Are you looking for a company that will use data mining and artificial intelligence to help you pay less rather than buy more? If so, Root Insurance, a car insurance company, has a product offering that may make sense for you.
Safe drivers who are willing to let Root Insurance track their driving behavior can save up to 52% over other insurance products.
Here’s how it works. Learn more in our Root Car Insurance Review below. See how it compares to the cheapest car insurance options.
- App-based car insurance
- Data-driven to determine insurance pricing
- Root only sells car insurance, no bundling options
- We found it more expensive than alternatives
What Is Root Insurance?
Root Insurance is a car insurance company that sells insurance directly to consumers. It uses an app to capture data about your driving quality, and it uses that information to assess your safety as a driver. Your driver safety rating (along with other information such as the value of your vehicle, your driving history, etc.) determines how much you pay for your car insurance.
If you need to make a claim, you make it directly through the Root insurance app. That makes using your insurance a bit easier than using insurance with other insurers.
Right now Root insures drivers in the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
What Makes Root Different Than Other Car Insurers?
Root makes some big claims about being different than other insurers, and in some ways it is. Root requires all drivers to have a “test drive period” where it develops a score for drivers. This score weighs heavily into whether Root offers you a rate. If you’re a safe driver (not driving late at night, not braking suddenly, driving mainly at constant speeds, taking turns safely, etc.) you’re likely to get lower rates because of your safety.
On top of that, Root differentiates between bus rides, bike rides, and even rides as a passenger, so that only your personal driving is assessed. Being this data-driven is a differentiator, but many other insurers are beginning to factor this into models too.
Root’s extensive use of driving data strikes me as both an advantage and a disadvantage. Young people often have high car insurance rates, even if they are safe drivers. Because Root considers actual driving behavior, good drivers are likely to save money. That said, I’m always hesitant to recommend that you turn over your data to an outside company, even one that promises not to sell your information.
Root also differentiates itself by making its prices clear. It’s easy to decide what type of insurance coverage you want based on your personal needs. The site (and the app) define insurance coverage terms in plain English.
Another perk of opting for Root? Root includes roadside assistance (for things like jumping cars, unlocking your doors, and short tows) with every insurance package. As someone who has had a car die on the interstate, I can attest to the value of this type of coverage for jalopy drivers.
What About Bundling Discounts?
Root only sells car insurance. That means, you can’t bundle various types of insurance (for example, homeowners and car insurance) to save money. In my experience, bundling car insurance with other types of insurance is the primary way to save money on this necessary cost.
However, if you only need car insurance (for example, you live at home with your parents, or your spouse or partner’s rental or homeowners insurance covers your belongings), it could be worthwhile to take a test drive with Root. You may find that you qualify for substantial savings.
Root Car Insurance Costs
This is where we were a bit disappointed in Root. When we went to get a quote, it was amazing (and a bit creepy) that it had our vehicle and driver information already available. It knew that based on our name and email.
Root then offers multiple options - a minimum coverage and higher coverage options.
The minimum coverage is reasonable, but still cost more than what I currently pay for higher coverage.
If you were to compare the exact coverage I have versus what Root would charge, Root was $971 more every 6 months than my current insurance. That's really, really expensive. Hopefully this was a quirk for us and not representative of all their policies.
Final Take on Root Insurance
Depending on your phase of life, Root Insurance could offer a great deal. Young drivers who don’t need renters or homeowners insurance should certainly consider a test drive. Established drivers who already have a great track record are unlikely to save much money, especially when you consider the loss of bundling discounts.
- Pricing - 50
- Ease of Use - 80
- Customer Service - 80
- Features and Options - 60
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.