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USAA or Nationwide: Which company is best for you?

USAA and Nationwide are among the most popular insurance companies in the United States. USAA policies are only available to members of the armed forces and certain family members, and membership is required before you can purchase a policy. Nationwide has widespread brand recognition and comes in eighth place in market share for auto insurance.

Both companies have coverage options that will satisfy the needs of most customers — but which one is right for you? Have a look at our in-depth comparison to see which company comes out on top.

USAA car insurance

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5 Rating from The Zebra Question mark icon

USAA is unique in that customers must be in the armed forces or be close family members. The company has many insurance options that can be paired with your auto policy. Membership also allows access to other benefits, like banking services. In terms of market share, USAA comes in fifth place.

In general, USAA receives stellar ratings from customers and third-party rating agencies alike, including the top score in The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey. If membership is an option for you, the company is definitely worth looking into.

Pros Cons
  • Affordable rates
  • Great customer satisfaction scores
  • Other membership perks
  • Eligibility limited to those in the armed forces
Learn more

Nationwide car insurance

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3.5 Rating from The Zebra Question mark icon

Nationwide customers should expect affordable rates, many discount options and a wide selection of coverages available for bundling. Nationwide customers can easily combine auto insurance with homeowners, renters and life insurance policies.

Pros Cons
  • Wide-ranging coverage options
  • Multiple telematics options
  • Affordable rates
  • Plentiful discount options
  • Poor customer satisfaction scores
  • Relatively frequent customer complaints (according to the NAIC)                          
Learn more

Which company comes out on top?

USAA


While not all customers will be eligible for USAA's coverage, those who are can expect affordable rates and all-around great customer service. However, even those eligible may still find Nationwide to be a good option.


USAA vs. Nationwide: car insurance rate comparison

Car insurance rates are determined by a number of factors, including where you live, your driving history and even your credit score (a factor in almost all states). Both USAA and Nationwide weigh these factors differently, meaning that you are very likely to get a different quote from each company.

To give you a sense of how USAA and Nationwide insurance rates compare rates, we've put together average rates based on a few different factors. Have a look at the figures below to get a sense of which company could be most affordable for you.

Want to find out more? Check out our full reviews of USAA and Nationwide.

Cheapest average rates medal
Cheapest average rates

We found that Nationwide is more affordable than USAA, with an average monthly cost of $90. USAA's average was $106 per month.


USAA vs. Nationwide: pricing by credit score

If you have bad credit, Nationwide could be the way to go. But if you have fair to excellent credit, USAA is generally more affordable. Check out average insurance costs by credit tier for Nationwide and USAA below.

 

RATES BY CREDIT LEVEL: NATIONWIDE VS. USAA
Credit level USAA avg. annual premium Nationwide avg. annual premium
Very Poor (300-579) $2,682 $1,593
Fair (580-669) $1,247 $1,262
Good (670-739) $1,057 $1,283
Very Good (740-799) $910 $1,109
Exceptional (800-850) $840 $1,037

Auto insurance data methodology

The auto insurance rates published in this guide are based on the results of The Zebra's State of Insurance car insurance pricing analysis. This analysis of more than 83 million insurance rates spans every U.S. ZIP code, using a sample user profile: a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord, good credit and full coverage at these levels:

  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident for bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 per incident for property damage liability
  • $500 deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage

To generate pricing for particular rating factors, we adjusted the driving profile based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies. These factors include credit score, coverage level, driving record and others.

In some instances, average rates from Liberty Mutual were derived from internally sourced sales data.

USAA vs. Nationwide: rates for high-risk drivers

If you have an at-fault accident, speeding violation, reckless driving violation or DUI on your driving record, USAA could be a better choice than Nationwide. USAA was significantly less expensive for those with violations in their recent driving history. Every car insurance company prices policies differently after a violation, so don't be afraid to shop around to understand which insurer suits you.

 

RATES BY CITATION: NATIONWIDE VS. USAA
Citation USAA avg. annual premium Nationwide avg. annual premium
At-fault accident (damage < $1,000) $1,304 $1,836
At-fault accident (damage > $1,000) $947 $1,475
DUI/DWI $1,952 $2,691
Reckless driving $1,472 $2,508
Speeding ticket $1,124 $1,469

USAA vs. Nationwide: rates by age

Auto insurance companies use a driver's age as an indicator of potential risk and price policies accordingly. Car insurance is commonly priciest for young drivers under the age of 25 — due to their relative inexperience compared to older drivers. Because every car insurance company rates age brackets in a different way, it's worth shopping around and finding the best rate for you.

As a general rule, teen drivers should choose USAA, which we found was more affordable than Nationwide. USAA was also cheapest for drivers of all ages.

 

RATES BY AGE: NATIONWIDE VS. USAA
Age USAA avg. annual premium Nationwide avg. annual premium
Teens $2,864 $3,624
20s $1,261 $1,582
30s $963 $1,582
40s $957 $1,151
50s $889 $1,114
60s $845 $1,028

Cost aside, USAA and Nationwide each carry pros and cons, including discount programs, customer satisfaction ratings, add-ons and financial stability. Dive into the data before making your decision and be sure to shop around and compare rates before purchasing a policy.

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Ratings comparison: USAA vs. Nationwide

Both USAA and Nationwide are among the largest car insurance companies and are popular options for car insurance. Leading third-party information sources — along with The Zebra — have evaluated the customer service and claims satisfaction standards of USAA and Nationwide in recent years. To get a fairer assessment of the service you can expect to receive, we've compiled a list to compare recent ratings from each company below, including scores for financial strength, customer complaints and overall customer satisfaction.

 

USAA VS. NATIONWIDE
Ratings comparison USAA Nationwide
Financial strength (A.M. Best) Superior Superior
JD Power (claims satisfaction) Excellent Average
JD Power (customer satisfaction) Excellent Poor
NAIC rating Excellent Below Average
The Zebra's editorial review score 5/5 3.5/5
The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey 4.6/5 4.3/5

Which company scores best?

USAA


USAA consistently ranks as one of the top-rated insurers in the U.S. If you're able to qualify for coverage, this insurer comes with extra benefits and a good reputation.


The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey

To get a better sense of how the overall customer experience, The Zebra conducted an independent survey taking a look at many different factors. Below you'll find each company's results.

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USAA

USAA topped the list as the best auto insurance carrier with an overall score of 4.6, winning in every category except Online Experience. Here are some other highlights:

  • Top-rated overall
  • Highly rated by both male and female respondents
  • Highly rated by drivers in all age groups
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Nationwide

Nationwide earned middling reviews from customers in most categories. Out of the 15 companies for which we gathered data, Nationwide auto insurance placed 9th overall with a score of 4.3. 

  • Nationwide car insurance placed 9th overall
  • Millennial and Gen X respondents rated Nationwide highly for Ease of Interaction
  • Scored poorly for Claims Satisfaction and Online Satisfaction

The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey methodology

Findings are based on an online quantitative survey of 4,134 current U.S. auto and home insurance customers, with Census-balanced sampling by age, gender and region. Categories with n=<20 responses are considered insufficient sample size and are not reported. This survey was developed by The Zebra and executed by independent research firm Maru/Blue in 2021.


USAA vs. Nationwide: discount comparison

Discounts on car insurance are usually quite small but they can add up to sizable savings, making it a good way for eligible drivers to save money on their premiums. See each company's available discount selections below. Note that discount availability may vary by state and other factors.

USAA VS. NATIONWIDE: DISCOUNT COMPARISON
Discount comparison USAA Nationwide
Good student
Multiple policies
Multiple vehicles
Anti-theft device(s)
Anti-lock brake system
Air bags
Good driver
Defensive driver
Student away at school
Driver training
Green vehicles
Affinity membership alum
Advanced purchase
Pay in full
Home owner
eSign or ePay
Telematics
New Vehicle
Annual Mileage
Military
Continuous coverage

Nationwide and USAA offer a comparable number of discount opportunities. Keep in mind that even with discounts, another company may have a cheaper car insurance quote for you. If unsure, ask a representative about which discounts for which you may qualify.


Telematics options: USAA vs. Nationwide

For safe drivers, enrolling in a telematics program can translate to savings. Telematics programs use technology to help track your driving habits and set a rate based on its findings on the way you drive, and in some cases, mileage.

Both USAA and Nationwide offer telematics options. Have a look at the options available from both companies below.

USAA logo
USAA SafePilot

SafePilot offers customers the chance to have their driving habits monitored in exchange for cheaper car insurance rates. A discount of 10% is offered just for signing up, with up to 30% savings possible for safe drivers at policy renewal.

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Nationwide SmartRide

SmartRide is Nationwide's telematics app. Nationwide's mobile application tracks customers' driving habits and provides feedback in an effort to help drivers avoid risk (and claims).

Zebra Tip: Explore telematics offerings from each company if you are a safe driver


Both USAA's SafePilot and Nationwide's SmartRide are good options overall, and worth checking out for potential savings if you're interested in trying out telematics car insurance.


Roadside assistance: USAA vs. Nationwide

A roadside assistance program can be a great safety net to have in case of emergencies. Below you can find a quick rundown of the roadside assistance options offered by both USAA and Nationwide.

USAA

USAA offers the following roadside assistance services to policyholders:

  • Towing
  • Flat tire changing
  • Fuel delivery
  • Jump-starts
  • Lock-out service
  • Stuck vehicle assistance

Another perk of USAA membership is that these services are also available at reduced rates to policyholders without roadside assistance on their policy.

Nationwide

Nationwide partners with Agero to provide roadside assistance services. Drivers who add roadside assistance receive access to:

  • Towing
  • Battery jump start
  • Fuel delivery
  • Flat-tire change
  • Winching services
  • Lock-out services
tow truck

USAA vs. Nationwide: home insurance

As with auto coverage, both USAA and Nationwide have home insurance options that offer sufficient coverage options for most homeowners. Nationwide comes in eighth place in market share for homeowners insurance, while USAA comes in third. However, price points and other benefits may differ. See our analysis below to find out which company might be the best fit for your home insurance needs.

USAA homeowners insurance review

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5 Rating from The Zebra Question mark icon

Similar to USAA's car insurance, customer eligibility is limited to those in the armed forces and their families. As the third most popular option for homeowners insurance in the U.S., the company's coverage is highly rated and quite popular. Most customers will find the coverage satisfactory for their needs, and policies can be amended with a good number of add-ons and opportunities to save with discounts.

USAA topped every category in the homeowners portion of The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey, indicating a strong focus on the customer and affirming its esteemed standing in the home insurance market.

  • The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey — 4.6/5: USAA topped every category of our homeowners customer satisfaction survey.
  • J.D. Power Rating — Among the Best: J.D. Power rates USAA above average in claims and customer service satisfaction.
  • Financial strength — Superior: A "Superior" financial strength rating by A.M. Best shows USAA's ability to pay out claims is solid.
  • NAIC Rating — Excellent: Regarding USAA, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) received relatively few customer complaints when compared to the market median.
Learn more

Nationwide homeowners review

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4 Rating from The Zebra Question mark icon

Nationwide is a popular option for homeowners insurance, due to its solid product offerings and relatively affordable rates. The company earned roughly average reviews from various third-party reviewers and consumers, placing 10th in The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey.

  • The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey — 4.3/5: Nationwide placed 10th in The Zebra's homeowners insurance customer survey. 
  • Claims satisfaction (J.D. Power) — Above average: J.D. Power's property claims satisfaction study for 2021 gave Nationwide an above-average score of 892 out of 1,000.
  • Customer satisfaction — (J.D. Power) — Below average: Nationwide earned below-average marks in J.D. Power's study of customer satisfaction. 
  • Financial strength — Superior: AM Best rates Nationwide an A+.
  • NAIC Rating — Above Average: Nationwide received fewer complaints than did other major homeowners insurance companies.
Learn more

Which company comes out on top?

USAA


USAA has a strong reputation for taking care of its policyholders and is consistently rated as a top insurer. For eligible customers, USAA has a robust selection of coverage options and typically very affordable rates, making it a great choice for homeowners insurance.


USAA vs. Nationwide: home insurance rate comparison

USAA's average homeowners insurance rate is around $127 per month, while Nationwide's monthly cost is slightly more affordable, at $103.

Similar to auto insurance quotes, each company has its own underwriting methods for homeowners insurance. This means your rates are highly likely to vary from one company to another. Learn more about the factors insurers use to price your home insurance quote.

Things such as your claims history, crime rates in your area and your proximity to fire stations can have a big impact on how much you pay. As with car insurance shopping, we suggest getting quotes from many different companies when looking for home insurance policies.

Cheapest average rates
Cheapest average rates

According to our data, Nationwide has the cheapest home insurance rates at around $103 per month.

Homeowners insurance data methodology

The homeowners insurance rates published in this guide are based on The Zebra's analysis of the cost of home insurance in every U.S. ZIP code. These rates are based on a sample user profile: a 45-year-old married homeowner living in a 2,500-square-foot single-story home built in 2011 with these coverage levels:

  • $200,000 for the dwelling
  • $20,000 for other structures
  • $100,000 for personal property
  • $100,000 for personal liability
  • $1,000 deductible

To generate pricing for particular rating factors, we adjusted the homeowner profile based on common pricing factors used by major home insurance companies. These factors include location, coverage limits, claims record and others.


USAA vs. Nationwide: homeowners discount comparison

Homeowners insurance discounts are a good way to chip away at the cost of your premium. To be eligible for such discounts, policyholders must meet certain criteria. See how the homeowners discounts from USAA and Nationwide stack up below.

USAA VS. NATIONWIDE: HOMEOWNERS DISCOUNT COMPARISON
Discount comparison USAA Nationwide
Claims free
Recent home buyer
Multi-policy
Newer/more durable roof
Protective devices (smoke/burglar alarms, etc.)
Paid in full
Early signing
Auto pay
Newer home
Renovated home
Senior citizen

Zebra tip: Check out Nationwide if you are seeking home insurance discounts


Nationwide offers more discount options than USAA for qualifying customers. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that it will be cheaper for everyone, as every company generates quotes differently.


Other insurance products and bundling options

USAA and Nationwide both offer multiple lines of insurance. Oftentimes, these separate insurance lines can be bundled together, allowing you to streamline your insurance policies and potentially save some money with a discount. While shopping for auto or home coverage, you may want to check into coverages such as life, pet or small business insurance available from USAA and Nationwide. Take a look at the additional coverage types available from each company below.

USAA VS. NATIONWIDE: OTHER INSURANCE PRODUCTS
Other products USAA Nationwide
Boat insurance
Condo insurance
Life insurance
Homeowners insurance
Travel trailer insurance
Renters insurance
RV insurance
Motorcycle insurance
Mobile home insurance
Umbrella
ATV insurance
Pet insurance
Commercial insurance

Find the best insurance policy for your needs.

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RECENT QUESTIONS

Agree to be paid out of pocket with driver with no license

To sum, having her pay out of pocket might be your best option. Let me explain.
Aug 9, 2018 Los Angeles, CA

Does USAA membership extend to grandchildren

From my knowledge, your parent's would also have to be members in order for you to qualify. But, as I'm not an agent for USAA, I would call them and speak to an insurance agent directly.
Jun 4, 2018 San Antonio, TX

Am I covered for an accident if my policy had lapsed while without an Uber passenger?

Unfortunately, if there was no coverage in place, no company will honor the claim. Uber coverage is in place while the app is active, though this only covers liability.
Jul 2, 2020 Lincoln Park, MI

Our son-in-law is a USAA member (Navy). Can we join also?

Parents are not eligible for USAA. USAA eligibility flows "downstream" — so descendants, i.e.
Sep 8, 2019 Greenville, CA

Ross Martin photo
Ross MartinManager, Content Quality

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. As a licensed insurance agent, he specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

Ross holds a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London and has a background in copywriting and education. As a former teacher, he applies his educational skills to explain insurance concepts in ways that consumers can understand.

Ross's work has been cited by The New York Times, AxiosInvestopedia, The Simple DollarThe BalanceCar and Driver and Fox Business. He has been quoted by CNET, I Drive Safely and Kin Insurance

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.