Nationwide life insurance review 2024
Get good rates even if you're not in perfect health or recently quit smoking.
finder.com's rating: 4 / 5
- Get a quote if you’ve been denied elsewhere for your age or health.
- Pick something else if you don’t have a great driving record.
18 to 80
$250,000 to $5,000,000
Depends on policy
Medical Exam Required
|Term, Whole, Universal and Variable
|10, 15, 20, and 30 years
|Medical exam required
|Depends on policy
|All 50 states for most policies (Life Essentials is not available in NY)
|18 - 80 years old
- Strong permanent policy lineup
- No medical exam options
- Sophisticated online portal
- Above-average emphasis on driving record
- Mobile app capabilities can vary
Katia Iervasi is a lead writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet and a former editor at Finder, specializing in insurance. Her writing and analysis on life, disability and health insurance has been featured in The Washington Post, Forbes, Yahoo, Entrepreneur, Best Company and FT Advisor. She holds a BA in communication from Australia's Griffith University.
Nationwide’s online portal and claims process is excellent, though its rates can be higher than similar companies. Its policies address clients’ needs both now and in the future, and it’s more forgiving than many of its competitors when it comes to weight, health and smoking habits. However, only around 20% of applicants can skip the medical exam, primarily those applying for the term life insurance, Nationwide Life Essentials. Also, Nationwide weighs any infractions on your driving record more heavily than competitors.
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Nationwide life insurance rates
Like most insurers, Nationwide doesn’t disclose its rates online. But the insurer reserves its Preferred rates for people who meet this criteria:
- Tobacco use. The insurer is more progressive than others, considering you a nonsmoker only 12 months after quitting. It also allows up to 12 celebratory cigars a year to qualify for its lowest rates.
- Age. Young, healthy applicants are privy to cheaper policies.
- Driving record. A mere one ticket in the past two years can affect your rate class, which is stricter than most insurers.
- Occupation. Those with dangerous jobs, such as firefighters and heavy machinery operators, may be subject to higher rates.
- Health. Catering to the average American, Nationwide is fairly lenient when it comes to build charts, cholesterol and family history (with the exception of early cardiac death). But if you’ve had a serious health issue in the past 10 years, it may evaluate your case before deciding whether to provide a policy. And high blood pressure could result in higher rates.
What types of life insurance coverage does Nationwide offer?
Nationwide offers a full roster of life insurance products:
- Whole life insurance. This permanent policy builds cash value over time and allows you to take out loans against your policy once you’ve accumulated enough. It pays out a guaranteed death benefit when you die.
- Universal life insurance. The insurer has a string of universal life policies, including an indexed policy that’s tied to the performance of the S&P and a survivorship policy that covers two people — typically spouses. These policies offer flexible premiums and death benefits and the highest possible returns.
- Variable universal life insurance. Offered by prospectus only, this policy provides lifelong coverage and invests a portion of your premiums into the stock market. The investment is professionally managed and may boost your returns, minimizing (though not entirely eliminating) risk.
- Term life insurance. Nationwide offers two term life products:
- Nationwide guaranteed level term. This policy offers up to $5 million in 10, 15, 20 and 30-year terms and may require a medical exam to receive coverage.
- Nationwide life essentials. This term policy offers up to $1 million in 10 or 20-year terms, but doesn’t require a medical exam for approval. You’ll also get same-day coverage if you’re approved.
What riders can I add to my policy?
You cannot add riders to the Nationwide Life Essentials policy. However, you may be able to customize your coverage of other policy types with the following:
- Accelerated death benefit rider. Gives you a cash advance on the death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- Accidental death benefit rider. Pays out an additional lump sum if you die due to an accident.
- Child rider. Extends your life insurance benefit to biological children, stepchildren and legally adopted children.
- Guaranteed insurability rider. Allows you to purchase additional insurance at specified dates without taking a medical exam.
- Longterm-care rider. Allows you to access money from your policy to pay for medical expenses and long-term care.
- Return-of-premium rider. Reimburses your premiums if you outlive your term life policy.
- Spouse rider. Provides protection for your spouse and can be converted to its own whole life policy.
- Waiver-of-premium rider. Pauses your premiums if you fall ill or become disabled and can’t work.
Nationwide life insurance reviews and complaints
Nationwide is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has earned an A+ rating for its transparency and customer interaction. The BBB has recorded 206 complaints over the last three years — though most are related to the insurer’s other product lines.
Customers award the insurer 1 out of 5 stars, though there are positive reviews about the efficiency of Nationwide’s dedicated life insurance agents.
In J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Life Insurance Study, Nationwide ranked 6 out of 22 insurers for overall customer satisfaction.
|AM Best financial rating
1.14/5 out of 282 customer reviews
|1.9/5 out of 42 customer reviews
|JD Power score
|Customer reviews verified as of
|02 August 2023
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Frequently asked questions about Nationwide life insurance
Do I need to take a medical exam?
It depends on the policy. For Nationwide Life Essentials, no medical exam is required.
For other policy types, you may need an exam. You’ll typically meet with a medical professional, who runs your blood work, records your height and weight and asks questions about your medical and personal life. This is so the insurer can get an idea of your health and determine the most relevant rate for you.
Can I convert my term life policy?
No, the Nationwide Life Essentials policy cannot be converted to a permanent life product.
What other products does Nationwide offer?
Nationwide is a full-service insurance and financial company offering:
- Vehicle insurance. Auto, classic car, boat, snowmobile, ATV, motorcycle, watercraft and RV.
- Property insurance. Homeowners, renters, condo and flood.
- Specialty insurance. Travel, pet, wedding, identity theft, dental, accident medical and small business.
- Financial planning. Annuities, mutual and exchange-traded funds, budgeting and retirement plans.
Life insurance ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
Our experts analyze life insurance companies to help you to find the strongest possible policy and premium for your family’s needs. We assess their financial strength, customer satisfaction, policy features and riders. We then give each insurer a score between one and five stars that reflects their offering and reputation in the industry.