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Nationwide auto insurance review 2020

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

Article Highlights

Nationwide, originally named Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance company, sold its first auto insurance policy in 1926. The company rebranded to Nationwide in 1955 and has since grown to become the 8th largest car insurance provider by market share. Nationwide’s auto insurance is best for people who want gap insurance, although the provider offers other coverage options and a competitive average premium to drivers in nearly all U.S. states.

Nationwide Quickpoints

  • Average full coverage premium: $1,533
  • Region offered: 46 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, or Massachusetts) 
  • Market share: 2.47% (8th largest)
  • AM Best rating/financial strength profile: A+ (Superior)
  • J.D. Power claims satisfaction rating: 2/5
  • Specialty coverages: gap insurance, roadside assistance

Nationwide customer satisfaction and complaints

Nationwide has a good reputation among its customers. It ranks second in the industry for overall customer satisfaction among similar sized providers, according to the 2020 J.D. Power customer satisfaction study. The company also had fewer than average complaints with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for its auto insurance policies. That being said, the company received below-average ratings from J.D. Power for its claims satisfaction. Factors contributing to the company’s overall satisfaction include brand reputation, premium cost and claim satisfaction.

How factors affect Nationwide’s auto insurance rates

Nationwide’s prices are just below the national average for rates ($1,555). For those with minimum coverage, meaning the minimum liability coverage required by law, prices start around $566 a year for a policy. The average rate for full coverage is roughly $1,533 a year. Factors such as car accidents, speeding tickets and poor credit can cause prices to increase, as indicated in the chart below.

Average ratesAccidentSpeeding ticketPoor credit
$1,533$2,239$1,877$1,916

How driving record affects Nationwide car insurance rates 

Accidents

Your driving record is a major factor in determining your auto insurance premiums. If you have accidents on your record, you can expect to pay more for insurance. Your price may go up even if you aren’t at-fault for the accident. Accidents can add more than $700, on average, to a full coverage policy.

Nationwide does offer an additional coverage option that can help drivers to avoid a premium increase after just one accident. It doesn’t come standard with your policy; the coverage will add to your premium.

Speeding ticket

In some situations, a speeding ticket can cause your premium rates to increase. In some cases, if you have a clean driving record and the ticket is minor, your rates may stay the same. But as reflected above, a speeding ticket adds at least $300 to your annual rate on average.

How poor credit affects rates

Your driving record isn’t the only factor that can impact your insurance premiums. Your credit score can also play a role, depending on the state in which you live. Low credit score can be indicative of potential insurance losses. As a result, insurance companies tend to charge higher rates to those with low credit scores. With Nationwide, poor credit reflected an average premium increase of $400. 

Nationwide auto insurance discounts

Nationwide offers its customers the opportunity to lower their rates by signing up for one of its many discounts. Available discounts include many of the standard options you will see with other providers, such as:

  • Multi-policy: Save money when you bundle multiple Nationwide policies.
  • SmartRide: Nationwide allows customers to earn a discount based on their driving safety.
  • Accident-free: With an accident-free driving record, you may be eligible for a discount.
  • Good student: Students ages 16-24 can get a discount for earning a B average or better.
  • Defensive driving: A discount that applies to customers 55 and over who complete a state-approved driver safety course.
  • Anti-theft: Customers who have anti-theft devices on their vehicles are eligible for a discount.
  • Safe driver: Drivers who have no at-fault accidents or major violations for five years may get a discount.
  • Easy pay sign-up: You can get a discount on your premium with automatic bill pay. 

Unique discounts offered by Nationwide

In addition, the company also offers a few particularly unique options.

SmartMiles discount

Nationwide offers low-mileage drivers a discount through its SmartMiles program. Rather than paying a normal monthly rate, your rate is based on the number of miles you drive. If your commute is short or nonexistent, this could be a potentially significant savings opportunity.

Affinity member discount

Nationwide offers discounts to individuals for their membership in certain organizations such as professional groups, alumni organizations, sports groups and special interest groups. If obtaining a quote from Nationwide, be sure to mention your affiliations to see if you qualify for this discount.

Nationwide auto insurance premium length

Nationwide auto insurance policies last for six months. For customers who pay for their entire 6-month premium upfront will have their monthly processing fees waived. When you sign up for a policy, your rate is only locked-in for those six months. When your policy renews, your price may go up, although you may also see your rate go down, or even become eligible for new discounts.

Nationwide vs. other insurance companies

CompanyJ.D. Power Score
(Overall)
J.D. Power Score (claims satisfaction)AM BestAverage rate full coverage
Nationwide8622/5A+ (Superior)$1,533
AAA8693/5A (Excellent)$1,948
Allstate8584/5A+ (Superior)$1,896
American Family8783/5A (Excellent)$1,218
Amica8615/5A+ (Superior)$1,449
Auto-Owners8695/5A++ (Superior)$1,308
Erie8805/5A+ (Superior)$1,141
Farmers8492/5A- (Excellent)$1,540
GEICO8754/5A++ (Superior)$1,260
The Hartford8954/5A- (Excellent)$1,572
MetLife8612/5A+ (Superior)$1,923

Nationwide mobile app and digital experience 

Nationwide offers policyholders a mobile app that provides a number of features, including the ability to:

  • Login via fingerprint or facial recognition
  • Pay your bill
  • Manage multiple payment methods
  • Save or share ID cards
  • File a claim or get claim updates
  • Request roadside assistance

Alternative insurance products offered by Nationwide

ProductDiscountsJ.D. Power rating
Homeowners InsuranceMulti-policy
Protective device
Claims-free
Home renovation
Roof rating
Home purchase
Prior insurance
Gated community
2/5
Renters InsuranceMulti-policy
Protective device
Claims-free 
2/5
Life InsuranceN/A4/5
Small BusinessN/A5/5

In the spotlight

  • Nationwide is 2nd in the industry for overall customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power rankings.
  • The company has fewer than average customer complaints, although claims satisfaction scores are not especially high.
  • AM Best gives Nationwide an A+ as a reflection of the company’s financial strength.
  • Nationwide has partnered with major nonprofit organizations for more than 75 years to give back to communities.

Methodology

Coverage Utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze quoted rates from thousands of zip codes across all 50 states, using Nationwide’s premiums written. Quoted rates are based around the profiles of a 30 year male and female with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage details:

  • $100k bodily injury liability per person
  • $300k bodily injury liability coverage per crash
  • $100k property damage liability coverage per crash
  • $500 collision coverage deductible
  • $500 comprehensive coverage deductible

Minimum coverages were applied to match state requirements. Both drivers used a new, financed 2018 Toyota Camry, commuting 5 days a week and driving 12,000 miles per year.

An accident was defined as an at-fault accident with $3k in property damage. A speeding incident was defined as speeding 16-20 MPH over the limit.

These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only – your own quotes may be different.

How credit affects auto… Read Next State Farm auto insurance…