Nationwide Auto Insurance Review

Nationwide offers customizable auto coverage with plenty of discounts

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Nationwide
Investopedia’s Rating
4.5

Our Take 

Nationwide offers customizable auto insurance coverage in all 50 states, and its premiums tend to be on the lower end among the competition. With an array of online tools available and solid ratings for customer service, we believe Nationwide is worth considering.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Product Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Broad network of agents available

  • Affordable average premiums

  • Useful online portal and mobile app

Cons
  • Roadside assistance, accident forgiveness, and vanishing deductible benefits cost extra

  • Disappointing customer satisfaction ratings

Key Takeaways
  • Nationwide was originally founded in 1926 as an auto insurance provider. Since then, the company has grown to offer an array of other insurance products as well as investing and retirement services.
  • Customers can qualify for a wide range of auto insurance discounts, including multi-policy discounts, accident-free discounts, smart student discounts, and more.
  • Nationwide offers a seamless online quote process for their auto insurance, making it easy to shop around and compare pricing among multiple insurers.
Product Specifications
  • Year Founded 1926
  • Types of Coverage Auto, homeowners, renters, RV, boat, life insurance, and more
  • Available Discounts 10
  • Purchasing Options Online, phone, local agent, etc.
  • Customer Service Phone: 1-877-669-6877
  • Official Website Nationwide.com

Pros Explained

  • Broad network of agents available: Nationwide makes it easy to find a local agent across all 50 states. You can use their website to search for agents in the state you live in, as well as in your city or metropolitan area.
  • Affordable average premiums: In our internal study of auto insurance companies, Nationwide featured more affordable median premiums than most of the competition.
  • Useful online portal and mobile app: Nationwide lets you keep track of your policy details, pay premiums, and file claims using their online portal or your favorite mobile device. Nationwide also tied for the third-highest ranking for its mobile web experience in Q1 and Q3 of 2021 in the Keynova Q2 2021 Mobile Insurance Scorecard among the 12 largest U.S. auto insurers.

Cons Explained

  • Roadside assistance, accident forgiveness, and vanishing deductible benefits cost extra: Where some companies offer these benefits as standard, Nationwide considers roadside assistance, accident forgiveness, and vanishing deductible benefits as upgrades.
  • Disappointing customer satisfaction ratings: Nationwide scored a below-average rating in all five of the regions they were ranked within J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. The company also came in dead last among nine of the nation's largest insurers in J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.

Introduction

Nationwide offers highly-rated auto insurance policies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. They make it easy to customize your coverage, so you only pay for the protection you need. Upgrades are available for auto insurance policies, such as roadside assistance, accident forgiveness, and a vanishing deductible perk. Consumers can also customize their policy limits to boost protection where they need it most.

Nationwide offers the auto insurance coverages one would expect, including comprehensive collision, gap coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and bodily injury liability. The company also offers various ways to save on auto insurance premiums, including a SmartRide usage-based insurance plan that cuts 15% off your rates when you sign up.

If your goal is finding affordable auto insurance coverage you can rely on, read on to learn more about Nationwide auto insurance, coverage options you can purchase, and discounts you may be eligible for.

Company Overview

Nationwide was originally founded as an auto insurance provider in 1926, and the company is still a major provider of auto insurance to this day. However, they also offer other insurance coverage options, ranging from life insurance to homeowners insurance, boat insurance, and RV insurance. 

According to the Nationwide 2020 Annual Report, the insurer was also the #1 writer of pet insurance and farm and ranch insurance as of 2019. As of their most recent report, Nationwide is the 8th largest auto insurance provider in the United States.

Types of Coverage

Nationwide offers the following coverage options within their auto insurance plans:

Comprehensive

Comprehensive coverage from Nationwide can help cover damage to your vehicle from vandalism, weather events, theft, and even accidents involving animals. It’s also an optional benefit; if you choose to pay for comprehensive coverage, you can save on premiums by raising your deductible.

Collision

Collision coverage can help pay for damage to your vehicle if you are in an accident with another vehicle or an object, regardless of who is at fault. A deductible will apply when you file a claim for collision coverage.

Gap Coverage

If you owe more than your car is worth, and your car is totaled in an accident, gap insurance can help fill the difference between what you owe and your car's cash value. Unfortunately, gap insurance from Nationwide doesn't cover the cost of your deductible, and the amount of your deductible will come out of the amount of money you’re reimbursed for.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can help cover shortages in coverage when you're in an accident with a motorist who is not adequately insured. This coverage can kick in to pay for damage and medical costs for you and passengers in your vehicle.

Liability Car Insurance Coverage

When you're at fault in an accident that results in injuries, bodily injury liability helps pay for damages, including medical bills and loss of income. Meanwhile, property damage liability coverage can help pay for repairs if you are in an accident that causes damage to another person's vehicle or property. Likewise, this coverage can kick in to protect you if you are sued as the result of an accident you caused.

Roadside Assistance

This optional coverage option is available 24/7, and it can come to the rescue when you require:

  • Towing
  • A jump start
  • Gas delivery
  • A flat tire change
  • Winching

This coverage qualifies you for up to $100 in lockout service benefits, and you can add a basic or "Plus" version of roadside assistance to your policy. The more robust plan includes all the benefits of the basic plan plus car towing service up to 100 miles and trip interruption coverage worth up to $500 when you're stranded 100 miles or more from home.

Discounts

Nationwide offers quite a few discounts that can help you save on auto insurance premiums:

  • Multi-policy discount: Save money on premiums when you bundle auto insurance with homeowners insurance, renters insurance, or other insurance products. Nationwide reports that bundling multiple policies with them can save you as much as 20%.
  • SmartRide discount: Plug a device in your car that monitors your driving habits, and you can qualify for usage discounts.
  • SmartMiles discount: Save on premiums when you drive infrequently and want your premiums based on how many miles you drive.
  • Accident-free discount: Pay lower premiums when you maintain an accident-free driving record.
  • Good student discount: This discount is available to students ages 16 to 24 who maintain a "B" average or better at school.
  • Defensive driving discount: This discount is available to individuals who complete a state-approved safety course, although you may have to be ages 55 or older to qualify.
  • Anti-theft discount: Qualify for lower premiums when you install specific safety devices that ward off a theft of your vehicle.
  • Safe driver discount: Qualify for a discount on auto insurance if you're free of at-fault accidents and major violations for at least five years.
  • Easy pay discounts: Qualify for discounts for setting up automatic payment from your bank account.
  • Paperless discounts: Save money on premiums when you elect to receive electronic notifications and information on your auto insurance policy.

Nationwide's SmartRide usage-based driving program can help you save on premiums. However, your discount is based on your driving habits, so it's possible your savings could be $0.

Payment Options

Nationwide offers two different payment discounts, including a discount for setting up automatic payments from a bank account or electing paperless billing. Also, note that you'll pay an installment fee that raises your premiums if you don't pay for six months of auto insurance upfront. Likewise, you can pay less for auto insurance overall if you cover your Nationwide auto insurance premiums in full every six months.

Payment options offered by Nationwide include:

  • Direct pay by check, cash, debit, or credit card
  • Easy pay automated electronic funds transfers
  • Electronic bill pay through the customer's financial institution
  • Recurring automatic debits from a customer's bank account

Nationwide lets customers pay their insurance premiums with credit cards, including American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa.

Loss Ratio

Nationwide features a loss ratio of 63.87%, which puts it at a disadvantage compared to other auto insurance companies we profiled. A loss ratio in this range led to Nationwide scoring 2 out of 5 in our internal ranking, which is the second-worst possible score.

A company with a low loss ratio of claims/premiums should be offering lower prices. By contrast, other major auto insurance companies we profiled in this category scored better, including Berkshire Hathaway and Erie Insurance.

Other Features

Nationwide offers a unique feature known as the Nationwide On Your Side Review. This free insurance review is available to all Nationwide customers, and it can help them ensure they're paying for the exact coverage they need and nothing more. This review gives customers the chance to ask questions and get answers about their policies and benefits, their coverage limits and exclusions, and recent life changes that might alter their insurance needs.

Customers can also utilize a usage-based insurance option that lets them pay for auto coverage based on the miles they drive. SmartMiles is available in 42 states, and it's ideal for low mileage drivers, including individuals who work at home.

Customer Service

The Nationwide mobile app lets users pay their bill, view policy details, and view insurance cards without logging in. This useful app is available for download on iOS and Android devices. It has received strong third-party customer reviews.

Meanwhile, customers can call 1-877 On Your Side (1-877-669-6877) for assistance and support from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET on Saturdays. Phone customer service hours are available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET seven days a week.

An email contact form is also available on the Nationwide website. If you work directly with a Nationwide agent, you can also reach out for personalized help during local business hours.

Satisfaction Ratings

Unfortunately, there are some areas where Nationwide appears to fall short. Nationwide scored a below-average rating in all five of the regions they were ranked within J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, which measures how satisfied customers were with their auto insurance plans.

Nationwide also scored last out of the nation's largest insurers in J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, which measured how satisfied customers were with the process involved in actually purchasing insurance from the company. Nationwide scored 846 out of 1,000 possible points in this study, compared to the segment average score of 871.

Potential Nationwide customers should also be aware of the company’s financial stability, which is an underlying metric used to distinguish their ability to pay claims. Fortunately, Nationwide enjoys solid marks in this category. Currently, the company boasts an A+ rating from AM Best and an A1 rating from Moody's.

Complaint Index

Consumers considering Nationwide should also have a general idea of the number of complaints filed against the company. Fortunately, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) compiles consumer complaints about insurers in one place, making it easy to compare insurance providers based on the industry average. 

The NAIC sets the industry average complaints at 1.0, and Nationwide has a company complaint index rating of 1.05 for 2021. The company had 16 total complaints registered through the NAIC that year.

Account Management

Nationwide features its own mobile app and an online dashboard that offer the same basic functions. You can log in on any device to view proof of insurance, monitor your policy details, pay your premiums, or file a claim.

Nationwide mobile options also let you track your claims seamlessly from start to finish or connect with roadside assistance.

How Nationwide Compares to Other Auto Insurance Companies

Nationwide has plenty of features that help it attract new auto insurance customers, yet one of the most attractive perks comes in the form of relatively low premiums. Investopedia compared median annual premiums among top insurers who offer auto insurance nationwide, and Nationwide's worked out to $1,511 per year. 

While Nationwide didn't offer the lowest pricing of all companies we compared, their premiums compared favorably to other top companies, including Allstate ($1,674), Amica ($2,374), and Farmers ($1,909), among others.

Your best bet is comparing Nationwide auto insurance premiums with at least three or four other insurers that offer the coverage you need. Nationwide offers multiple discounts and ongoing savings opportunities, but you won't know how they compare unless you get a free quote.

Verdict

Nationwide started out as an auto insurance provider in 1926, and they remain a commanding force in this area of the insurance industry to this day. With affordable premiums, plenty of discounts available, and opportunities to customize your coverage to suit your goals, they could be the best insurance choice for your needs.

However, customer service ratings for Nationwide are below average, and you may have to pay extra for benefits that would be included in your policy automatically with other insurers. If you want to buy from a company known for its exemplary customer service options, Nationwide may not be a good fit.

Methodology

Investopedia is committed to providing readers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of auto insurance companies. All of our reviews are based on extensive research and analysis of each company’s coverage, customer service, pricing, years in business, accreditation, and more. To rate providers, we developed an auto insurance review methodology that compares the auto insurance coverage types, additional features, discounts, account management, and other features.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Keynova. "Scorecard Winners From Keynova."

  2. J.D. Power. "J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study."

  3. J.D. Power. "J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study."

  4. Nationwide. "Nationwide 2020 Annual Report," Page 6.

  5. NAIC. “National Association of Insurance Commissioners Property and Casualty Insurance Industry 2020 Top 25 Groups and Companies by Countrywide Premium."

  6. Moody’s. “Rating Action: Moody’s Affirms Nationwide’s Ratings (Insurance Financial Strength A1); Outlook to Stable from Negative."

  7. Businesswire. “AM Best Places Credit Ratings of Nationwide Indemnity Company Under Review With Positive Implications, Affirms Credit Ratings of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and its Key Operating Subsidiaries."

  8. NAIC. "Nationwide Mut Fire Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."