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Nationwide life insurance review 2021

Get good rates even if you're not in perfect health or recently quit smoking.

finder.com's rating: 3 / 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

Issue Age

$25,000 to $10,000,000

Coverage

Yes

Medical Exam Required

Details

Policies Term, Whole, Universal and Variable
Coverage maximum $10,000,000
Term lengths 10, 15, 20 and 30 years
Medical exam required Yes
Available states All 50 states
Issue age 18 - 80 years old

Pros

  • Strong permanent policy lineup
  • No medical exam options
  • Sophisticated online portal
  • Large network of agents
  • Financial strength

Cons

  • Above-average emphasis on driving record
  • Mobile app capabilities can vary
Riders Accelerated death benefit rider
Accidental death benefit rider
Child rider
Guaranteed insurability rider
Long-term-care rider
Return-of-premium rider
Spouse rider
Waiver-of-premium rider
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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 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, and Nationwide weighs any infractions on your driving record more heavily than competitors.

To find the best financial fit for you, compare life insurance companies.

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 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.

What types of 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 $25,000 and $10 million in coverage, though its online quote tool only allows you to select between $100,000 and $1 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:

  • 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 having to take a medical exam.
  • Long-term-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. Offered with some term and permanent policies, this 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 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.

In J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study, Nationwide ranked 3 out of 22 insurers for overall customer satisfaction.

AM Best financial rating A++
BBB accredited Yes
BBB rating A+
1.17/5 out of 126 customer reviews
Trustpilot score 2.9/5 out of 2 customer reviews
JD Power score 803
Customer reviews verified as of 22 January 2021

Compare life insurance companies like Nationwide

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
Policygenius
18 - 85 years old
$50,000
$10,000,000
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Depends on provider and policy
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Bestow
18 - 60 years old
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Everyday Life
20 - 75 years old
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Ladder
20 - 60 years old
$100,000
$8,000,000
10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years
No, for coverage up to $3M
Apply for term life insurance online without the medical exam. Get an instant decision and adjust your coverage at no charge.
Sproutt
18 - 60 years old
$50,000
$4,000,000
5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years
No
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Frequently asked questions about Nationwide life insurance

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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