Nationwide Insurance Review: My Experience Using Nationwide
Nationwide is a Fortune 100 insurance provider offering plenty of perks, discounts, and surprisingly competitive rates.
- Drivers seeking perks
- The assurances of a large provider
They are a large corporation worth billions of dollars, so that gave me some peace of mind. But there are so many huge insurers out there; I wanted to see if Nationwide could offer me lower rates with better coverage.0.95%
When looking into Nationwide, I answered a questionnaire to see what kind of coverage I could get and I talked to customer service representatives — which was an interesting experience, to say the least. Curious about Nationwide? Here’s what I found.
What is Nationwide?
Nationwide is one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world. A Fortune 100 company (and a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For), Nationwide covers everything from app德扑圈官方网址home to auto and motorcycle, to pet insurance. They also offer retirement, annuity plans, etc. This review will focus on auto insurance.
It’s been 55 years since the Nationwide jingle was introduced; is this massive company still on your side? Let’s investigate.
How does insuring with Nationwide work?
As expected from a massive company with limitless resources, Nationwide’s website and online quote wizard are crisp, modern, and easy to use. You can also walk through this process with a live agent.
Nationwide’s quote process still stood out to me in two ways:
In a disclaimer, Nationwide assumes you don’t use your vehicle for business, racing, or “speed.” I wonder: Does their assumption hold up if you try to insure a 1035-horsepower McLaren Speedtail?
Very curiously, Nationwide never asked me or my fictional Millennials any questions about driving history. In fact, of the dozen or so providers I’ve solicited quotes from, they’re the only ones that didn’t. Perhaps they put it in the backend? It’s unclear, though I doubt Nationwide simply forgives all previous at-fault accidents.
What makes Nationwide unique?
Standing by their motto, Nationwide offers several nice perks to policyholders, including one literally called the On Your Side Review.
The “On Your Side” review
Nationwide has over 10,000 live agents scattered across the country. The greatest advantage of such an army is offering personal attention to your policyholders.
Each year, Nationwide offers an On Your Side Review, where a Nationwide agent will help you understand your benefits, walk through life changes, and apply discounts. I imagine there will be some upselling of bundles involved, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.
Common but worth mentioning, Nationwide will not increase your premiums after just one at-fault accident. This applies to one policy per year.
SmartRide driver monitoring discount
Enroll in SmartRide and Nationwide will send you a device that plugs into your OBD-II port to monitor your driving behavior (speed, time of day, hard braking, etc.). Drive like a saint and Nationwide will reward you with premium discounts up to 40%.
Now, I personally don’t like Big Brother monitoring my driving behavior, even if it is for a “guaranteed” discount. But if you’re not a lead-footed curmudgeon like me, SmartRide probably makes a lot of sense.
Enroll in this program and Nationwide will reduce your deductible by $100 after 30 days, and $100 more each year following. Have an accident, and the bonus will apply to your comprehensive/collision deductible, after which it resets to $100.
So let’s say you have a $500 deductible and have an at-fault accident after 2.5 years. You only have to pay $500 – $300 = $200 towards your deductible. After that, the bonus resets to $100.
Gap insurance covers the difference between the cash value of your car and the remaining amount owed on your loan or lease. Imagine your car is totaled or stolen, and insurance pays out $11,000. However, you still owe $17,000 in payments. Now you owe $6,000 on a car that you don’t even have!
Being “underwater” on a car payment is absolutely no fun, so that’s why gap insurance exists. It’s a great investment if you have high payments and/or a fast-depreciating car.
How are Nationwide’s customer service ratings?
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners scored Nationwide with a consumer complaint index of 0.67, roughly meaning they receive a third fewer complaints than average for the insurance industry.
The company has 96 reviews published to the Better Business Bureau averaging 1.1 stars. That sounds abysmal, but nobody goes to the BBB to rave about their provider.
Among the complaints are two common themes. First, many Nationwide customers are frustrated by the long, arduous claims process. Many felt that they were being passed around between agents and ignored, feeling like nobody was, *ahem*, on their side. Second, many complained about sharply rising rates in California due to the wildfires, so if you’re on the West Coast, consider shopping around.
To Nationwide’s credit, they have responded to each of their 96 complaints on the BBB, albeit with robotic legalese:
Lastly, but worth mentioning, A.M. Best rated Nationwide an A+, meaning they have the financial strength to pay out claims. Not too surprising for a Fortune 100 company.
My personal experience with Nationwide
As you could probably surmise, my online quote experience with Nationwide was quick. Suspiciously quick. I still can’t get over how they didn’t ask about my driving record.
My call with two local agents went just fine, but I also had calls with international agents who didn’t understand English very well, so that was challenging.
I think Nationwide is right for a lot of people, especially if you plan to bundle additional insurance together. Their rates are low and they seem to pay out claims eventually.
Still, I don’t think they’re right for me. I could tell at every step that Nationwide wanted to pair me up with a local agent, and I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be buddy-buddy with my car insurance provider. I want to get it, print it, and forget about it for six months until it’s time to shop around for a better deal. I don’t have a need for agents, bundles, or a driver monitoring program. I also feel less loyalty towards my insurance provider than a Vichy French soldier, so I’m going to spare them the inevitable breakup.
Still, I recognize that I may be in the minority. Among big insurance providers, Nationwide is easy to recommend.
Who is Nationwide best for?
Accident-prone drivers will appreciate Nationwide for their accident forgiveness. If you have had an at-fault accident within the last five years, Nationwide might just be for you.
Those who want it all
If you want the most amount of perks, bundling options, and agents possible, Nationwide is here for you.
Those looking for security
There is security to be found in the arms of a company as big and powerful as Nationwide. If you want a company that is tried and true, you have found it.
Who is Nationwide not for?
People who need live agents
Nationwide is best for those with some technical know-how and prefer not to have direct contact with live agents.
Those who barely drive
If you’re a driver who has a car that spends most of its time in your driveway, Nationwide may not be the best option for you, since you may save money with a pay-per-mile provider.
Pros & cons
- Live agents — You can talk to a live agent from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET on weekdays and 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturdays.
- Competitive premiums — In my experience, Nationwide undercut Allstate by an impressive 40% and competed with Progressive and Geico.
- Accident forgiveness — Nationwide will not increase your premiums after just one at-fault accident.
- Above average customer service — They receive a third fewer complaints than average for the insurance industry.
- Bundle options with app德扑圈官方网址home, pet, etc. — They're ideal if you want to also purchase app德扑圈官方网址homeowners' insurance, pet insurance, and more.
- Experience between agents may vary — Some were attentive and easy to understand, and others were not.
- (Reportedly) tedious claims process — Many customers report frustration with the long claims process.
- Expensive in California — The California wildfires led to a jump in rates.
- The Nationwide jingle will get stuck in your head indefinitely — Nationwide is on your side ... now, try to get that out of your head.
How Nationwide stacks up
Nationwide’s name may not be as recognizable as the other’s, but there is a reason for that. After a little internet sleuthing, I may have discovered a piece of the puzzle. Despite those pricey ads where Peyton Manning annoys Brad Paisley, Nationwide barely spends on advertising.
Now, $161 million in 2019 may sound like a lot. But by insurance provider standards, it’s downright frugal. By comparison, Progressive spent over a billion on advertising.
For that reason, Nationwide seems to be the Aldi of insurance providers; give ‘em what they need, and make it fast, easy, and cheap. For many, this is exactly what they want.
But, if Nationwide doesn’t seem like it has what you’re looking for, Allstate or Progressive might be a better fit.
While Allstate is now synonymous with their rebellious TV character, Mayhem, their insurance products have won the hearts of over 16 million households. If you like to do things the old-fashioned way, Allstate might be the right fit for you.
With local agents all over the country, you can meet face-to-face to go over your insurance options and the plethora of discounts that they provide.
Progressive, like Nationwide and Allstate, offers a vast array of different insurance products for policyholders to choose from.
From your RV to your teeth, Progressive is here to protect you. You can even save 5% on your auto insurance by bundling it with your app德扑圈官方网址home, renters, or condo insurance. With over eight decades of experience in the insurance industry, Progressive is a company that you can trust.
Nationwide vs. competitors
Though Nationwide is largely considered to be a “premium” provider with higher-than-average premiums, my simple test revealed highly competitive rates. Your results may vary, but for me, Nationwide undercut Allstate by an impressive 40%. They even competed with direct-to-consumer providers like Progressive and Geico.
Company Marty McFly, 29 year-old male, 2014 Infiniti Q50, No violations Danny Targaryen, 23 year-old female, 2017 Kia Soul, 1 at-fault accident
Nationwide $595 $642
Allstate $1,008 $1,014
Liberty Mutual $366 $1,542
Elephant $838 $697
Progressive $538 $668
GEICO $857 $670
Given the countless variables that dictate rates, it’s hard to say definitively that Nationwide is the cheapest large provider; but signs indicate they’re certainly worth soliciting a quote from. Consider, also, that enrolling in their SmartRide program can cut your premiums even more.
Nationwide is like the Aldi of insurance providers. Ads with football stars aside, they spend a fraction of the advertising budget of their competitors, presumably so they can keep premium rates low.
In short, they’re a massive, old-school provider with direct-to-consumer rates. Given their solid reputation and slick online tools, they’re absolutely worth soliciting a quote from.