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Nationwide Life Insurance Review 2021

Bottom line: Nationwide offers lots of information online and scores high for customer satisfaction, making it a great choice for many life insurance buyers.
June 1, 2021
Insurance, Life Insurance
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Nationwide Life Insurance

  • Rated 4 stars out of 5 by NerdWallet.
  • Drew fewer life insurance complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size.
  • Ranked high for customer satisfaction in a J.D. Power life insurance survey.

Nationwide started out as a small mutual company in Ohio with just auto insurance on the books. The Fortune 100 company now sells a full range of financial products across the country. Coverage options include term, whole, universal and variable life insurance, as well as business insurance, wedding coverage and more. Availability may differ among states.

Nationwide life insurance

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Nationwide life insurance earned 4 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.

Based on these ratings, Nationwide is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies for 2021.

Nationwide life insurance pros and cons

ProsCons
Ranked third in J.D. Power's 2020 customer satisfaction study for life insurance.Full access to billing and payment information on the mobile app may not be available to all policyholders.
Drew fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size.

Nationwide life insurance policies

Nationwide’s term life insurance is a level term product, which means premiums stay the same throughout the length of the policy. You can buy coverage in 10-, 15-, 20- or 30-year terms, many of which can be converted to permanent life insurance at the end of the term. Available riders include an accelerated death benefit, which allows you to withdraw a portion of the death benefit early if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness. Nationwide also offers term coverage for children, as well as a waiver of premium rider, which helps cover your premium payments if you become disabled.

Nationwide’s whole life insurance has a minimum coverage amount of $10,000 and two available payment options: Premiums are level for the first 20 years of the policy or until you turn 100. Additional whole life insurance riders include term life coverage for your spouse and children.

Nationwide’s universal life insurance and variable life products include survivorship insurance, which covers two parties, typically spouses. The company also offers indexed universal life insurance. In some cases, you can add an overloan protection rider, which prevents your coverage from lapsing if you borrow against the policy’s cash value and the loan exceeds the account total.

» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes

Nationwide customer complaints and satisfaction

For life insurance, Nationwide has drawn fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Nationwide ranked third out of 23 companies in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study for overall customer satisfaction.

» MORE: Nationwide home insurance review

More about Nationwide life insurance

The company’s website includes detailed information about each policy, offering downloadable PDFs on most products. Quotes for term life insurance can be started online, but the company promotes speaking to a representative to complete the process. You can search for a Nationwide agent near you using the website.

Nationwide allows policyholders to pay premiums automatically through recurring payments. A fee may be assessed if you pay in installments. Premiums can also be paid over the phone or by mail.

The company’s mobile app allows policyholders to view coverage details, including cash value accounts. Some policyholders can also view billing details and make payments.

Other insurance products from Nationwide include:

» MORE: Nationwide renters insurance review

Life insurance buying guide

Before you start comparing companies, choose the type of life insurance you want, such as term or whole life. Decide which life insurance riders, if any, you want the policy to include. Calculate how much life insurance you need and how long you want the coverage to last. Check that the insurers you’re considering offer the coverage you’re looking for.

When comparing rates, be sure the quotes are for the same amount of coverage over the same period of time. It’s also important to make sure the policy’s medical requirements match your needs. For example, if you want to skip the life insurance medical exam but don’t mind answering health questions, confirm that the application process for each policy you're comparing aligns with that.

Price may not be the biggest driver behind your decision to buy. Look at the number of consumer complaints each company receives, as high numbers can be a red flag about the quality of service.

For more guidance, see our life insurance buying guide.

Methodology: Life insurance ratings

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims, and complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale.

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.

Insurer complaints methodology

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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