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Intro
Root Insurance is disrupting the car insurance market with a business model that tests applicants’ driving skills before approving them. The premise is simple but game-changing: the applicant takes a short test and Root then analyzes their driving skills to decide whether to insure them. By only insuring good drivers, Root saves lots of money on future claims. It passes on most of the savings to its customers in the form of cheaper insurance premiums.
Pros and Cons
The main benefit to going with Root Insurance is the potential savings. If you consider yourself a good driver, then all you need to do is prove it. Root calculates a customer’s premium based on how well they drive. According to Root, it can save drivers up to 52% compared to the average insurance premium for their personal profile. The other pro worth mentioning is that Root’s website is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. It contains a comprehensive knowledge center with clear and transparent explanations on how its service works and how it differs from traditional car insurance companies.
The only bad news we can report is that Root isn’t yet available in all states. Root has only been operating since 2018, and is still rolling out its service state by state. Last time we checked, it was available in 24 states (full list in How to Apply). The other downside is that it takes longer to get approved. Root uses its advanced technology to analyze your driving behavior, and it normally takes 2-3 weeks to get back to the applicant with the results. While it might sound like an inconvenience to not be able to purchase coverage instantly, the benefit is that Root could slash your premium in half.
Types of Auto Insurance
Root’s business model is very different from traditional auto insurance providers, but it offers the same types of standard vehicle coverage you’ll find elsewhere.
  • Bodily Injury Liability. Covers medical expenses, funeral expenses, and/or lost wages for other people when you cause an accident.
  • Property Damage Liability. Covers damages you cause to another vehicle or another person’s property.
  • Collision. Covers damage to your own vehicle as the result of an accident, including the cost of repairs and a replacement vehicle if needed.
  • Comprehensive. Covers damage to your own vehicle from non-collision incidents, such as theft, vandalism, fire, flood, or hitting an animal.
  • Medical Payments. Compulsory in eight states, this covers injuries to your or other passengers, no matter who caused the accident.
  • Personal Injury Protection. Compulsory in 15 states, this is similar to Medical Payments coverage. Root makes sure you get the right type of medical or injury coverage for your state.
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist. This covers bodily injury and property damage liability when you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Additional Features
Like other car insurers, Root offers a handful of add-ons, including the following.
  • Rental. Covers the cost of a rental vehicle when yours is in the shop as the result of an accident.
  • Roadside Assistance. Free with standard coverage, this guarantees you roadside assistance three times per six-month policy term, up to $100 per incident.
  • Referral Program. Because Root uses its driving test to save drivers more money than they would with other insurers, it doesn’t offer any other driver rewards or benefits. However, it does offer an amazing referral program that lets you earn up to $1,000 for every friend that uses your personalized referral link to sign up for the app and then qualifies for Root quote.
How to Apply
Where Root really differentiates itself from other car insurance providers is in the application process. With traditional insurers, the applicant fills out details about themselves and their vehicle and waits for a quote. With Root, the applicant takes a driving test and Root analyzes the results to decide whether to approve the applicant – and how much to charge them.
At last count, Root was available in the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.
This is how the driving test works:
  • Download the Root app to your iOS or Android device and register for an account.
  • Get in the car, switch the Root app on, and drive as you normally would.
  • Root uses driving data from your phone to measure your driving behavior. This process usually takes 2-3 weeks.
  • If you qualify, you’ll get a rate based on how good a driver you are. The better you drive, the more money you can save – up to 52% off the usual premium for your personal profile.
Filing a Claim
Being a tech-friendly company, Root lets its policy holders file claims straight from the Root app. Filing a claim is really simple and takes only about five minutes. If you like to do things the old way, you can also call Root on 866-903-8451 for most claims or 866-903-7243 for glass claims.
Here’s how it works.
  • Tap File a claim on the bottom of the home screen in the app.
  • Choose File a claim to report your incident directly in the app.
  • Provide as much information as possible.
  • Add photos to your claim if you’re able.
  • Wait for one of Root’s claims experts to get back to you and discuss the final steps in the process.
Contact Details
Although Root is primarily a mobile-based car insurer, it does offer customer support by phone and email.
  • Phone: 866-980-9431
  • Email: help@joinroot.com
Summary
It’s not often we get to say this about a car insurance provider, but Root’s business model is truly game changing. Root Insurance does things completely differently from other providers, analysing a person’s driving skills to decide whether to approve them and how much to charge them. It is more difficult to get approved to Root than to other insurance companies. If you’re a good driver, you should have no trouble getting approved, and Root can slash your usual auto coverage costs in half.