Nationwide provides special discounts to members of farm bureaus in many states and also provides more opportunities to get discounts than most large insurance providers. The range of products it offers cover everything from car insurance to life insurance as well as a lot of specialized insurance. It provides online insurance quotes and an online claims center, which will benefit you if you like to handle your insurance online. It was given a top rating for 2014 by A.M. Best, which is good news because that means that it is financially strong and can afford to cover your claims. One thing I like about this company is that it offers pretty comprehensive information about its products right on its website, unlike many other insurers which provide very little information until you speak to an agent.
This insurer will appeal to you if you are looking for the lowest price and good average insurance coverage for certain types of policies.
Features We Like
Online claims center lets you conveniently report a claim 24/7. You can make claims for your car, homeowners, life or flood insurance right on their website.
Discounts for many farm bureau members. Even if you don't live on a farm you can join a farm bureau and benefit from savings of up to 15%.
Nationwide® AutoWatch® . Keep a close eye on the progress of your car repairs right on your smartphone or other internet enabled device. As long as the workshop is in their network, you can get photos of your car (updated daily) and can contact the mechanic with any questions or comments.
Rental car service and reimbursement If your car is being repaired due to a covered accident, you can get quick access to a rental car through its partner, Enterprise Rent-A-Car® . You may also get reimbursed for rental car charges.
Automated Premium Monitor. This service provides consultation and alerts that help keep your universal life insurance policy from lapsing. You get alerts and clear breakdowns of your premium payments in relation to the cost of your insurance and no-lapse guarantee rider.
Types Of Coverage
Car insurance. This is one of the cheapest options for certain types of coverage in many parts of the US. If all you want is liability coverage and you are an experienced driver (over 30) with a good record, they may have the best deal for you, especially if you live outside of metropolitan areas.
Nationwide offers a number of interesting optional benefits like a vanishing deductible, which lowers your deductible by $100 for every year that you go without making a claim. You can also get glass repair coverage and they will come to you. Roadside assistance can be added to your policy, and you can also get towing and labor coverage for towing and repairs made on site. If your car is damaged and is being repaired in one of their On Your Side Auto Repair Network® partner workshops, you can track its repair with the Nationwide® AutoWatch®. This feature lets you view up-to-date pictures, read messages from the mechanic, check the repair status, and send comments or questions from your internet browser or their app. You can save money on your car insurance policy by taking advantage of these discounts:
- Up to 10% off if you are a member of an eligible farm bureau.
- Up to 20% off when you insure your home and car with this insurer.
- Up to 25% off when you insure your home, car and life.
- Up to 20% off when you insure more than one car.
- Up to 10% off if 5 years pass without an accident.
- $100 off your deductible for each consecutive year passed without making a claim.
- Up to 15% off for student drivers with a B average or more.
- Up to 10% off if you've completed an approved safety driving course.
- Up to 5% off certain coverages if your car has an anti-theft device installed.
- Up to 10% off if you are a member of a Nationwide partner company or organization.
- Up to 25% off for family members. Household members receive the same discounts as you when they take out insurance policies with Nationwide.
This insurer provides gap insurance which covers the difference on what you owe on your car (if it's totaled), and accident forgiveness for your first at-fault accident.
Motorcycle insurance from Nationwide provides good discounts and a lot of options for insuring your bike. You can get up to 12 motorcycles insured on your policy (collectors take note) and can get coverage of up to $50,000 per bike. Custom parts can be covered for up to $30,000. Coverage they offer includes liability insurance, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
You can get a free online quote, and their rates for motorcycle insurance are very reasonable. If you decide to use this insurance to protect your ride and your wallet then I you should take advantage of these discounts to save on your policy:
- Up to 14% off if you have other Nationwide policies (car, homeowners, recreational vehicle).
- Up to 35% off if you insure more than one vehicle (car, boat, etc.) on the same policy.
- Up to 10% off if you are part of an eligible bikers association (Harley Owners Group, etc.)
- Up to 20% off if you equip your bike with a theft recovery device.
- Up to 19% off if you own a house or condo.
- Up to 5% off if you take a motorcycle safety course.
- Up to 5% off if you are a member of an eligible farm bureau.
- Up to 5% off if your bike has anti-lock brakes.
- Up to 5% off if you are a member of a Nationwide partner association or company.
Boat insurance. As well as boat insurance, this company also offers insurance for your personal watercraft, such as a jet ski. Their boat insurance offers policies for boats worth up to $250,000 and can even cover your jet boat or ski boat. As well as the more standard boat insurance coverages (liability, medical care, fire, storm damage, etc.) you can also get coverage for your expensive fishing gear and any possessions you have on your boat.
There is also optional roadside assistance which covers expenses related to car or trailer damages incurred while towing your boat. Although boat insurance from this insurer isn't the cheapest on the market, you can get discounts by:
- Having another policy from Nationwide (homeowners, car, etc.) - up to 15% off.
- Taking a NASBLA approved boat safety course - up to 5% off.
- Insuring more than one boat on the same policy - up to 5% off.
- Owning a diesel powered boat - up to 5% off.
- Pay your yearly premium in a lump sum up-front - up to 5% off.
If you don't have special insurance requirements or a large boat, you can save by taking one of their standard packages that provide special coverage depending on your boating style.
- Weekenders: Coverage up to $1,000 for fishing equipment, $3,000 for personal effects, $500 for towing. You must store equipment and personal effects off of your boat.
- Overnighters: Up to $2,500 for fishing equipment, $5,000 for personal effects, $2,500 for towing. You must use your boat primarily for short trips and weekends.
- Light Tackle Anglers: Up to $5,000 for fishing equipment, $2,000 for personal effects, $2,500 towing. For bass boats and small fishing boats.
- Deep Water Pros: Coverage up to $10,000 for fishing equipment, $5,000 for personal effects and $2,500 for towing. For ocean-going small fishing boats.
Saving tip: If you have homeowners insurance it's important to review your policy as many personal effects and even small boats might be at least partially covered by it. Once you know what your homeowners policy doesn't completely cover, you can look into boat insurance to make up the difference in coverage.
Renters insurance. This insurance provider offers some really good benefits for renters. My personal favorite is their Brand New Belongings® option, which covers the cost of replacing damaged or stolen items with new ones. You will get the estimated value of the items once your claim has been processed, and then after you buy the same item to replace the one you lost, you can send them the receipts and you will be refunded for the difference between the cash value price and the actual price you pay.
Although other insurers offer refunds for the original price you paid, which may be much higher than the item's current value (and therefore better), you will have to come up with the receipts or other proof of the price you paid, which can be difficult.
Coverage can include: water backup (from drains or sewers), liability, medical payments, personal injury, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes. You can also get optional coverage for credit card fraud (up to a select limit for unauthorized transactions), theft coverage for your personal property up to set limits for possessions stored outside you home (in a boat, trailer or vehicle), firearms, extra rebuilding expenses due to building codes and damage to alterations or additions you've made to your house. Loss of use coverage helps pay the cost of temporary housing while your damaged home is being repaired.
Renters insurance from Nationwide is quite comprehensive and comes with good discounts if you have car insurance with them as well (up to 20%), install anti-theft or fire safety equipment (up to 15%), or remain claims free (up to 20%). There are companies that provide cheaper standard renters insurance, so getting this insurance only really makes sense if you already have car insurance with Nationwide and will benefit from the multiple policy discount, or if you need the optional coverage they provide.
Homeowners insurance from Nationwide offers the many of the same benefits as renters insurance. For example, you get covered for the full cost of replacing possessions lost to a covered peril. If your roof is badly damaged you could get it replaced with a stronger roof that meets higher industry standards. That's a pretty nice benefit that can save you from losing your roof again.
You can select the levels of protection you want for your belongings. Standard policies (like most other homeowners policies) cover you for liability, medical costs, damage caused by drain or sewer backup, theft, fire, storms and other common perils. But this insurer also offer optional earthquake insurance, flood insurance, and umbrella insurance. Adding these to your homeowners policy may cost you less than getting separate policies from other insurers. Discounts they provide include:
- Up to 20% off if you bundle this with your car insurance policy.
- Up to 30% off if you own a new house.
- Up to 15% off if you are over 60 years old.
- Up to 15% off if you install a burglar alarm, fire alarm, or smoke detector.
- Up to 5% off if you are married (or widowed).
Term life insurance. Nationwide YourLife® Guaranteed Level Term is available for 10, 15, 20 or 30 year terms, and like most term insurance the premiums remain the same for the entire term. Premiums will go up each time you take out a new term life policy, but this insurer offers the option of converting to a whole life insurance policy without proving good health (you will get lower premiums if you can prove good health) until you turn 65.
Although their standard term life is pretty average in what it offers, you should note that Nationwide is one of the few insurance companies to offer a Spouse Rider. This optional insurance coverage provides term life insurance for your spouse as well, at a much lower cost than getting a separate policy. To add this optional coverage your own policy will need to have a minimum death benefit of $125,000. The minimum death benefit you can get for your spouse is $25,000. If your spouse engages in hazardous activities (like smoking), you may have to pay an additional charge of $15 a month per $1,000 of coverage. You can terminate this spouse rider any time. Coverage for your spouse ends when they turn 70 years old, and will also be canceled if you change your policy (to whole life, for example).
If you are young to middle aged and are looking for affordable coverage for yourself and your spouse, then Nationwide's level term provides everything you need and fair premiums. If you need life insurance that will cover you into your old age, you should look into other options like getting separate term life policies for each of you, or taking out whole life insurance.
Whole life insurance lets you choose to make your payments throughout your entire life (until you're 100 years old) or pay your life insurance off quickly in 20 years with higher premium payments. If all you want is to get life insurance coverage, then I would recommend the second option if you can afford it, as there is a lot less chance of your financial situation changing (and your policy lapsing) in 20 years than in 30, 50 or 70 years. On the downside, the 20 years come standard as a modified endowment contract (MEC) which doesn't let you borrow money from the cash value of your policy. The good news is that unlike many other insurers offering fast pay off options, you can get this 20 year payment option with regular whole life benefits as well (at a higher cost than the MEC).
You can apply for this plan until your 80th birthday, and should count on an annual policy fee of $60. The lowest death benefit available is $10,000 on the Nontobacco Standard policy, $100,000 on the Nontobacco Preferred and $250,000 on the Nontobacco Preferred Plus. If you want a non-MEC policy, a higher minimum may be required. You can also get a 20 year spouse rider which provides some life insurance for your spouse for a 20 year period, as long as you are younger than 65 and your special someone is younger than 50. The minimum spouse benefit will be $25,000.
Universal life insurance. Nationwide provides both fixed premium policies and flexible premium policies. I would recommend that you do the math before taking out a universal life policy, as although the premiums are cheap they rely on dividends to make up the real cost of insurance and you need to understand that you could end up with a much lower benefit than you expected if your money doesn't perform. If you settle on universal life then Nationwide is a good choice, as they provide 5 different types of policies tailored to different situations. Here, I list what I consider to be its most interesting universal life policies:
- Indexed universal life insurance. This gives you a guaranteed death benefit, but also lets you earn dividends on the cash value of your policy. Dividends follow market rates. Indexed universal life is a lot like variable universal life, but offers more protection as you won't lose money if the stock markets drop. You also won't make as high (possible) dividends as there is a cap on how much you can earn. Where's the catch? The guaranteed death benefit only covers you for the first 20 years - and even less than that if you get the policy when you are 56 or older. After that, your benefit will depend on whether dividends are enough to cover the gap in the cost of the insurance you want, above the premium you pay. If the markets don't perform then the lower dividends paid in will mean a lower death benefit. The good news is that you can get an optional guaranteed death benefit rider with your policy that extends the guaranteed benefit until you're 120 years old (less if you sign up after you turn 56). If you can afford this rider, which guarantees you a benefit between 50% and 100% of the original death benefit amount after the first 20 years are up, then this policy could work for you if you want security, but still want to "try your luck" and possibly earn some dividends.
- No-lapse guarantee universal life. This type of policy also provides a guaranteed death benefit, as long as you make the payments. Death benefits start at $100,000 and you will be covered until you turn 120 years old (or older in some cases), as long as you pay your premiums. One very useful service which Nationwide provides is the Automated Premium Monitor which helps you keep track of your premium payments - which can be a real brain scrambler when you're making flexible universal life payments. You will be informed if premiums and dividends are not high enough to cover your no-lapse guarantee, and will get help correcting this. You also get advanced billing notices, and have the choice of making your no-lapse guarantee payments by automatic bank transfer for more peace of mind.
Variable life insurance. Here again, Nationwide offers several good options for standard variable life, and also provides survivorship policies that pay out a benefit to the second of two covered people when the first covered person passes away. Like variable life insurance from other companies, its policies let you earn potential dividends on the cash value of your policy through more than 80 investment options. You can also borrow or withdraw from the cash value of your policy on an income tax-free basis. Note that with most variable life policies, paying too high an amount (or amounts) into your life insurance may cause it to be reclassified as a modified endowment contract (MEC) and you won't be able to make tax free loans or withdrawals. Avoid this situation by keeping to the limits set by Section 7702 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Umbrella insurance. Nationwide provides personal umbrella insurance that can cover costs above what's covered by your liability, homeowners and car insurance coverage. They offer good standard coverage and options, with reasonable minimum primary insurance. If you have a lot to lose, you should consider getting this coverage to compliment your primary liability insurance policies.
Nationwide provides most of the types insurance coverage you might need and a lot of specialized policies - which means you will probably find the coverage you need. Their customer satisfaction is average but they are financially strong so your money should be safe with them in the long term. They also provide a lot of discounts on car, homeowners, renters and boat insurance. If you are looking for coverage that fits your specific needs, rather than the cheapest coverage around, this insurer may just fit your bill.