Written by Kim Wilhelm
Last Updated 06 Jun 2023
Nationwide insurance is one of the most recognizable names, with an easy-to-remember catchphrase: “Nationwide is on your side.”
The national insurer is based in Columbus, Ohio, offering a long list of insurance products, including auto, home, RV, boat, pet, umbrella, and life insurance.
But is Nationwide a good insurer? Reviews are mixed, with most negative reviews focused on auto, home, travel, and pet insurance.
Here’s what you should know about Nationwide life insurance, so you can decide if it's the right option for you.
Nationwide Life Insurance Products
Nationwide has a long list of life insurance products. With term, whole life, universal, and some hybrid products available, many consumers can find something that fits their needs, although it may not be at a price they can afford.
Most adults who apply for Nationwide life insurance have to undergo a medical exam. If you’re under 50 and applying for less than $100,000 in coverage, you might be able to get away with a prescription and motor vehicle record check. But for the vast majority of God fearing Americans, expect a medical exam when you buy Nationwide life insurance.
For the healthiest applicants, Nationwide uses accelerated underwriting, which they call Intelligent Underwriting. Using artificial intelligence and medical databases, Nationwide is able to determine your eligibility without a medical exam. But, it's only for a select few adults who fall within their guidelines:
Up to age 50, applying for $100,000 to $5 million in coverage
Ages 51 to 60, applying for $100,000 to $1 million
Must be a U.S. citizen or hold a 10-year green card from select countries
Healthy enough to fall into the standard or better underwriting class, even as a smoker
Nationwide Term Life Insurance
Nationwide offers term life insurance for 10, 15, 20, or 30 years of coverage. After the term expires, you can renew it annually until you reach age 95. The policy can be converted to a permanent universal or whole life insurance policy while the term policy is still active, as long as you’re under 65.
The Nationwide term life insurance policy comes with three free riders for critical, chronic, and terminal illness. If you’re diagnosed with a medical condition that is critical, chronic, or terminal, you can access some of your death benefit while you’re still alive. If you do, it will decrease your beneficiary’s death benefit payout when the Good Lord calls you home.
Term is the only type of life insurance Nationwide will quote online. For all other life insurance products, you’ll have to speak with a Nationwide agent or a representative in the corporate office.
Nationwide Whole Life
The Nationwide whole life policy offers a guaranteed death benefit, locked in rates, and cash value you can use while you’re still alive. Nationwide offers two options, a 20-pay whole life and Whole Life 100.
The 20-pay whole life policy is more expensive because you only pay into it for 20 years. This policy is a great option for young children and grandchildren. You can pay the policy and when it’s paid in full, you can sign it over to your child or grandchild. They’ll then have a paid up life policy that they can keep, no matter their health status, with cash value that will continue to grow.
With the Whole Life 100 policy, you pay until you reach age 100 or die, whichever comes first. If you don’t want to pay until you die, consider the 20-pay whole life policy.
Nationwide Universal Life
Nationwide offers both universal and variable life insurance. They both have similar features, but variable life insurance invests some of the cash value into stock market sub-accounts.
Like whole life insurance, universal life offers permanent coverage, but with added flexibility. Once certain minimums are met, you can adjust your coverage and premium payment amounts to meet ever changing life needs.
Nationwide offers several types of universal life insurance:
- Guaranteed universal life: Offers a no-lapse guarantee, which can prevent the policy from lapsing, even if you make changes to the policy.
- Survivorship universal life: This policy insures two lives, but doesn’t pay out until the second person passes away.
- Linked-benefit universal life: Nationwide CareMatters is a unique policy, offering both life insurance and long-term care in one policy. The majority of the policy pays into the long-term care bucket, with 20% of the coverage dedicated to a death benefit.
You have to have a certain level of risk and understanding of the market to be a good candidate for variable life insurance. One of the biggest benefits of indexed or variable universal life insurance is the growth potential of the cash value, which seniors can use to supplement their retirement income while still preserving their death benefit for when the Good Lord calls you home.
Nationwide’s variable universal life policies include:
- Nationwide Variable Universal Life Accumulator: Best for those with future income needs.
- Nationwide Variable Universal Life Protector: Focuses mainly on the guaranteed death benefit, with the ability to accelerate cash value growth in the stock market.
- Nationwide Advisory Variable Universal Life: Designed for use alongside a fee-based financial advisor to manage the cash value stock market accounts.
The Nationwide CareMatters hybrid long-term care and universal life policy combine long-term care benefits with a guaranteed death benefit in one policy.
One of the best features of CareMatters is that once you go on claim, you get a monthly cash benefit you can use any way you want. You don’t have to send in bills or receipts for reimbursement, and Nationwide won’t hold any of your monthly benefits hostage like other reimbursement-only plans.
Nationwide CareMatters allows you to choose the premium payment schedule that works best for you:
- Single premium
- 5 years of payments
- 10 years of payments
- Payments until age 65
- Payments until age 100
The longer your payment length, the cheaper the policy will be. If you buy this linked-benefit life insurance policy, the longer you pay into the policy, the larger your long-term care benefits will grow.
If you never use the long-term care benefits, your death benefit will be equal to or greater than the premium you pay into the policy. But even if you use up all the long-term care benefits, they guarantee your beneficiary will receive a minimum of 20% of the death benefit amount. And since this policy also builds cash value, you can access it as a liquid asset.
Of course, this hybrid solution may be a great option, but it comes at a cost. The younger you are and the longer your payment schedule, the cheaper it is. But with all these benefits and pots of money that grow over time, this policy is likely the most expensive universal life option.
Compare and buy
Nationwide Life Insurance Riders
Nationwide offers a lot of riders you can add to your policy to customize it to your personal needs. While some are free, others cost extra. The chronic, critical, and terminal illness riders are automatically included at no extra cost on eligible policies.
Here are the riders you can add to Nationwide life insurance policies:
- Accidental death: Doubles the death benefit if you die an accidental death.
- Children’s term insurance: Add coverage for a child, which covers them until they reach age 22 or get married, whichever comes first.
- Estate protection: Available on universal life policies, this rider helps offset estate taxes.
- Extended no-lapse guarantee: Guarantees the death benefit on universal life policies, even with poor stock market performance.
- Guaranteed insurability: Allows you to buy more life insurance at certain ages and life events, like getting married or having a baby, regardless of health status.
- Long-term care: An alternative to CareMatters, this rider provides a portion of the death benefit for long-term care needs.
- Overloan lapse protection: Prevents the policy from lapsing when a loan is taken against the cash value.
- Premium waiver: Credits your monthly premium payments to the account after being disabled for over 6 months.
- Waiver of monthly deductions: Waives your premium payments while disabled for over 6 months.
Nationwide Life Insurance For Seniors
Nationwide offers two types of life insurance for seniors: whole and universal life. Most seniors won’t qualify for Nationwide insurance without a medical exam, which could make Nationwide life insurance more expensive than other carriers.
For those who have purchased a term life policy in the last 3 years and are under 65, Nationwide has the Term + Perm program. This allows you to buy a separate whole or universal life policy without having to give up your term policy. This program requires full underwriting, which includes a medical exam.
Nationwide Life Insurance Final Expense Insurance
Nationwide doesn’t offer a final expense insurance life insurance product. However, seniors can purchase term, whole, or universal life insurance from Nationwide.
If you buy life insurance through Nationwide, expect to complete a medical exam, unless you meet its Intelligent Underwriting guidelines. Seniors aged 51 to 60 buying between $100,000 to $1 million in Nationwide life insurance who fall into the standard underwriting class or better may qualify for coverage without a medical exam.
But if you’re an existing Nationwide policyholder with another line of insurance, you could qualify for simplified issue whole life insurance, which is the same as final expense insurance. To get more details, you’ll have to speak with your Nationwide insurance agent.
Nationwide Life Insurance Funeral Insurance
Nationwide life insurance isn’t funeral insurance. One advantage of funeral insurance is that it usually doesn’t require a medical exam. But if you buy a permanent life policy from Nationwide, you can use it to pay for funeral costs.
You can also use a term policy as funeral insurance, but you have to die within the term length to get the death benefit. If you live longer and the term expires, you won’t receive premiums back and your beneficiary won’t receive the death benefit.
If you’re a senior and are looking for funeral insurance, don’t take your chances with term life insurance just because it’s cheaper. Final Expense Direct works with some of the best rated funeral insurance companies in the country, offering competitive rates without a medical exam.
Call us today to get a quote, with many seniors getting an approved policy before hanging up the phone.
Nationwide Life Insurance Burial Insurance
Many seniors find that burial insurance is the best choice to pay for final expenses. Nationwide’s whole and universal life insurance can qualify as burial insurance since it gives lifetime coverage, but be prepared to take a medical exam to be approved.
Burial insurance is a great solution for God fearing Americans wanting to relieve their loved ones of the financial burden of paying for their funeral, cremation, or burial.
Funeral costs can add up quickly, costing well over $10,000. Most Americans don’t have that kind of money lying around, or are able to save up enough to pay for their funeral they want. The better solution is buying a burial insurance policy.
With burial insurance, you pay a predictable premium each month, knowing that when the Good Lord calls you home, your family and friends can spend their time grieving instead of setting up a GoFundMe to pay for the funeral you deserve.
Nationwide Life Insurance Costs
Nationwide life insurance costs will vary, depending on the type of life insurance, your coverage amount, and any riders you add on. Your age, health status, tobacco usage, and gender will also determine your Nationwide life insurance costs.
As a senior, you’ll get the most benefit from a permanent life policy, like universal or whole life. Nationwide’s CareMatters policy will probably be more expensive, but could offer valuable coverage for long-term care. Alternatively, you could include a long-term care rider on eligible policies.
To get an idea of how much you could pay for life insurance as a senior, check out our age charts below:
You can also check out life insurance rates by the amount of coverage you choose:
Nationwide Insurance Reviews and Ratings
An insurance company is only as good as its customer and claims service. Without positive results, a company – even one as big as Nationwide – won’t last long. Here are Nationwide insurance reviews and ratings from customers, claimants, and third-party rating sources.
Nationwide Insurance Reviews and Ratings: BBB
Nationwide received accreditation from the Better Business Bureau in 1955 and has earned its highest rating of A+. However, its customer review score and complaints tell a different story.
Nationwide has 1.18 out of 5 stars with the BBB after 226 customer reviews. It also has 197 customer complaints closed in the last 3 years, with 58 closed in the last year. The review complaints are mainly for auto, home, and travel insurance products. Customers complain mostly of customer service frustration, terrible claims process and support, and billing issues.
Nationwide Insurance Reviews and Ratings: YouGov
YouGov is an online database that tracks trends and brand recognition based on a brand’s beliefs and behaviors. Nationwide has high brand recognition, with 91% of people having heard of the insurance carrier. It is liked by 41%, with 10% disliking Nationwide and 40% remaining neutral.
It’s not surprising that Nationwide earns the 11th spot for insurance brand recognition, as one of the leading national insurers. Its fame and popularity is spread pretty evenly between generations, with millennials showing the most fame and Gen X giving it the most in popularity.
Nationwide Insurance Reviews and Ratings: Yelp
After 117 reviews, Nationwide insurance reviews give the carrier 1 out of 5 stars on Yelp. Customers complain of billing, claim, and customer service issues, mainly on auto, home, pet, and travel products. Most claim reviews complain of denials, long processing times, and not feeling like they got the level of service they had been paying for for years.
Nationwide Insurance Reviews and Ratings: J.D. Power
Every year, J.D. Power updates its studies on customer satisfaction for auto, home, health, and life insurance products. Consumer rank life insurance companies based on several metrics, including its website services, overall customer communication, and agent/customer relationship.
In its 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, Nationwide earns the #2 spot, with 813 out of 1,000 possible points. The only insurer who earned more points than Nationwide is State Farm, earning 822 points.
Nationwide AM Best Rating
As an insurer with billions of dollars in assets and almost 100 years in the business, it's no surprise Nationwide earns one of AM Best’s top ratings. With an A+ AM Best rating, Nationwide has superior financial strength, which shows the company’s ability to meet its financial obligations, like paying out life insurance claims. The higher the financial score, the less likely you’ll have to wait long for a claims payout or worry you won’t get paid in full.
Nationwide Life Insurance NAIC Complaint Index
Another rating you can use to consider if a life insurance company is a good fit is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners complaint index. The index shows how each insurer compares to competitors in the market. The NAIC complaint index is 1.00, with Nationwide life insurance earning a 0.05 complaint index. This means that compared to the industry average, Nationwide has hardly any complaints filed, with the lowest index score being 0.00.
Nationwide has a lot of life insurance options, but most seniors will have to take a medical exam to get coverage. If you don’t meet its accelerated underwriting guidelines or don’t already have Nationwide insurance, there may be a better option out there, especially if you have health problems. Call Final Expense Direct today. We work with seniors and adults of all ages to get quality life insurance in place fast, and without a medical exam.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Nationwide Insurance Rates Competitive?
Nationwide life insurance rates can be competitive, but your health, tobacco usage, and age play a big part in your premiums. The younger and healthier you are, the more competitive your Nationwide life insurance rates will be.
Is Nationwide Cheaper than State Farm?
Nationwide could be cheaper than State Farm, but it depends on the individual applying for coverage. You can get quotes to compare Nationwide and State Farm life insurance, but you’ll still need to complete the application and take a medical exam to find out how much it’ll cost.
Is Nationwide a Dependable Insurance Company?
Yes, Nationwide is a dependable insurance company. The carrier has an almost 100-year track record, with an extremely low NAIC complaint index. It also has a superior AM Best financial strength rating, showing that Nationwide can handle its financial obligations.
Is Nationwide Cheap?
Nationwide can be cheap for the right applicant. The younger and healthier you are when you apply for life insurance, the cheaper the rate you’ll get with Nationwide. If you’re older or have serious health problems, you may find life insurance cheaper elsewhere.
Is Nationwide Good at Paying Claims?
Yes, Nationwide’s third-party ratings indicate it is good at paying claims. It has an A+ AM Best rating, which shows superior ability to pay out claims once approved.
What Company Owns Nationwide Insurance?
Nationwide is a mutual insurance company, so the policyholders own the company. The public market cannot invest in Nationwide, so decisions aren’t made based on shareholders and stock market performance.
What Did Nationwide Used To Be Called?
Nationwide used to be called Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company when it first began in 1926 in Ohio. It expanded to Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, and Vermont in 1928. In 1934, it began offering home insurance, and life insurance the following year. Farm Bureau Mutual became Nationwide in 1955, when the company wanted to expand across the country, offering insurance products from coast to coast.