Nationwide Insurance Review

RATINGS BY CATEGORY
Premium Price
Claims Process
Consumer Feedback
Financial Strength
OVERALL
Products  |  Price  |  Claims  |  Complaints  |  Financials  |  Bottom Line



Nationwide Insurance Summary

Nationwide is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, and currently employs over 35,000 people throughout the country. They are one of the largest insurance companies in the United States, and have over $150 billion in assets under their control. Their primary business is property and casualty insurance, but both their retirement and banking divisions are growing rapidly. On the insurance side, Nationwide primarily sells their products through third-party agents, but they have added functionality to their website to allow for quotes in auto insurance and home insurance.

Nationwide has become one of the largest insurance companies in the US through growth and acquisitions. They are the flagship name for many subsidiary companies, such as Titan Insurance, Victoria Insurance, Allied Insurance, and Scottsdale Insurance. The company was founded in 1925 as the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. They changed their name in 1955 to Nationwide Insurance, and have remained that ever since. The company is structured as a mutual, so policyholders are actually considered members and not customers. Company profits are used to offset premium costs, so during good years, members may receive dividend checks or discounts on their insurance.

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Insurance Products

Auto Insurance

Nationwide was founded as a car insurance company, and it has remained one of their most important business divisions since. Their policies are offered in 44 states plus Washington DC, and their coverage terms include a standard set of protections, including liability and property damage. Their auto policies can be supplemented with optional add-ons like comprehensive, collision, rental car reimbursement, and roadside assistance. For states that require it, medical payments coverage and personal injury protection is also available.

In addition to the different coverage types, Nationwide has a few features unique to their auto insurance which they use for marketing purposes. As with most of their competitors, these “additional benefits” are more for attracting new customers with fancy commercials rather than providing truly tangible benefits.

Vanishing Deductible® – Similar to Safeco’s diminishing deductible, Nationwide offers an optional add-on to their auto policies that reduce the deductible amount every year you drive without a claim. So if you go five years without filing an auto claim, your deductible can go down by $500 (maximum amount). These lowering deductibles have become quite popular with the major insurance carriers over the past few years, and they really seem to be more hype than substance. Nationwide charges you extra for this feature, so if you really are a good driver you could end up paying more than you save over the life of your policy. At its core, car insurance is supposed to keep you from going bankrupt due to an accident. The Vanishing Deductible® is just a distraction and a marketing tool, in our opinion.

On Your Side® Review – According to Nationwide’s website, every policyholder is entitled to “free advice” known as the On Your Side® Review. During the consultation, an agent will go over your entire auto policy as well as any other insurance needs you may have. What this is called everywhere else is “an agent doing their job.” Again, there is nothing special about an On Your Side® Review besides a canned set of questions an agent may ask you. Sitting down with an agent from just about any other insurance company will more than likely yield similar results.

Home Insurance

Nationwide can provide homeowners, renters, condo, and flood insurance in 43 states, including Washington DC. They also provide discounts to individuals who bundle their home insurance policy with other Nationwide insurance policies. This is pretty standard for the insurance industry as a whole, but Nationwide offers up to 20%, which is a generous discount. Just like their auto insurance policies, their home insurance policies are sold primarily through the use of third-party agents, but they do allow for potential customers and current members to run quotes on their website.

Brand New Belongings® – Nationwide homeowner’s insurance includes a benefit they call Brand New Belongings® that claims to pay for the actual cost associated with buying a new version of what you lost, rather than just the actual cash value, which factors in depreciation. If a loss occurs, Nationwide will send a check for the actual cash value, then provide the difference once receipts have been submitted. This is actually very typical in many home insurance plans, and is referred to as “replacement value” coverage. Nationwide just came up with a catchy title and had it trademarked.

Life Insurance

Nationwide also has a good-sized life insurance business, where they sell most of the major products on the market today. They include term life insurance, whole life insurance, universal life insurance, and variable life insurance. Their universal and variable life products have a few different options, depending on the underlying investments you are looking for. Unfortunately you are not able to get a quote for anything, including term life, on their website, and must speak with a licensed financial adviser in order to get personalized information.

Additional Products

The total product offerings from Nationwide include retirement and banking products, but those are beyond the scope of this review. Here is a list of the rest:

  • Annuities
  • Mutual Funds
  • Money Market Accounts
  • CDs
  • Auto Loans
  • Credit Cards

Nationwide Insurance Price (Rates)

Quote Test Results
+ 31%
Rate Test Details

The premium for our auto insurance rate test came in 31% above the average for all companies we have tested so far. It fact, this was the third highest rate we have ever received, one of those being Nationwide when we ran the test last year. Unfortunately, the rate is less than $1 below what it was previously. Potential customers should note that Nationwide is a mutual, so in theory you may get some of your premium back at the end of the year. But there is no guarantee of that, so we have to go off of what the actual premium price is today.

Claims

Nationwide has revamped their online claims center since the last time we reviewed them, and have added a few features to help members with their claims. To report a claim, you can call 800-421-3535 or file it on their website. As with most insurance companies, Nationwide has a network of pre-approved repair shops that they would prefer you to get your work done through. You are not required to, but they guarantee the work and have a little added bonus called AutoWatch®. AutoWatch® allows you to monitor the repair process from Nationwide’s website, view messages from the mechanic, and see pictures of the repairs. From what we can gather, this information is updated daily.

Consumer Research and Complaints

According to multiple customer satisfaction surveys performed by Consumer Reports and JD Power, Nationwide falls in the “average” category nearly every time. A 2010 reader survey by Consumer Reports awarded Nationwide an 85 out of 100, which gave them their best score and declared their members were “very satisfied” in the Overall Insurer Rating category. In 2011, JD Power released their US Insurance Shopping Study results, which rated Nationwide 3 out of 5 (about average). In 2012, a US Auto Claims survey done by JD Power gave Nationwide 3 out of 5 for Overall Satisfaction. Finally, Nationwide scored another 3 out of 5 for Overall Experience in JD Power’s 2013 Auto Insurance Purchase Experience study.

The Better Business Bureau is currently reporting an A rating for Nationwide Insurance, and shows they have been accredited since 1955. According to the report, there have been 324 complaints filed in the last three years, 105 of which came in the previous 12 months. Problems with Product/Service is by far the number one complaint, with over 60% of all issues falling under that topic. 230 complaints in the last three years have been resolved with the BBB’s assistance, while 94 complaints are still not up to the customers satisfaction level, even though the BBB feels Nationwide made a good faith effort to resolve them.

Financial Strength

Rating CompanyGradeFinancial Outlook
AM BestA+Stable
FitchA-N/A
S&PA+Stable

Bottom Line

Nationwide is a very large insurance company that can provide coverage for just about anything an individual or family would need. They spend a lot of money on marketing, and have very catchy names for industry standard practices. Our rate test showed them as one of the most expensive auto insurers we have ever reviewed, but that does not factor in any possible dividend payment you could receive at the end of the year. They are financially strong, have a good product list, received mediocre consumer ratings, and expensive.

For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.

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Summary
Reviewer
Eric Stauffer
Review Date
Reviewed
Nationwide Insurance
Author Rating
3

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About the Author

Eric Stauffer

I am a former insurance agent turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.


Comments

  1. Constance M Roberson says

    After reviewing your website for Nationwide it amazes me that you have such high ratings. Considering and certainly taking into account my experience I had with my renters insurance with Nationwide. So I decided to put in writing the truth about your company in my experience because I have never seen this side of Nationwide.

    I took out renters insurance for my apartment, insured for $300,000.00 with Nationwide. I also took out full coverage insurance on my car and paid my contract in full on day of the phone call. I’ll just get right to the point. They blatantly breached their contact with me, even after one of their agents came to my apartment for review of its contents. Heres the real scoop.

    I was relatively new in the area of Anderson, South Carolina and with employment down spiraling and crime forced to live in an area that would be better priced for tough times to come but nice. Not the gated communities I was accustomed to in what now I feel is another lifetime.

    The insurance agent arrived after taking out the renters insurance policy to ask questions, look or see whatever necessary in the event anything that the unforeseen would happen. Just what they are their for, its their job, I was new, I felt if the came all the way out to my apartment then he would know what to do in order to complete the policy if any changed should b made. Nothing was changed or remotely discussed about any changes for policy amount nothing…

    Later, the tragedy happened, Nationwide, called their attorney to try and scoot out of my contract of renters insurance with them to protect and replace items missing and put me back in the place I was prior to the incident happening. Things is, I went to the police first for months in order to get some response nothing. It wasn’t until later that it dawned on me that I have renter insurance!!!! Believe it or not.. That’s how upset I was I was so upset. I lived alone here in Anderson and I was devastated and no one did what they are supposed to do in or with authority to make the situation right. It was a joke. Yes, that’s right they got your money and now oh well “see ya, sorry bout that” attitude. We just collect a check we really don’t get involved. That’s what really happened.

    Putting it middy I was devastated finically, I was robbed!! I have personal items, important documents and papers, clothes, valuable memorabilia and they have done absolutely nothing to “Be On My Side” but everything quite the opposite!!! I am here to inform you my life was turned completely upside down and no one was their for me! Not even Nationwide. Oh, I take that back, yes they were there Johnny on the spot with their attorney, saying, we aren’t going to pay you NOTHING!!! You have misrepresented this claim. I said to myself, What in the hell are they talking about? I went straight to the police here in Anderson, they didn’t want to come to my house for finger prints anywhere. The detective told me they were backed up basically I’d have to wait in line after he took a handful of information because he had another appointment he had to get to. Months down the line after nothing happened in this arena and I called the detective back here in Anderson he yelled at me on the phone not to leave messages for him he would get in touch with me when it was my turn in a manner of speaking in a not so pleasant professional tone please take note.

    What Nationwide concentrated on the most was also shirking their duties and trying to swindle out of my contract agreement I felt by denying my claim. And to top everything off their reasons have absolutely nothing to do with my situation and circumstances, Go figure…. When I called and tried to speak with them about this over the phone they simply said, “I’m not saying anything!!” I called the car insurance that I had also paid in full with Nationwide. They tell me, “its on the renters not on us” after I spoke with the person in claims with the automobile claims side.

    Bottom line, I COULD GET NO ONE TO TALK WITH ME ABOUT MY CLAIM THAT, ” WAS ON MY SIDE” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still, One year and seven months later it sits and sits and sits…… Be warned how this company has done me and you make the decision whether or not you want to be put in my place. If you have acted and responded and reported the event to police you followed what you are supposed to do unbeknownst to me at the time, but if you do all that have documented evidence of your situation and they turn you down. They damm sure didn’t turn down my money in cash to do the job they said they were going to do. That’s also called stealing…..

    I advice you to get an alarm like I now have. This way, your not wasting the money with insurance companies in the time of crisis just making matters even worse and more difficult enough to put you on medication when you pay a company to do a job and you trust the insurance company to do what they promised and the only thing you get for your money and contract is for them to, not speak call their attorney and watch you drown…….

    THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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