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Nationwide Auto Insurance Review 2021

Nationwide offers a wide variety of insurance products, a plus for customers looking to bundle insurance policies.
May 26, 2021
Auto Insurance, Insurance
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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Nationwide reviews and ratings

  • Customer satisfaction ratings are above average for auto insurance shopping.
  • Fewer customer complaints than expected for auto insurance products.
  • One-stop insurer offers most types of personal insurance policies.

Although it’s probably best known for car insurance, Nationwide offers many types of insurance and financial products. If you prefer to bundle insurance products with a financially strong company, Nationwide might be a good fit.

Nationwide pros and cons

ProsCons
Fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for auto insuranceOffers fewer discounts than some other auto insurance companies
Customer satisfaction for auto insurance is better than most other comparable companies
Wide variety of options for customers who want to buy multiple products from one company

Nationwide auto insurance

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Nationwide auto insurance earned 4.0 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account pricing and discounts, ease of filing a claim, website transparency, financial strength, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and more.

Common types of car insurance coverage

When you’re shopping for car insurance, it’s important to understand what car insurance coverage you want and what you’re required to buy. Most states require car insurance to drive a vehicle. Although minimum coverage requirements vary from state to state, they generally include liability insurance and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

If you want extra protection, you may be interested in full coverage insurance. Full coverage isn’t a specific policy you can buy, but rather a combination of coverage types like liability, collision and comprehensive insurance.

Check out the most common types of car insurance coverage below to see how they work:

Coverage typeWhat it pays forRequired?
Bodily injury and property damage liabilityCosts for injuries, deaths or property damage from an accident you caused.Typically required.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverageMedical and property damage costs after an accident with a driver who has insufficient insurance or none at all.Often required.
Collision coverageRepair expenses from traffic-related accidents, regardless of who's at fault.A car loan or lease may require it.
Comprehensive coverageRepair costs from events outside of your control, including weather events, hitting an animal while driving, theft and vandalism.A car loan or lease may require it.

Nationwide offers all that you would expect from an auto insurer, plus a few additional options and perks:

  • Gap insurance pays the difference between the cash value of your car when it was totaled or stolen and the amount of money left on your loan or lease. This insurance may be required by your lender, and you must purchase comprehensive and collision coverage to get it.
  • Vanishing Deductible: This optional program allows you to chip away at your deductible by driving safely. For every year you don’t have an accident, your deductible goes down by $100, up to a $500 reduction.
  • On Your Side Review: Every year and after a major life event, you can take advantage of a free assessment by one of Nationwide’s agents to help you determine whether your insurance policies are right for you and go over any available discounts.
  • Accident forgiveness: This helps you avoid a rate increase after you or someone on your policy causes a crash. It’s not available in every state, and Nationwide will forgive one accident per policy only.
  • Total loss deductible waiver: If your car is totaled, this coverage lets you waive your comprehensive or collision deductible.

» MORE: Car insurance comparison tool

Nationwide’s auto insurance discounts include:

  • Multipolicy discount.
  • Anti-theft discount.
  • Accident-free discount.
  • Good student discount.
  • Safe driver discount.
  • Paperless discount.
  • Discount if you sign up for automatic payments.
  • Affinity member discount for being part of groups like alumni associations or professional organizations.
  • Defensive driving discount for those age 55 and older who complete an approved safety course.

SmartRide uses an app or device that plugs into your car’s diagnostic port to monitor your driving behavior. It can track mileage, fast acceleration, hard braking and the time of day you drive. Nationwide uses the data to determine your discount, up to 40%, for safe driving. Drivers can get an initial discount just for signing up.

SmartMiles could save you money if you don’t drive often. This pay-per-mile program charges a base rate, plus a variable premium based on how many miles you drove in the previous month. In addition to savings based on low mileage, you could also get a 10% discount for safe driving.

» MORE: Car insurance quotes: What you need to know

Auto insurance buying guide

Before you compare car insurance companies, you’ll need to collect some basic information. This includes the driving history of everyone who will be on the policy, as well as facts about your car, such as safety features and annual mileage driven. You’ll also want to determine which types of coverage you need. For example, do you want only the bare minimum insurance that your state requires, or do you need more extensive coverage, such as gap insurance or rideshare coverage? Check that each company you’re considering has the options you want.

When comparing rates among insurers, make sure each is offering the same coverage limits and deductibles. You may not want to make your decision based on price alone. Look at how many consumer complaints each company has, as a high number of complaints could be a red flag about the quality of service you'll receive.

Depending on which company you choose, you may be able to buy insurance online, over the phone or through an agent. For more guidance, see how to get car insurance.

Nationwide homeowners insurance

Nationwide offers homeowners insurance with typical coverage options, plus a few extra perks. Learn more in NerdWallet’s Nationwide home insurance review.

Nationwide complaints and customer satisfaction

Nationwide had fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for auto insurance relative to its size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Nationwide ranks better than average for auto insurance customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power studies.

2020 J.D. Power studyNationwide ranks...
Auto insurance shoppingBetter than average
Auto insurance claims satisfactionBetter than average

More about Nationwide

Website: Nationwide’s website has a portal where you can pay bills, file and track claims, manage policies and view documents. The site also has tools for planning your retirement.

Mobile apps: You can manage your policy, start a claim, call for roadside assistance and get auto insurance ID cards on the Nationwide mobile app, available for iOS and Android. The company has a separate app for its SmartRide program, which tracks your driving behavior and offers discounts for safe habits.

Nationwide life insurance

Nationwide offers term, whole, universal and variable life insurance policies. To learn more, see our Nationwide life insurance review.

Other types of insurance from Nationwide include:
Condo insuranceIdentity theft insurance
Renters insuranceBoat and personal watercraft insurance
Motorcycle insuranceRV insurance
Dental insuranceBusiness insurance
ATV insuranceUmbrella insurance
Travel insuranceSnowmobile insurance
Scooter and moped insurancePet insurance

Nationwide also partners with third parties to sell classic car insurance, wedding insurance and special liability insurance.

» MORE: Nationwide renters insurance review

Auto insurance ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s auto insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, consumer complaints and discounts. Our “ease of use” category looks at factors such as website transparency and how easy it is to file a claim. Using our editorial discretion, we also consider customer satisfaction surveys. These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Methodology: Insurer complaints

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2018-2020. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

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