Nationwide Auto Insurance Overview
Nationwide Insurance was founded as the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in Columbus, Ohio in 1925. Initially, auto insurance policies were offered primarily to area farmers. In 1928, the company expanded into West Virginia then moved from farms to small towns in 1931. By 1943, they had spread across 12 states and offered policies in big cities as well as small towns and rural areas.
Nationwide has become one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world, with over $158 billion in assets. In 2014, they had over $18 million in premiums, placing them at number seven among the top auto insurance companies. Overall, the company stands at #90 on the Fortune 500 list, with over 31,000 employees. Other benefits include:
Nationwide provides a good range of auto insurance policy options, including liability, collision and comprehensive coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, medical payment and personal injury coverage, along with roadside assistance, towing and rental reimbursement. Policy rates are comparable to many other insurance companies.
- Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability Coverage, which is required by law in most states, covers expenses from injuring a person during an accident or, damaging their vehicle.
- Collision Coverage pays for damages to the policy holder’s vehicle during an accident with another vehicle.
- Comprehensive Coverage assists in payments for damages caused by natural disasters, accidents involving animals, vandalism, and theft.
- Vanishing Deductible is an exclusive program offered to reward safe drivers by reducing the deductible by $100 for each year of safe driving, up to $500.
- Uninsured Motorist protects the policyholder and any passenger from accidents caused by uninsured drivers or a hit-and-run.
- Underinsured Motorist protects the policyholder from other drivers not having enough insurance to cover the cost of expenses incurred due to an accident.
- Medical Payments which is mandatory in some states, helps pay for the cost of medical expenses due to an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- Accident Forgiveness Coverage helps the policyholder avoid a rate increase following their first at-fault accident.
- Gap Insurance helps covers the amount owed on the vehicle after an accident.
- Roadside Assistance Coverage protects the policyholder should they need a tow, run out of gas or have a flat.
- Towing and Labor Insurance can reimburse for a tow and labor costs in order to get the covered vehicle up and running.
- Rental Reimbursement helps pay for a rental should the policy holder’s vehicle take time to repair. This company typically has a specified amount using a daily limit and overall maximum.
Standard coverage options are Bodily Injury, Property Damage Liability, Personal Injury Protection, Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury and Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury. It’s important to remember that each state varies is their standard coverage limit.
In order to be able to compare companies, the Review Team selected to standardize the details of the requested quote. As such, the requested an estimate was for a driver 27 years of age, financing a 2011 Toyota Camry, as it’s the best-selling car according to Time.com, and discovered that the monthly premium would amount roughly to $93.31. This is significantly lower than most of their competitors. Again, prices vary with each state and with each driver as well as their vehicle type.
As of September 2014, Nationwide operates in all 50 states.
Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible program rewards safe drivers by reducing the size of a policy’s deductible over time the longer the policyholder goes without an accident. Along with accident forgiveness, this provides people with extra incentive to drive safely, and it can lead to significant savings.
While this company does not offer as many types of discounts as their competitors, they do offer some that are quite unique, as well as ones that are familiar.
- Multi-policy – Bundle home, auto, and/or life for 25% savings
- Nationwide Family Plan – Up to a 25% discount when each member is covered
- Accident Free – Saves up to 10% for at least 5 years of safe driving
- Good Student – For those with “B” average or better, up to an additional 15% savings will be applied
- Farm Bureau – An additional 10% discount is applied when policyholders join the Farm Bureau, whether or not they reside near a farm
- Defensive Driving – Complete an approved driving course and receive up to 10% off.
- Easy Pay Sign-Up – $30 off for going paperless
- Affinity Car Insurance – Saves up to an additional 10% when the policyholder is affiliated with a partner business or organization
Nationwide provides a wide array of services online, including the ability to explore policy options, calculate monthly payments, view and pay bills. The status of a claim can also be tracked online through a policyholder’s personal account.
Founded in 1926, Nationwide has been in business for 88 years.
Nationwide seems committed to customer service, and they readily provide customer reviews through their own website, something which many companies will not dare to do. The member review page allows people to browse through hundreds of customer reviews, both positive and negative, for a range of auto insurance products. The fact that they allow “warts and all” reviews through their own company website speaks volumes on their willingness to be transparent and give customers accurate information.
A unique feature of Nationwide’s commitment to customer service is the On Your Side review program. This review is a free annual consultation with a Nationwide Insurance agent who helps customers determine the options that are right for them and meet their budgetary requirements. They can also discuss recent or upcoming life events that might impact coverage. Lastly, the agent looks for all applicable discounts, benefits and coverage options, making sure customers are getting as much out of their policy as possible.
The company has also hosted town hall-style meetings where Nationwide’s leaders listen to and learn from customers. This provides a forum where people can ask questions, express concerns and offer suggestions face-to-face with the big decision makers. This willingness to allow customers to express their honest opinions about Nationwide’s products and services is a bold move toward open communication. It also says a lot about the values of the company’s leaders that they are willing to put themselves in a face-to-face situation with customers who might have complaints or criticism.
The name of the company changed to Nationwide Insurance in 1955, the name by which it is still known today. However, it took another decade until the company truly lived up to its name, as they finally expanded to the other side of the country, opening a branch in Oregon. As it has grown, Nationwide has added to its range of services, from auto insurance to life insurance, retirement savings, property insurance and investments. Despite the growth, there are some limitations to the Nationwide service:
It should be noted that Nationwide was sued in 2014 for failing to negotiate in good faith with a policyholder and using “strong-armed” tactics. The policyholder was awarded $18 million in punitive damages. Also, Nationwide was one of a number of insurance companies that were investigated by the Florida Insurance Commission in 2012 for failing to pay death benefits to customers. Both of these incidents, while not necessarily indicative of company-wide trends, have nevertheless had a negative impact on public relations.
Of course, this problem is not limited to Nationwide but is an industry-wide weakness that is in part the result of the high level of regulations on insurance and investment companies. However, the end result is that customers who attempt to discuss problems or ask questions via social media might feel ignored or overlooked.
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