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Nationwide life insurance review 2020

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This insurer focuses on universal life insurance and connects you with a local agent.'s rating: 3 / 5


  • Get a quote if… You’re interested in universal life insurance, or a no-exam policy.
  • Pick something else if… You have a blip on your driving record.

40 to 95

Issue Age

$10,000 to $1,000,000



Medical Exam Required


Free quote Online
Policy options Term, Whole, Universal and Variable
Term lengths 10, 15, 20 and 30 years
Monthly cost Not listed
Claim methods Online
Available states All states except Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana and Massachusetts.
Customer support Phone: 1-877-669-6877
Riders Accelerated death benefit rider, Accidental death benefit rider, Child rider, Guaranteed insurability rider, Long-term-care rider, Return-of-premium rider, Waiver-of-premium rider

Expert review

Katia Iervasi

Review by

Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).

Expert review

Nationwide’s online portal and claims process is excellent, though its rates can be higher than those of its A+-rated counterparts. 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.

To find the best fit you and your family’s needs, compare life insurance companies.

What life insurance coverage does Nationwide offer?

Nationwide offers a full roster of life insurance products:

  • Term life insurance. Available in 10-, 15-, 20-, or 30-year terms, this policy offers temporary coverage and predictable premiums. You can buy between $100,000 and $5 million in coverage.
  • 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.

What riders can I add to my policy?

You may be able to customize your coverage with the following riders:

  • Waiver of premium. Pauses your premiums if you fall ill or become disabled and can’t work.
  • Spouse rider. Offered with some term and permanent policies, this provides protection for your spouse and can be converted to its own whole life policy.
  • Long-term care. Allows you to access money from your policy to pay for medical expenses and long-term care.
  • Accelerated death benefit. Gives you a cash advance on the death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Accidental death benefit. Pays out an additional lump sum if you die due to an accident.
  • Children’s term insurance rider. Extends your life insurance benefit to biological children, stepchildren and legally adopted children.
  • Overloan lapse protection rider. If you meet this rider’s criteria, you can take out loans and withdrawals without worrying about your policy lapsing.

How much does Nationwide life insurance cost?

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 more strict 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.

Pros and cons of Nationwide life insurance


  • Strong permanent policy lineup. If you want coverage that lasts your entire life, you have plenty of options.
  • No medical exam options. In some cases, the insurer will waive the medical exam — but you may pay a higher premium.
  • Sophisticated online portal. Manage your policy, pay bills, fill out forms, submit claims and get a quote online.
  • Large network of agents. The insurer has thousands of agents across the US, so you’ll be matched with one who knows the ins and outs of your state.
  • Financial strength. Nationwide has an A+ (Superior) rating with AM Best, which means it has the cash reserves to pay out claims.


  • Above-average emphasis on driving record. A small blip on your record might affect your rate class.

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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 241 complaints over the last three years — though most of them 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.

Frequently asked questions

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.

Learn more about our methodology here.

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