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Root insurance at a glance

Root is a relative newcomer to the insurance market, selling car insurance, homeowners insurance and renters coverage in a growing number of states. The ColumbusOhio-based insurance company offers a unique insurance product in the form of usage-based car insurance. It is one of the most prominent companies using telematics to gather information via devices to calculate customer premiums. Rates are then set based on your driving habits and frequency, rather than relying solely on demographic and historical information like your driving record or credit history.

More recently the company has expanded into home and renters coverage, encouraging customers to bundle these coverage types as a way to save money. While the home and renters products are not as prevalent as Root auto insurance, the company has plans for expanding into more regions in the future. Have a look at our Root insurance review below to get an overall sense of the company's performance and customer satisfaction.

Pros Cons
  • Good for low-mileage drivers
  • Cheaper premiums for safe drivers
  • High mileage drivers will pay more
  • Online experience only - no local agents

Root car insurance review

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3.0 Rating from The Zebra Question mark icon

Car insurance is Root's primary focus. The company is one of the early adopters of telematics technology to help assign rates based on driving habits instead of more standard rating factors. In fact, the company aims to discontinue using credit scores — a practice it calls "discriminatory" — by the year 2025. This is a rarity amongst insurers, and shows how Root Insurance aims to try and shake up an industry that is often slow to change.

In general, Root Insurance could be a good option for those with a clean driving history or those who don't drive often. If you don't fit into one of those categories, you may want to look a little more closely before committing to a Root policy. Read on to find out more about what Root Insurance customers can expect and if it's right for you. 

  • Customer satisfaction (J.D. Power) — Not rated
  • Claims satisfaction (J.D. Power) — Not rated
  • Financial strength (AM Best) — Not rated
  • NAIC Rating — Below average: Root Insurance is the subject of more customer complaints than the typical company, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
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Where is Root car insurance available?

Root Insurance has expanded aggressively in recent years, now offering auto policies in the following states: 

Company States available

Root car insurance

AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL GA, IL, IN, IA, KSKY, LAMD, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI

 

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Root car insurance coverage options

Root is competitive with other big-name insurance companies, offering the standard collision, comprehensive and liability coverage with bodily injury and property damage liability.

They also offer coverages for drivers in states with unique coverage reuirements, like personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured and underinsured motorist and medical payments coverage. Root's additional coverage options are limited so customers with special coverage needs may have to look elsewhere. Drivers who only need standard coverage should find Root sufficient for most needs. 

Roadside assiatance

Root auto insurance includes roadside assistance in every policy, helping drivers in the event of car trouble. This does not cost extra with Root as it typically does with other insurers. 

Rental car coverage

One of the few extra coverages available from Root is rental car coverage. If you purchase this coverage, Root will reimburse you up to a specific amount for a rental car until your vehicle is fixed or replaced after an accident. Root will also reimburse you for rides through the rideshare company Lyft. 

root coverage

Root Insurance discounts 

Those looking for a number of car insurance discount options are likely to be let down. This is because Root Insurance states that it applies discounts at the onset of your policy. This is done by measuring a driver's habits through the initial test drive. Essentially, this is a safe driver discount. As such, the only real discounts drivers should expect are the following: 

Multiple policies
Multiple policies

Bundle your auto and home insurance for a discount through Root Insurance.

Good driving record
Good driving record

If you maintain a good driving record, you may save money as a Root customer. This begins with three years of clean driving, with the possibility of further discounts at the five-year mark.


How does Root car insurance work?

Root is unique in that it is purely based in telematics. Many companies employ telematics technology to offer certain discounts, but Root goes for a usage-based insurance program only, believing that safe drivers who don't put a lot of miles on their car shouldn't pay the same rates as their more reckless colleagues. 

Telematics are measured by your smartphone — it records your driving habits, including speed, when and how long you drive, and sudden stops and starts via sensors in your phone. By signing up for Root, you agree to provide some personal information and driving data in exchange for a low rate on car insurance, as your safe driving habits dictate your quote. 

See the outline below to see the step-by-step process Root auto insurance applcants must complete. 

The Hawthorne Effect

Studies have shown that if we think we're being watched, we tend to behave more honestly. One name for this is the Hawthorne Effect, from a set of studies done nearly 100 years ago at the Hawthorne Works factory in Cicero, Illinois. More recently, a group of scientists at England's Newcastle University found that people cleaned up their breakroom more often when a poster showing a face or even a pair of eyes was posted nearby.

With smartphone apps like Root tracking our driving habits, companies hope that the feedback we get will help us make safe driving a priority.

Root believes that safe drivers who don't put a lot of miles on their car shouldn't pay the same rates as their more reckless colleagues.

Step 1: Input your information into the Root app

This verifies your name, address and vehicle information. Choose the coverage level that best suits your needs to get started. 

Step 2: Begin the test drive period

Now comes the time where you drive around with your smartphone recording telematics for a few weeks. This is purely for testing purposes and occurs pre-application, so make sure you’re properly covered with an insurance provider during this time. 

Step 3: Root decides your rate

Once the app has enough information on your driving habits, Root will let you know if they can insure you and what your rate will be. 

Step 4: Begin your policy

If you are accepted, you may choose your policy start date and how you would prefer to pay. Root will contact your old provider to handle any previous policy cancellation needs. Your new ID cards will be mailed to you.


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Root homeowners insurance review

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3.0 Rating from The Zebra Question mark icon

Root allows existing auto insurance customers to bundle homeowners insurance through a partnership with Homesite. Root home insurance is not available as a standalone insurance policy — a customer must be enrolled in Root's car insurance program to be eligible.

Though the company is seen as financially stable, it receives more customer complaints than average. Customers looking for top-notch customer satisfaction may do well to look into a policy with a more established carrier. In addition, Root homeowners insurance quotes can only be found via the company's mobile app, not its website. Root claims customers who bundle home and auto policies receive 10% discounts on their home insurance premium. 

  • Customer satisfaction (J.D. Power) — Not rated: Root’s home insurance partner, Homesite, is currently unrated by J.D. Power.
  • Claims satisfaction (J.D. Power) — Not rated
  • Financial strength — Excellent: Homesite’s financial outlook is considered stable by AM Best.
  • NAIC Rating — Above average: Homesite received more customer complaints than average in 2020, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
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States in which Root homeowners insurance is available

Home and car insurance bundles from Root are available in the following states:

Company States available

Root home insurance

AZCO, CT, DE, GA, IL, IA, KYMONE, NV, OH, OK, OR, PATN, TX, UT, with plans to expand to Indiana

 

Root homeowners coverage options and discounts

Through partner company, Homesite, Root offers all of the standard homeowners coverages expected from a major insurer, including dwelling, other structures, personal property, liability, loss of use and medical payments to others

Root Insurance offers additional homeowners coverage through endorsements. These add-ons can help cover the following: 

root home insurance

Root home insurance discounts

Root's home insurance partner, homesite, does offer home insurance discounts. However, this coverage is only available as a bundle through Root's app, so it's possible that not all discount options may apply. However, Root Insurance claims customers can save by bundling their home and auto coverage. Further discounts may be available for installed safety features such as sprinkler systems and fire alarms. 

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Root renters insurance review

Root renters insurance is not as widely available as its car insurance product. However, the company has plans for expansion. The company claims that customers who bundle car and rental insurance can see savings of up to 5%. Root's rental coverage can be broken down into two primary categories: personal property coverage and personal liability, though other coverage types comprise most standard policies. Remember: renters insurance coverage does not cover the physical structure of your home as you do not actually own the property. Read more about Root renters insurance below. 

  • Personal property coverage: This coverage protects your personal belongings if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen. At the onset of your policy, you will be required to set a coverage limit. Keep in mind that using this coverage may be subject to a deductible. 
  • Personal liability coverage: This protects you against damages or injury that you cause to others and their property. 
  • Medical payments: If someone is injured in your rental unit, this coverage will pay up to a set limit to help cover their injuries. 
  • Loss of use: If your rental unit is deemed unlivable, your renters insurance will pay up to a certain amount to cover the cost of lodging and some other expenses. 

Where is Root renters insurance available?

Root renters insurance is currently available in the following states: ArkansasGeorgiaKentuckyMissouriNew MexicoNevadaOhioTennessee and Utah.


Root Insurance online features and app

Root's mobile app (available for Apple and Android) is the basis of their insurance product. Unlike most major insurance companies, drivers must download the Root app in order to purchase a policy. The app measures your driving habits in order to produce your rate. However, on top of being a telematics program, the app also allows policyholders to do the following: 

  • File and manage claims
  • Access account information for auto insurance with home, or renters
  • Set up online bill pay
  • Add drivers and vehicles
  • View policy documents
  • Acquire proof of insurance cards

How to cancel a Root insurance policy

Cancellations can be done through the Root app or by contacting the insurance provider directly at 1-866-980-9431. 

Can I cancel my Root policy online?

Yes, Root allows policy cancellations through their app. For questions, customers can email (help@joinroot.com) or call 1-866-980-9431 to speak to a representative.


Is Root insurance right for you?

Root works a little differently than other car insurance companies. Because it measures your driving habits through a mobile app, Root car insurance may not be the best choice for high-risk drivers or those who find themselves driving an excessive amount. Things like hard braking and mileage are measured and incorporated into your insurance rates. However, if you are a relatively safe driver, you might even be able to save money. With a wide range of car insurance coverage options, it could be a good fit for many motorists.

Root is an insurance company that is trying to do things differently. However, that doesn't mean that they will necessarily have the best insurance rates available. Your best bet is to shop around and get as many insurance quotes as possible. The Zebra can help you get quotes from many insurance providers at once, helping you find the best insurance policy for your needs.

Learn more about Root Insurance at joinroot.com.


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Ross Martin photo
Ross MartinManager, Content Quality

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. As a licensed insurance agent, he specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

Ross holds a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London and has a background in copywriting and education. As a former teacher, he applies his educational skills to explain insurance concepts in ways that consumers can understand.

Ross's work has been cited by The New York Times, AxiosInvestopedia, The Simple DollarThe BalanceCar and Driver and Fox Business. He has been quoted by CNET, I Drive Safely and Kin Insurance

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.