Nationwide Life Insurance Review

Qualify for multi-policy discounts by bundling life insurance

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Nationwide

Nationwide

overall rating
4.7

Our Take

Nationwide is a major insurer with an excellent reputation for customer service. Offering several life insurance options, including term and permanent coverage, it has multiple riders you can add to your policy to personalize your coverage. 

Because Nationwide has a multi-policy discount program, Nationwide life insurance is best for customers who also have an auto, homeowners, or renters policy with the company.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Multiple insurance options

  • Several riders available

  • Term policies convertible to permanent life insurance

Cons
  • Not all policies are eligible for online quotes

  • No guaranteed acceptance policies offered

  • Policies require a medical exam

Key Takeaways
  • Nationwide was founded in 1925.
  • The company’s headquarters is in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Nationwide offers term, whole, universal, and variable universal policies. 
  • Multi-policy discounts are available.
  • The company sells life insurance products in all 50 states.
Company Overview

Founded in 1925, Nationwide is a large insurance company offering a range of products. Besides life insurance, Nationwide also sells homeowners, auto, renters, pet, and umbrella coverage. 

In addition to its insurance products, customers can also invest in annuities, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds through Nationwide. 

Nationwide sells directly to consumers through its website and over the phone through its insurance experts. While Nationwide sells life insurance in all 50 states, it has different policies available for residents of New York.

  • Year Founded 1925
  • Kinds of Plans Term, whole, universal, variable universal
  • Number of Plans 8
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, annually
  • Customer Service Phone, online
  • Phone 866-207-9160
  • Official Website www.nationwide.com/personal/insurance/life/

Nationwide is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can review our list of the best life insurance companies for what we think are better options.

Pros Explained

  • Multiple insurance options: Nationwide offers four different types of insurance. Whether you want a basic term life insurance plan or a substantial variable universal life plan, Nationwide has policies to meet your needs. 
  • Several riders available: Nationwide has multiple insurance riders you can add to your policy to personalize your coverage or even access living benefits. 
  • Term policies convertible to permanent life insurance: If you have a Nationwide term life insurance policy, you can convert your coverage to permanent life insurance at any time during your term period until you turn 65. 

Cons Explained

  • Not all policies are eligible for online quotes: While you can get quotes and apply online for term life insurance, you cannot get online quotes for the other types of insurance. To get a quote for whole, universal, or variable universal life policies, you’ll have to call and speak with a Nationwide representative. 
  • No guaranteed acceptance policies available: Many life insurance companies have guaranteed acceptance policies. With a guaranteed acceptance policy, you can get coverage without a medical exam, and you cannot be denied because of your health history. Nationwide doesn’t have any guaranteed acceptance policies. 
  • Policies require a medical exam: When you apply for life insurance through Nationwide, you’ll have to undergo a medical exam before you can be approved for coverage. 
Fast Fact

In 2019, Nationwide’s annual premiums for individual life insurance topped $700 million.

Available Plans

Nationwide has a wide range of plans available, including term, whole, universal, and variable universal policies. Coverage amounts start at $100,000 and go up to $1 million. All policies require a medical exam. 

There are eight different plans to choose from: 

Nationwide YourLife Guaranteed Level Term

Term life insurance is typically the least expensive form of protection. With term life insurance,  you get coverage for a pre-set period of time, such as 10 to 30 years. If you pass away during that time, your beneficiary will receive a lump sum death benefit. However, if you die after the term expires, your beneficiaries are not entitled to any benefit. 

Nationwide’s YourLife Guaranteed Level Term policy has 10-, 15-, 20-, and 30-year terms. It has guaranteed level premiums, meaning your premiums won’t increase for the duration of your policy. 

Universal Life

Universal life is a form of permanent life insurance. Your plan has a death benefit and can accumulate cash value. You can tap into your plan’s cash value to supplement your retirement or pay for long-term care expenses. 

Nationwide had three universal life policies for New York residents only, and four other policies for residents in other states. 

  • YourLife CareMatters: CareMatters is a hybrid policy that combines universal life insurance with long-term care coverage. 
  • Nationwide Survivorship Indexed UL: This plan is a policy for two people, and the benefit is only paid out after both persons die. 
  • Nationwide Indexed Universal Life Accumulator II: The Indexed Universal Life Accumulator is best if you want higher income potential. It includes a death benefit and strategies and tax advantages for more cash value. 
  • Nationwide Indexed Universal Life Protector II: This policy is permanent life insurance with fixed benefits. It includes multi-layer tax protection and greater cash value potential. 

Variable Universal Life

With a variable life insurance policy, a portion of every premium is deposited into a tax-deferred savings account. You have the option of investing that money in subaccounts offered by Nationwide. While these plans have higher income potential, they also have higher levels of risk since your accounts can fluctuate in value along with market conditions. 

Nationwide has two variable life policies: 

  • Nationwide Variable Universal Life Accumulator: This plan allows you to invest in a wide range of stocks, bonds, commodities, and real estate. 
  • Nationwide Variable Universal Life Protector: The Protector plan is a permanent protection life insurance product that also has an investment option. 

Whole Life

Nationwide’s Whole Life policy provides lifelong coverage and fixed premium payments that stay the same for your lifetime. Benefits include guaranteed cash value and multiple payment options. 

Available Riders

When you purchase a life insurance policy, you can usually add insurance riders or endorsements to your policy to customize and personalize your coverage. By adding riders, you can get coverage for your loved ones, access benefits early, or even waive your premiums under certain circumstances. 

Nationwide has multiple riders available: 

Accelerated Benefit

If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can get a one-time lump sum payment equal to a portion of your policy’s death benefit. 

Accidental Death Benefit

This rider provides your family with more money on top of your regular death benefit if you die as a result of an accident. 

Children’s Term Life

By adding the children’s term life rider to your policy, you can get coverage for your children and receive a death benefit if they pass away during the covered term. 

Long-Term Care

With the long-term care rider, you can access a portion of your benefits while still living to pay for your long-term care needs. 

Premium Waiver Rider

If you become disabled and have the premium waiver rider on your policy, you’ll be credited a monthly premium after a six-month elimination period. 

Customer Service

Nationwide is well known for its customer service. Online, you can pay your premiums and file a claim. The company also has a powerful app for both iPhones and Android devices. With the app, you can make payments, file claims, and get status updates on existing claims. 

Nationwide offers educational life insurance content on its website, such as articles about the different types of plans and how to calculate how much coverage you need. 

To contact customer support, call 800-848-6331. Customer service is available Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. EST. 

Complaint Index

Every year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners releases company complaint ratios, reflecting the number of complaints each company received relative to its market share. 

The industry national complaint index of 1.0, so companies with ratios below that number received fewer complaints than is typical for its size. 

In 2019—the last available data—Nationwide’s complaint ratio for its individual life insurance business was 0.41, better than the national complaint index. 

For the past three years, Nationwide’s complaint ratio has been lower than the national complaint index, meaning the company has consistently received fewer complaints than expected for its share of the market.

Third-Party Ratings

Nationwide has an excellent reputation in the insurance industry, especially for its life insurance products. In the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study, Nationwide was ranked third out of 24 insurance companies based on its products, customer service, and communication. Its rating was well above the industry average, highlighting its focus on customer satisfaction.

In 2020, AM Best affirmed Nationwide Life Insurance Company’s “A+” (Superior) rating. AM Best recognized the company’s balance sheet strength and favorable business profile.

Cancellation Policy

Like most insurance companies, Nationwide follows state “free look” regulations. In most states, you have 10 days to review your policy and cancel it without penalty. If you decide to cancel your policy within 10 days of its issue, you’ll get a full refund on all premiums paid. 

Once the free look period ends, how cancellations are handled is dependent on your policy type. With life insurance, you can cancel without penalty, but you won’t receive a refund on premiums paid. With whole, universal, or variable universal policies, you can receive the accumulated cash value or pre-paid premiums returned to you. 

To avoid any surprises, carefully review policy documents before signing a contract. To cancel your policy, call 866-207-9160. 

Pricing

According to J.D. Power, the pricing for Nationwide’s individual life insurance policies is better than average. While online quotes are not available for whole, universal, or variable universal policies, you can get quotes for term life insurance through Nationwide’s website. 

We received quotes for term life insurance for a man and woman, both 30 years old, in excellent health. Quotes below are for $500,000 of coverage. 

Term Monthly Premium for a Woman Monthly Premium for a Man
10 Years  $13.56  $15.75
20 Years  $19.69  $22.75
30 Years  $30.63  $38.94

Discounts

If you are a Nationwide customer, you may qualify for discounts that can reduce your life insurance premiums. For example, you can get a discount if you bundle your life insurance policy with auto and home insurance. 

Nationwide Application Process

As with other insurance companies, Nationwide requires you to select either “male” or “female” when you apply for life insurance online or over the phone. Being nonbinary will not disqualify you from getting insurance, but you should know that most insurance companies haven’t updated their processes to reflect a current awareness of gender issues and aren’t as inclusive with their application processes. 

Competition: Nationwide vs. John Hancock

Nationwide has a range of coverage options and riders you can use to customize your policy. So how does it stack up against John Hancock, another leading insurer? 

Nationwide has more plans available than John Hancock, but John Hancock offers higher coverage amounts. However, what really gives John Hancock the edge over Nationwide is its Vitality Program and Quit Smoking Incentive. By making healthy decisions and quitting smoking, you can qualify for premium discounts and other benefits.

  Nationwide John Hancock
Market Share Not available Sixth-largest in the U.S., 3.6%
Number of Plans 8 5
Dividends for 2020 Not applicable Not applicable
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives Not applicable Vitality Program/Quit Smoking Incentive
Service Method Online, phone Phone, web, agents
AM Best Rating A+ (Superior) A+ (Superior)
Price Rank Better Than Most Fair
Complaints Trend 0.41 0.35
Verdict

If you are a current Nationwide customer with a homeowner or auto insurance policy in force, getting life insurance through the company can make a lot of sense. As an existing customer, you can qualify for discounts by bundling your life insurance policy with other insurance products, reducing your monthly premiums. 

With multiple coverage options and riders, you can enhance and adjust your coverage to meet your needs. Nationwide has an outstanding reputation for customer satisfaction, so you can be confident that your policy will be honored.

How We Review Life Insurance Companies

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative approach that analyzes each insurer on their stability and reliability, customer service, claims experience, diversity of product lines, and cost. We compare the terms of each type of policy offered—including available coverage amounts, optional riders, and premium payment options—with those of other major life insurance companies. Lastly, we look at how the company is rated by third-party organizations to determine its reliability and overall reputation. 

Learn more: Read our full Life Insurance Methodology.

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. NAIC. "Nationwide Life Insurance Company - Complaint Index." Accessed February 3, 2021. 

  2. J.D. Power. "Life Insurance Customer Satisfaction Flatlines Despite Pandemic Fears, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed February 3, 2021. 

  3. AM Best. "AM Best Places Credit Ratings of Nationwide Indemnity Co Under Review, Affirms Ratings of Nationwide Mutual Ins Co and Key Subs." Accessed February 3, 2021.