Root Car Insurance is a simple and easy way to digitally insure your car without the hassle of regular insurance. It also uses a fairer metric to assess a potential policyholder’s history. Moreover, it generally provides cheaper rates than the competition. However, while there may be many potential benefits, Root Car Insurance isn’t perfect. It still has its quirks and is relatively new to the insurance market. Here’s everything you need to know about this digital car insurance.
What Is Root Car Insurance?
At first glance, Root might seem like an ordinary auto insurance company. However, what distinguishes it from other auto insurance companies is the way it determines rates and quotes. That’s because it cares mainly about your driving habits instead of other metrics.
Of course, like a regular insurance service, Root will request the standard documents to assist in its assessment. Potential clients will still need to submit their demographic information, driving history, and possibly their credit score. However, unlike other auto insurance companies, it treats these as secondary considerations. The main consideration is a potential policyholder’s driving score assessed during a testing period.
This doesn’t mean Root will send an employee to assess your driving habits manually. Instead, it uses a mobile app to assess your driving capabilities. The app will also track your driving habits and location as you go about your day during the test period.
It is only after this test period that Root will issue a quotation. As you might expect, the rates you get are largely dependent on your driving habits. If you’re rated a “bad” driver, then Root will decline your application.
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How Root Car Insurance Works
In some ways, Root works like many other insurance companies. You apply for a quote, get assessed, and receive a contract with the rates afterward. However, this is where the similarities end. That’s because Root relies on driving habits to set rates. This differs from regular auto insurance companies, which rely on potential clients’ background information.
Root also relies heavily on its mobile app to process many transactions. This not only encompasses the application and testing process but also things like the filing of claims, premium payments, etc. Thus, it isn’t like your regular auto insurance company. If you’re interested in trying it out, here’s what you need to know about how it works.
Let’s start with the application process. Unlike regular insurance companies, Root’s application process is entirely done online. You can easily do this through the company’s website or the mobile app. If you apply through the website, you’ll still have to complete the application process through the app.
Nonetheless, this is far from inconvenient, especially since all you need is a smartphone to get started. This makes it easy for anyone to get an application even without talking to an insurance salesman.
Moreover, because the application happens digitally, people don’t have to wait too long to file their application. As we’ve previously mentioned, it provides rates for individual clients based on their driving habits. They do this through a test period using the app’s machine learning to track and assess a person’s driving skills.
Once a client finishes the application process on the app, this testing period starts immediately. The user only has to allow the app access to their GPS location to start measuring their driving habits.
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Once you have started the testing period, it’s now up to the app to take the lead. There’s a list of criteria that the app will use to assess your driving competency. These include the usual time of day when you drive, speed, brake force, smoothness, and turning speed.
Of course, you might think that there’s a chance the app can measure your driving habits incorrectly. After all, what if the app starts rating you when someone else is driving? Fortunately, they already considered this when they developed the app. Hence, it should be able to tell whether the applicant is driving or is merely a passenger. This way, the app will not score you incorrectly during the testing period.
On average, the test drive period should last about three weeks. However, it can be reduced to one week or even extended up to one month, depending on the situation. The more often you drive, the faster it should take, and vice versa. Regardless, you can easily check how long your testing period will last in the app.
After the testing period, Root will send a completed quotation through the app. However, if the assessment turns out poorly, they may also notify you that they’re declining the application. Surprisingly, this can happen frequently, but it happens only when you are rated as a high-risk driver. Otherwise, the quotation should push through and be delivered successfully.
Now, you might think it’s a little unconventional for Root to deny quotations. However, this is, in fact, a good thing for the people who pass the test period. That’s because, through this method, it can weed out the bad drivers early on. Hence, they can afford to provide lower premiums with lower rates to those who do pass the test.
If an applicant passes the test drive, it should offer them a quote when the period is up. The quotation rates should reflect the applicant’s driving habits, with higher rates for high-risk policyholders. However, more often than not, Root offers low premiums to the applicants who pass.
As a result, many safe drivers with low mileage save a lot when they switch to Root. This is also true even if the client is considered “high-risk” by other insurance companies. That’s because other companies usually base their assessments on more arbitrary metrics. These include demographics like age and gender or metrics like the type of car and credit history.
Since Root uses driving habits as a basis, good drivers don’t need to worry about other metrics to apply with Root. As long as they’re confident in their driving habits, they can easily apply.
When it comes to discounts, Root offers two. The first one is a percentage discount (up to 10%) if insurance holders refrain from using their phones while driving. The second one is Autosteer, which is specifically for Tesla drivers who use automated steering.
One of the best parts about Root is the policies and coverage it offers. Yes, it does offer all of the basics and state-required coverages, including comprehensive and collision. To add to these, it also provides many other benefits that most other auto insurance companies don’t.
The first, and one of the most prominent, unique coverage that Root provides is roadside assistance. This is provided to all policyholders at no additional cost, meaning you don’t have to worry about monthly fees or one-time payments. There is, however, a limit to this. Root can only cover three incidents at most for six-month policy terms. Furthermore, it can only provide $100 per roadside incident.
Yes, many other auto insurance companies cover rental reimbursement in case your car gets wrecked. This allows you to rent a car to drive in the meantime without worrying too much about the cost. While Root also provides this benefit, it also has an alternate option that policyholders can avail of. That is a rideshare option instead of rental coverage.
Ridesharing is everywhere these days with a wide variety of rideshare companies. It’s common to see people opt for rideshares instead of renting cars on their own. It’s a great choice if you prefer ridesharing over renting when your car is unavailable. Do note that Root’s rideshare option only covers Lyft.
Lyft on Us
This is the name given to Root’s Lyft rideshare coverage program. This program covers most Lyft rides, including those made during holidays like New Year’s Eve, Independence Day, and more. This option is unavailable in North Dakota.
One of the best parts about Root is how easily available most things are. You can find almost every document you would need right on the app. As the information is made available to you upfront, there’s a lot more transparency compared to other insurers.
One of these documents Root Car Insurance readily provides is the SR-22 form. This is a certificate car owners need to prove car insurance coverage with their state. It’s very convenient because the form is made readily available right on your smartphone.
Root Car Insurance App & User Experience
Most auto insurance companies haven’t used modern technology to their advantage to manage insurance. This helps Root stand out from the crowd, as it predominantly uses digital platforms for its insurance services.
As previously mentioned, you can find all the forms and documents you need on Root’s app. Apart from the SR-22 form, you can also find policy documents, identification, and more. You can also process different transactions through the app without going through too much bureaucratic red tape. You can file for claims, pay their bills, and even ask for roadside assistance with the press of a button.
In addition, the app also allows you to change your policies on the app. This not only makes transactions and processes easy but also transparent and clear. There’s no need for awkward conversations with Root’s staff or long, clunky transactions that go nowhere.
Root’s website and app are also very clean and intuitive, making them easy to navigate even for non-tech-savvy customers. The website is clear, with many FAQs and articles that dispense vital information to you.
However, this doesn’t mean Root Car Insurance reviews for user experience are always great. Like any service company, Root does have its problems. For example, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Root receives a lot of customer complaints. In fact, the number of complaints exceeds that of other auto insurance companies of the same size.
Root Car Insurance Review: The Verdict
Is Root good? As you can see, Root Car Insurance offers many beneficial features, especially because it relies on technology. You can do everything on the app, from the application and testing to managing and filing claims. This makes every step, from start to finish, easily accessible.
Furthermore, because Root emphasizes driving habits over history and demographics, it’s less prejudiced against policyholders with poorer backgrounds. This means that potential clients marked as “high-risk” by other insurance companies have a better chance with Root.
This screening method also makes Root Car Insurance a great option for buyers on a budget. By weeding out high-risk individuals with bad driving habits, Root can afford to provide lower premiums.
However, while Root Car Insurance does provide all of these benefits, there are still disadvantages that people need to consider. For example, Root Car Insurance isn’t as widely available across North America as other auto insurance companies. As a result, not everyone can freely apply despite all of its benefits.
Furthermore, while Root uses a better metric to provide quotations than other insurers, they prefer to take more conservative drivers. Hence, the screening process is a little stricter in some sense. As a result, Root Car Insurance also denies applications a lot more than other insurers.