Nationwide Auto Insurance Review

Nationwide offers both standard coverage and additional coverage options that will suit most people's needs. If you’re looking for liability coverage or additional accident forgiveness, Nationwide’s agents will help you build a custom policy. With customer satisfaction ratings that are above the industry average, the company also lives up to its claim of providing support for new and prospective customers.

However, Nationwide has higher quotes than its competitors with similar levels of protection. This may be attributed to the fact that insurers generally raise rates on customers — even those with impeccable driving records — simply because they believe consumers will be too apathetic to shop around. Unfortunately, studies have found Nationwide to be one of the most likely offenders among auto insurance providers.

The Claim

Nationwide promises to provide a diverse range of coverage options and efficient claim handling at a reasonable price. With a wide network of agents and online resources, Nationwide will help you customize your policy until you find the right match to suit your lifestyle.

Is it true?

Sort of.

With standard protection from uninsured drivers to optional coverage including accident forgiveness, Nationwide delivers on its promise of thorough policy offerings. For those with car loans, Nationwide even offers gap insurance to help cover the amount you owe on a new car after an accident. The vanishing deductible option also rewards you with $100 off your deductible for every year of safe driving, up to $500. In short, Nationwide's coverage options will help you find the right level of protection against the high cost of accidents and repairs.

That said, Nationwide isn’t perfect. For one, the company still doesn’t include protection for rideshare drivers — Uber and Lyft drivers will want to look elsewhere. Nationwide was even sued recently for failing to pay out on one of its policies. Customers also report higher rates compared to competitors with similar policy offerings.

The good news? In general, customers are fairly satisfied with their Nationwide policies. According to both the 2018 J.D. Power Insurance Shopping Study and 2017 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, Nationwide ranks right around the industry average for customer satisfaction. While Nationwide may have experienced some bumps in the road, so to speak, it’s still worth including it in your quote comparison to see what it can offer you.

Product Overview

Best for

People who want thorough policy offerings with additional perks like gap insurance and a vanishing deductible

Not for

Rideshare drivers or people looking for the lowest rates

Features

Price
Quotes differ from person to person
In business since
1926
Standout features
Diverse range of policy and coverage options
Gap insurance
Solid family plans
Easy claims filing process
Vanishing deductible
Agents available in all 50 states
24/7 claims center
Discounts
Safe driver or accident-free discount
Good student discount
Multi-policy discount
Anti-theft discount
Paperless documents discount
SmartRide discount
J.D. Power 2017 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study rating
863/1,000 (above industry average)
A.M. Best financial strength rating
A+ ("Superior")
Moody's rating
A3 ("Good")

Shared discounts with a family plan

With Nationwide’s family plan, all members of a household are able to share discounts. For example, if one member is eligible for a good student discount, all policy members will also get the discount. This allows access to a wider combination of discounts that members might not qualify for on their own.

Gap coverage

If you have a large car loan, gap insurance is an important coverage option that can potentially save you money. With Nationwide gap insurance, you can trust that your loan will be paid in full in the event that your car is damaged beyond repair or if it’s stolen, even if your loan balance exceeds the car’s market value. Not all major auto insurers provide gap policies, but the option offers peace of mind, especially in the early stages of your loan payments.

Reachable agents

As the eighth leading provider of car insurance in the U.S., Nationwide offers a wide network of agents across all 50 states. With Nationwide’s On Your Side Review, you can receive free personalized advice from an agent about the policy and coverage options that are best for your needs and budget. What’s more, the 24/7 claims center ensures you’ll be able to file and track your claim day or night.

Vanishing deductible

With the Vanishing Deductible, Nationwide will credit you $100 for every year you go without an accident. The credits accumulate in your account until you reach the maximum balance of $500. If you get into an accident, Nationwide applies the amount in your account to your deductible. So, for example, if you have a $500 deductible and your Vanishing Deductible credit stands at $400, you only have to pay $100 for repairs. Better still, if you need to use your Vanishing Deductible, it will reset to $100 instead of zero.

Possible drawbacks

Fewer discounts

One contributing factor for Nationwide’s higher rates may stem from its available discounts: Nationwide comes in toward the bottom of the pack when it comes to deductions, with fewer than 66% of the total discounts offered by GEICO. It’s missing many that we had hoped to see, including a multi-car discount available from all of the major insurers except for Nationwide and Allstate.

No rideshare coverage

Nationwide doesn’t offer rideshare coverage, so drivers from popular services like Uber and Lyft will need to sign up for commercial car insurance from Nationwide to get covered. This coverage is usually more expensive than the rideshare coverage offered by competitors.

Higher rates

According to research from Gabi, a startup dedicated to helping insurance customers find their lowest possible rates, Nationwide ranks second of all major insurers for the likelihood of customers overpaying for policies (Farmers was the worst offender).

According to a post from Gabi CEO Dr. Hanno Fichtner, “The reason insurance companies can overcharge their customers is that the market has little transparency.” In short, providers don’t disclose the factors contributing to premium prices, and most customers don’t want to go through the hassle of switching providers. But for Nationwide customers, doing so could save an average of $612 per year on coverage.

The Competition

Nationwide
Progressive
Allstate
Travelers Insurance
Our review
Our review
Our review
Our review
A.M. Best financial strength rating
A+
A+
A+
A++
J.D. Power 2017 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study score
863/1,000
853/1,000
864/1,000
851/1,000
Supplemental coverage options
10
10
12
14
Number of discounts
9
12
11
16
Online claim filing
24/7 support

Nationwide vs. Progressive

Nationwide and Progressive were on even ground by almost every metric we considered: They both have an A+ financial strength rating from A.M. Best, above average J.D. Power claims satisfaction scores, and 10 supplemental coverage options. You’ll likely get lower rates from Progressive due to its greater number of discounts, but it's worth getting quotes from both.

Nationwide vs. Allstate

With more available discounts and supplemental coverages, we think Allstate is a better bet for almost everyone. But it especially stuck out with one group: new drivers. Its Smart Student Discount applies to any full-time students under age 25 — typically the most expensive age group to insure. It also has the most extensive library of online resources we saw, making it a great choice for anyone new to auto insurance.

Nationwide vs. Travelers

Travelers earned the top spot overall in our review of national auto insurers, so it’s no surprise that it beats out Nationwide in this head-to-head matchup. The biggest edge Travelers has is the 16 discounts compared to Nationwide’s nine, which translates to significantly lower rates. And while Nationwide did score slightly higher in J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction study, the difference wasn’t enough to push it over the top.

Nationwide FAQ

What do you need to get a quote from Nationwide?

Nationwide’s online quote process is comparable to other major providers: You need to give them your name, address, DOB, email, phone, vehicle information, and accident history to receive a quote. All in all, it only takes a few minutes, and we liked how it automatically brings up all of the discounts you’re eligible for.

Does Nationwide offer roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance is available as an add-on to Nationwide auto insurance. This service provides towing up to 15 miles, gas delivery, battery jump starts, lockout assistance, and flat tire replacement.

What is Nationwide’s SmartRide program?

Nationwide’s SmartRide program allows the company to monitor your driving habits through either a mobile app or a small device attached to your car. In exchange, you’ll get a 10% discount on your premiums right off the bat, with the potential for up to 40% if you practice safe driving habits.

The Bottom Line

Nationwide surpasses other leading providers when it comes to customer satisfaction during the purchase and claims process, but you’ll probably pay a little more for it. As long as you don’t need rideshare insurance, though, Nationwide’s diverse range of coverage options and discounts makes it an option worth exploring.