Startup Auto Insurer Root Expands by 2 States, Pairs with Lyft on Rental Coverage

July 6, 2017

Startup telematics-based auto insurer Root is now offering rental coverage in partnership with ridesharing firm Lyft. For policyholders with short-term needs for alternate transportation after an incident, Root will now offer a choice between a rental car or a comparable amount of Lyft credits for free rides.

In addition to offering a new twist on rental coverage, Root also announced that it is expanding to Oklahoma and Indiana, after starting out in Ohio and Arizona.

Lyft is also piloting a rental coverage option with CSAA Insurance in California.

Roots targets good drivers using telematics and smartphone technology. To get a quote, drivers must download an app and take a two or three-week test drive, depending on how much they drive. Once complete, Root provides a quote and allows customers to request cancellation of their old policy, all through their mobile phone

With its Lyft rental option, the company said it is trying to improve the auto insurance claims process, which it says has “long been one of the auto insurance industry’s biggest pain points, and a big piece of that is the rental reimbursement experience.”

Under the Lyft program, customers who have a short-term need (a week or less) will have the option to choose a rental car or select Lyft credits worth a comparable amount. Policyholders can make the decision each time they file a claim.

“The claims experience is notoriously bad. You’ve just gotten into an accident and now you have a mountain of paperwork, agents with questions, and the added bonus of no car,” said Alex Timm, co-founder and CEO of Root. “We’re rebuilding the claims experience from the ground up, starting with rental coverage. Through our partnership with Lyft, we’re making sure we don’t add to the stress of an already bad day.”

With the option of Lyft, Root policyholders may choose to forgo the rental car process entirely and instead have Lyft credits added to their account to use over the period of the repair.

Root says its new rental coverage offer is in keeping with its “Lyft on Us” perk, which gave policyholders free Lyft credits on the most dangerous driving days of the year, helping keep them safe.

Root officially debuted last fall after it raised about $7 million in initial funding from venture capital firm Drive Capital and 20 employees. Munich Re, Odyssey Re and Maiden Re are providing reinsurance, and Silicon Valley Bank is backing Root’s reserves.

Root is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

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Latest Comments

  • July 7, 2017 at 5:31 am
    Bob says:
    They write as much premium as a small agency according to the Ohio DOI financials.
  • July 6, 2017 at 8:32 pm
    Steve says:
    How many states of girth will approve Root's rating scheme? It will be interesting to see the negotiation dynamic between engineers and regulators. Also, it's interesting to... read more
  • July 6, 2017 at 2:11 pm
    Eddie Hall says:
    "The claims experience is notoriously bad. You've just gotten into an accident and now you have a mountain of paperwork, agents with questions and the added bonus of no car."... read more
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