest car insurance, then you can still save a lot of money on your full coverage Root insurance policy.

Root Auto Insurance Add-Ons

For an additional cost, drivers can add Root ridesharing and rental reimbursement. 

Root will cover $50/day (up to $1,500/accident) for a rental while your vehicle is in the shop after an accident. But unlike other companies, Root allows drivers to apply this add-on to rideshare costs, too. For example, those who don’t drive often may not need a rental car and prefer to use rideshares to get around.

Root is also the only usage-based insurance company that provides roadside assistance with every policy. This add-on is included in your Root insurance quotes and does not cost anything extra. 

Root roadside assistance covers up to three services every six months for up to $100 each. Services include jump-starts, towing, flat tire replacement, and more.

Roadside assistance isn’t expensive with other companies. For example, GEICO offers this add-on for only $14/yr. It may not seem like much, but savings like these can add up quickly when combined with Root’s competitive rates.

Unfortunately, if you need more customizable options or specialized coverage, you’ll be better off comparing auto insurance quotes with other companies.

Other Root Insurance Policies

On top of affordable auto insurance, Root started providing homeowners and renters insurance in 2020.

Renters insurance is available in select states. Rates start as low as $6/mo. However, homeowners coverage is only available to existing policyholders who already have Root auto insurance.

If you choose to buy Root auto insurance, consider switching your other property insurance policies, too. You can get the convenience of paying all of your bills in one place and 5% off your rates with a bundling discount.

Is Root auto insurance available in my state?

Many of the best usage-based car insurance companies aren’t available everywhere. Telematics technology is relatively new to the insurance industry, and insurance laws in some states are slower to update than others.

In 2022, Root Insurance is available in 31 states and Washington D.C. 

Root Insurance is not available in Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mass, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, or Wyoming.

Root roadside assistance is also not available in California.

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How is Root’s customer service?

Root is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which gives them a strong customer service rating of A+. However, despite its cheap rates, Root customer service reviews are extremely poor. Most customer complaints are related to a slow claims process, increasing rates, and losing coverage after the first test drive. 

Root’s NAIC complaint ratio rating is 1.85, meaning it receives 85% more complaints on average than other companies its size.

While complaints are high, it’s important to note that Root is a smaller insurance company with a much smaller market share. This means that one complaint to Root customer service will have more of a negative effect on its ratio than, say, one complaint to State Farm, the largest insurance company by market share. 

It doesn’t mean these complaints are unfounded. It just means that other companies could have similar complaints but more customers. Before you buy auto insurance, read these customer reviews closely. Increased rates and dropped coverage aren’t risks for drivers with clean records, which Root is made for. However, a slow claims process is a red flag.

What is the Root insurance claims process?

After an accident, drivers can file a claim directly from the Root mobile app. When filing, include photographs of damages and any relevant information, such as where and when the accident occurred. 

If you don’t use the mobile app, you can file a Root insurance claim on their website. Either way, a Root insurance agent will reach out to you to complete the process.

Can you talk to a live person at Root Insurance? Absolutely. To speak with an agent directly, call the Root auto insurance phone number at 1-866-980-9431. You can call this same number to cancel Root auto insurance.

Agents are only available during business hours. If you need someone after hours, we recommend filing a claim online as soon as possible or using the app.

Root Auto Insurance Review: The Bottom Line

As far as usage-based car insurance goes, Root Insurance is a solid company to consider. Root auto insurance rates are competitive, and you can secure Root auto insurance quotes as low as $65/mo with a clean driving record. 

However, consider how often and far you drive before you buy Root. Since Root bases its auto insurance rates on driving style, including when and how often you drive, a long commute could raise your rates. You also risk being denied coverage as Root is pretty intolerant when it comes to speeding and other high-risk driving behaviors.

On the flip side, Root is less likely to use your credit score, marital status, or age against you when determining your rates. So if you’re looking for affordable insurance for first-time drivers, Root can deliver.

Despite cheap rates, though, Root customer service ratings are very low. Most complaints are directed at a slow claims process and increased rates after the test drive. If you have a good driving record, increased rates shouldn’t be much of a problem. But a slow claims process could slow down your recovery time after an accident.

On a more positive note, Root does respond to every complaint on the BBB website, encouraging customers with ways to reach out and improve their experience. 

As Root actively works to improve its reputation, you can shop around and compare Root auto insurance rates to other companies in your area. Enter your ZIP code below to start comparing free auto insurance quotes from local companies right now.