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How does Root Car Insurance work?

Tamara Avatar By: Tamara | Last updated July 11, 2019

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If you are a driver, you’re most likely tired just like anybody else of the tedious process involved with getting a car insurance. Papers to be signed, agents to be met, procedures over procedures. But what if there was an easier way?

Root Insurance Co is a car insurance company based in the US, that has come up with an improved and more appealing system. Their entire business is based on their Root mobile app and you can get a car insurance policy directly from your smartphone.

What is Root Insurance Co?

Root Insurance is a newcomer in the industry as it has only been around for 5 years. It operates in 25 states and plans to conquer the rest of them, too, by the end of 2019. This company currently operates in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah.

Why opt for Root Insurance?

The concept of Root is a non-discriminatory one. Unlike most car insurance companies, Root Insurance doesn’t discriminate based on demographics, such as your ZIP code, your age, it doesn’t care what your previous car insurance rate was, what your credit score is or what kind of vehicle you own. It only considers one thing when calculating your insurance rate: your driving skills. 

Root Insurance is not for everybody, because it doesn’t encourage bad drivers. It only works with drivers that have decent driving abilities and it rewards those who are skillful drivers by offering them lower rates and helping them save up money (with even up to 52% compared to other car insurance companies).

Root Insurance is for those who value their time or simply don’t have time to go to a car insurance office, meet up with agents and so on. You can apply for a car insurance policy from anywhere, via your smartphone, from your Root app.

How does Root Insurance work?

Root Insurance calculates your insurance rates based on your driving skills. But how do they know how good of a driver you are? Well, they make you go through a ‘test drive’. The test drive is a period of 2 or 3 weeks during which their Root app will analyze the way you drive through its complex software and give you a score based on several factors.

You have to download the app (it works with iOS and Android), install it, create an account, grant the required permissions and turn on your GPS on your phone. Your GPS has to stay ON during the entire test drive period, but the app doesn’t have to be open all the time, it can work in the background.

The app uses your phone’s motion sensors, machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) to analyze factors involved in driving: braking, speed of turns, how you use the gas pedal, during what hours you drive the most, how many starts and stops you make and more. You can keep tabs on all these aspects and you’ll be able to see how you’re doing by accessing the ‘driver scorecard’ in the app.   

The app will only assess the data received when you are driving the car and not when you are in a bus, in the passenger seat, on a bike and so on. The app can make the difference between all these through your phone’s motion sensors. “The motion of your phone is different whether you’re the driver or the passenger”, as they explain it on their website.

Once the app gathers enough data to work with (that usually takes around 2 or 3 weeks, but in some cases even less), you’ll receive an overall score. The better your driving skills and the score, the lower your insurance rate.

How to get a good score on the test drive? 

You can obtain a good score by driving carefully and paying attention to some factors:

  • Avoid rough, sudden maneuvers like hard braking, fast turns, inconsistency in how you step on the gas pedal, etc.
  • Try to avoid taking late-night trips with your car and drive as much as possible during safer hours
  • Pay attention to the routes you choose when you drive
  • Overall, try to drive smoothly and to respect all the rules