Nationwide Car Insurance Review

A broad selection of car insurance coverages and discounts

We publish unbiased reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payments from advertisers. Learn about our independent review process and partners in our advertiser disclosure.
Nationwide insurance name and logo, a blue N with an eagle flying in front of it

With nearly a century of experience, Nationwide backs its auto insurance with sound financial strength and quality customer service. Nationwide continues to sell insurance through local independent agents, while providing a collection of digital tools that enable policyholders to manage their coverages, request insurance rates, and file claims at their convenience. And like some large insurers, Nationwide offers a full portfolio of insurance products, along with banking and investment accounts.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Strong AM Best financial rating

  • Less-common pay-per-mile insurance option

  • Wide variety of coverage options

  • Fewer NAIC consumer complaints than average

  • “Extraordinary life circumstance” appeal process if you have poor credit history

Cons
  • Not available in Hawaii, Alaska, Massachusetts, or Louisiana

  • No rideshare insurance option

  • Not as many youth discounts as some other insurers

Company Overview
  • Official Website www.nationwide.com
  • Insurance Offered Car, homeowners, life, renters insurance, and more
  • Customer Service Available through your online account, via a contact form (https://www.nationwide.com/personal/contact/), or by phone (1-877-669-6877), 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET weekdays
  • Year Founded 1926

COVID-19 Assistance

Nationwide customers who are staying home more can turn to usage-based insurance products that reward lower-mileage drivers with lower rates. As well, Nationwide customers who deferred premium payments earlier in the year can take advantage of six-month payment plans by calling 800-669-6877.

Nationwide Car Insurance Coverage 

Nationwide offers all the most common types of car insurance, including:

  • Bodily injury and property damage liability
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Medical payments
  • Personal injury protection (PIP)
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist 

Nationwide also offers a selection of optional coverages to round out your protection, which may include, depending on your state:

  • Loan/lease (Gap) coverage
  • New car replacement
  • Rental car reimbursement
  • Two tiers of roadside assistance, including one with expanded towing benefits and trip interruption coverage
  • After-accident towing and labor coverage
  • Original equipment manufacturer 
  • Vanishing deductible
  • Accident forgiveness and minor violation forgiveness
  • Total loss deductible waiver
  • No-deductible glass coverages (when bought with comprehensive)

While many insurers offer discounts for using a safe-driving-habits app, Nationwide offers SmartMiles, a pay-per-mile program that combines a low base rate with a cent-per-mile charge. An in-car device communicates your monthly mileage to Nationwide, and road trips are accommodated—the device only counts the first 250 miles each day. The coverage (such as liability) is the same as a traditional plan, and you can earn another 10% off for safe driving, although that isn’t the core goal. However, this program is only available in 32 states.

Nationwide Car Insurance Costs

Insurers offer unique rates depending upon individual factors, including your driving record, location, age, your vehicle and how you use it (business, personal only), typical mileage, credit-based insurance score, and other factors that can vary between U.S. states. The amount of insurance coverage you want to purchase also impacts your premium.

We requested sample quotes for two driver profiles (for more details, see Methodology, below). Here’s how the annual costs break down:

  45-year-old, female safe driver (0 prior accidents), 2018 Ford Explorer All-Wheel Drive 24-year-old, male high-risk driver (2 prior at-fault accidents), 2018 Ford Explorer All-Wheel Drive

Liability (bodily injury and property damage)

$30,000/$60,000/$10,000

$508.68 $883.20

Uninsured motorist bodily injury

$30,000/$60,000

$43.32

$43.32

Underinsured motorist bodily injury

$100,000/$300,000

$86.16 $86.16
Personal injury protection (PIP) with $40,000 coverage and no deductible $563.64 $412.44
Total $1201.80 $1,425.12

The underinsured bodily injury coverage amount is more generous than some competing quotes we received (many only cover up to $30,000/$60,000), and means you receive more protection if a motorist without enough insurance injures you. 

There’s also no deductible required for the PIP coverage, so a driver in a no-fault state could pay very little out of pocket for their injuries, in the event of an accident.  

Your quote may differ based on your unique circumstances. In addition, our quotes automatically included the following discounts, which could not be removed: 

  • Easy Pay Discount
  • Paperless Policy Discount
  • Passive Restraint Discount
  • Select Discount
  • New Vehicle Discount
  • Accident Free Discount

Nationwide’s quote application only offered male and female gender options, with no option to self-identify as non-binary.

If your credit history has been impacted by a serious life event such as divorce, a family death, serious illness, job loss, military deployment, or certain other circumstances, you can request a reconsideration of your premium. This “extraordinary life circumstance process” is available in all states, and may require an explanation and documentation.

Nationwide Car Insurance Discounts

Nationwide offers a good selection of discounts to reduce your premium, although not all are available in all states.

  • Youth discounts: Good student
  • Loyalty discounts: Multi-policy (average $710 per year), multi-vehicle
  • Safety discounts: Accident-free history, defensive driving course (ages 55+), safe driver, SmartRide (safe-driving discount program with 10% signup discount, plus up to a 40% discount for safe driving habits), SmartMiles (pay-per-mile insurance program), passive restraint, anti-theft devices, new vehicle
  • Payment discounts: Automatic payments, electronic documents 
  • Other discounts: Affinity member 

Nationwide Car Insurance Availability

Nationwide writes auto insurance policies in all states except Hawaii, Alaska, Massachusetts, Louisiana, and the District of Columbia. 

How to Get a Nationwide Car Insurance Quote 

You can request a Nationwide auto insurance quote:

  • By contacting a local Nationwide agent
  • Online
  • Over the phone at 1-877-669-6877
  • Using the Nationwide mobile app

How to File a Claim with Nationwide 

Filing a Nationwide auto insurance claim is fairly straightforward. Either your agent or an assigned Nationwide claims associate will request information about the accident, explain your policy’s coverages and deductibles, schedule an appointment for a Nationwide representative to inspect your vehicle, and arrange a rental car for you, if you paid for rental reimbursement coverage. You can also file a claim:

  • By calling Nationwide at 1-800-421-3535
  • Through the Nationwide mobile app
  • Online through the Nationwide website

Nationwide Customer Service 

Study How Nationwide Fared
J.D. Power Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study

In bottom five insurers in six U.S. regions

#6 out of 15 in Mid-Atlantic region

J.D. Power Insurance Shopping Study #2 out of 8
J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study #9 out of 23
NAIC Complaints Index 0.73 (Better than average)
J.D. Power 2020 Insurance Digital Experience Study #16 out of 19 (Service)
#11 out of 22 (Shopping)

Customer Satisfaction

In J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study, Nationwide finished below average in every region where it was included, with an average customer satisfaction index score of 816 compared to an industry average of 833 across all regions. In fact, it was among the bottom five insurers in six regions: the best ranking received was sixth place in the Mid-Atlantic region.

However, Nationwide ranked second in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, which ranks carriers based on consumers’ insurance buying experiences. 

Claims 

In J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, Nationwide ranked #9 out of 23. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners fields consumer complaints and produces an annual company complaint index based on an industry-wide baseline score of 1.0. In 2019, just 39 Nationwide customers filed complaints with the NAIC, earning the company a complaint index score of 0.73, below the industry average. Most complaints concerned unsatisfactory claims settlements or offers, and delays in claims handling.  

While the 2019 NAIC score is good, Its scores in 2018 and 2017 were even better, at 0.36 and 0.33.

Digital Service

In J.D. Power’s 2020 Insurance Digital Experience Study, Nationwide scored #16 out of 19 insurers for digital service, which reflects the possible digital experiences of existing customers. It was ranked #11 out of 22 insurers for its digital shopping experience. 

Financial Stability 

AM Best, a worldwide leader in insurance industry financial analysis, gives Nationwide an A+ financial strength rating. An insurer’s financial strength plays a major role in its ability to pay claims, and this rating indicates that Nationwide has ample assets to back its claim responsibilities.

Other Insurance Provided by Nationwide

Most households need much more than automobile coverage, and Nationwide delivers with a wide range of insurance products to protect your other vehicles, including:

  • ATV 
  • Classic and collector cars (offered by partner Hagerty)
  • Motorcycle and golf cart
  • RV, motorhome, travel trailer, and camper
  • Moped and scooter
  • Boat and personal watercraft
  • Snowmobile

In addition, Nationwide offers: 

  • Life and accident medical and dental insurance
  • Home and property insurance
  • Pet insurance including birds and exotic pets
  • Travel insurance and wedding insurance

Compare Other Car Insurance Reviews

If Nationwide isn’t a fit for you, check out our reviews of these other car insurance companies: 

Final Verdict
  • Nationwide’s SmartRide program extends a 10% discount for enrolling, plus up to a 40% discount if you maintain good driving habits.
  • Since Nationwide didn’t make the cut in the Florida, New England, or Northwest regions in J.D. Power’s 2020 Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study, the provider isn’t the best choice for car owners living in these areas. And motorists who need car insurance in Hawaii, Alaska, Massachusetts, or Louisiana will have to look elsewhere, because Nationwide doesn’t offer auto insurance in those states.
  • Nationwide may be a good choice for people whose credit history has been affected by “extraordinary life circumstances,” as it offers an appeal process that could help you get a better premium.
  • If you don’t drive very much, the SmartMiles pay-per-mile insurance option might be a good option, and it’s not very common among insurers.

Methodology

The Balance strives to give consumers unbiased, comprehensive reviews of auto insurance providers. To ensure that our content helps you make the right insurance decision for your needs, we review each insurance provider’s coverage options, discounts, customer service and satisfaction, and financial stability. 

In addition, we look at the cost of a basic policy for a Ford Explorer—one of the most popular cars in the U.S., but not so popular that it’s among the most stolen cars and therefore, more expensive to insure. Our fictional applicants live in a residential suburb of Minneapolis. Insurance premiums in suburbs generally tend to be between the higher rates in urban areas and lower premiums in rural regions. We chose Minnesota because it has about average exposure to severe weather incidents (it has snow, but no hurricanes or tornadoes) and its rates are in the middle of the pack compared to other states. 

To give an idea of the range of premiums available to different risk profiles, we got quotes for a middle-aged woman with a clean driving record and a young male with a couple of accidents. Your situation may be quite different, but our quote is not meant to cover every kind of situation, but rather give a sample of what premiums could be with this provider. We use the same profile for every car insurance provider we review, to give the best chance of comparing providers’ costs across the board.

Article Sources

The Balance 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. Nationwide. "Nationwide’s Corporate History." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.

  2. Nationwide. "A Message from Chief Customer Officer Amy Shore About the Coronavirus." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020. 

  3. Nationwide. "Auto Insurance." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.

  4. Nationwide. "SmartMiles." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020. 

  5. Nationwide. "Auto and Property Insurance FAQs," select "What Is an Extraordinary Life Circumstance?" Accessed Oct. 16, 2020. 

  6. Nationwide. "Auto Insurance Discounts." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.

  7. Nationwide. "All Nationwide Agents." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.

  8. Nationwide. "Nationwide Auto Claims." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.

  9. J.D. Power. "Auto Insurance Websites Surpass Agents in Importance to Customer Interaction, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.

  10. J.D. Power. "Direct-to-Consumer Auto Insurers Take Top Honors in Shopping Study as New Normal Arrives for P&C Industry, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.

  11. J.D. Power. "Auto Insurance Claims Satisfaction Reaches Record High as Carriers Refine Time-Consuming Processes, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.

  12. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Nationwide Prop & Cas Ins Co National Complaint Index Report," select "Private Passenger." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020. 

  13. J.D. Power. "Property & Casualty Insurers Raise Digital Games as COVID-19 Elevates Customer Expectations, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.

  14. AM Best. "Nationwide Property and Casualty Insurance Company," login required. Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.

  15. Nationwide. "Insurance & Protection." Accessed Oct. 16, 2020.