Nationwide vs. USAA Auto Insurance in 2021

Our Nationwide vs. USAA auto insurance guide will help you choose between these two companies with a steady history of financial strength. We look at rates for both companies based on age, driving record, and credit score. USAA’s rates are cheaper than Nationwide on all of our comparison points, but Nationwide has great discounts to offset their higher rates.

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Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Cynthia Lanctot is an insurance professional with ten years of industry experience. Cynthia is licensed in several states, and holds an associate in claims law, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English. Cynthia’s experience includes the New England and Northeast states. She currently works as a liability claims professional and an occasional online contributor.

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Reviewed by Cynthia Lanctot
Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Feb 22, 2021

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A Concise Overview

  • USAA has cheaper auto insurance rates than Nationwide; however, USAA only offers insurance to active, inactive, and retired military members and their immediate family members
  • Nationwide has an impressive number of discounts and substantial savings of up to 40 percent
  • USAA auto insurance for teen drivers is 21 percent cheaper than Nationwide
  • Nationwide drivers that get traffic violations will have an increase in rates, but not as harshly as USAA’s increases

It’s nice to have options in life, and there are so many auto insurance companies to consider.

You probably know the basics now that you have landed here ready to narrow down your two best contenders and choose the auto insurance company that will have your back when you need it: Nationwide vs. USAA auto insurance.

Nationwide and USAA are both on the list of the best auto insurance companies, but how do they stack up when it comes to rates, discounts, consumer satisfaction and complaints, mobile apps, and financial strength?

USAA’s auto insurance rates are cheaper than Nationwide’s auto insurance rates through all of our comparison points; however, USAA offers auto insurance only to active, inactive, and retired military members and their immediate family members.

Enter your ZIP code to start comparing multiple companies in your local area and find the most affordable auto insurance quotes for you.

Is Nationwide or USAA auto insurance cheaper based on age?

As we age, we become more experienced.

Auto insurance companies believe this, especially when it comes to determining your auto insurance rates. They believe the more years of driving experience we have, the more cautious and safe we are as drivers.

I think we can all agree on that. However, I doubt we will all agree that it’s fair to base auto insurance rates on gender and marital status. Some states have outlawed this discriminatory practice, but not all.

Nationwide vs USAA Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Age, Gender, and Marital Status
Age, Gender, and Marital StatusNationwide Average Annual RatesUSAA Average Annual Rates
Single 17-year-old female$5,756$4,808
Single 17-year-old male$7,175$5,386
Single 25-year-old female$2,686$1,989
Single 25-year-old male$2,889$2,126
Married 35-year-old female$2,360$1,551
Married 35-year-old male$2,387$1,540
Married 60-year-old female$2,130$1,450
Married 60-year-old male$2,215$1,449
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USAA’s auto insurance rates are 31 percent cheaper than Nationwide’s auto insurance rates for drivers 25 and older.

Coming in at 21 percent cheaper than Nationwide, USAA is the better choice if you have a teen driver on your policy.

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Is Nationwide or USAA auto insurance cheaper based on driving record?

No matter what auto insurance company you select, it’s a widely accepted fact that your auto insurance rates will increase if you get a speeding ticket, cause an accident, or get a DUIs. The riskier a driver you are, the more of a liability you are. Nationwide and USAA are no exception to this.

Nationwide vs USAA Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Driving Record
InfractionNationwide Average Annual RatesUSAA Average Annual Rates
Clean record$2,746$1,934
With one speeding violation$3,114$2,193
With one accident$3,397$2,516
With one DUI$4,543$3,506
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In general, USAA has cheaper auto insurance rates than Nationwide for drivers with any type of driving record.

However, USAA is less punitive with their customers if they get cause an accident. If you cause an accident with USAA, expect your rates to increase by 30 percent.

Getting a speeding ticket will increase your USAA auto insurance rates by 13 percent, and if you get a DUI, your rates will increase by more than 80 percent.

Nationwide and USAA increase their rates by the same amount if you get a speeding ticket: 13 percent. But, if you cause an accident while with Nationwide, your rates will increase by 24 percent, which is less than USAA will raise your rates (30 percent).

Both USAA and Nationwide take DUIs very seriously, but Nationwide will increase your rates by 65 percent compared to USAA’s 81 percent.

Is Nationwide or USAA auto insurance cheaper based on credit score?

Your credit score reflects your prior ability to manage your finances and make good choices, as well as pay your bills on time. Auto insurance companies assume that the more financially responsible you are, the safer a driver you are.

We can all agree that a traumatic financial life event like a divorce or unexpected medical costs is likely to decrease your credit score.

Are those always personal choices? Not exactly.

Just the same as gender and marital status, some states have banned auto insurance companies from basing rates on credit history. Let’s take a look at how Nationwide and USAA compare when it comes to rates based on credit score.

Nationwide vs USAA Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Credit History
Credit ScoreNationwide Average Annual RatesUSAA Average Annual Rates
Good Credit (670-739)$2,926$1,821
Fair Credit Score (580-669)$3,255$2,220
Poor Credit Score (300-579)$4,083$3,691
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Again, USAA insurance comes in cheaper than Nationwide insurance if you have bad credit.

If your credit score tanks, expect to pay more than twice as much as drivers with good credit with USAA, but only 40 percent more with Nationwide. When it’s time to renew your six-month policy and you notice your rate has gone up, it could be because your credit score dropped.

Use your Nationwide or USAA account to make adjustments to your deductible and coverage levels if needed, to reduce your rate for the next six months while you work to improve your credit score.

State laws determine much of how you will experience obtaining auto insurance coverage, so where you live is a very influential factor in determining your auto insurance rates.

Be sure to check your state auto insurance guide before judging Nationwide and USAA auto insurance rates based on credit score alone.

Does Nationwide or USAA have better discounts?

Every auto insurance company has its brand, and this tends to stem from its history. Similarly, the values and philosophies of an auto insurance company can influence what discounts an auto insurance company will offer.

This is why it pays to shop around. Let’s take a look at Nationwide and USAA auto insurance discounts.

Nationwide vs USAA Auto Insurance Discounts
DiscountsNationwide Discounts Offered (Percent)USAA Discounts Offered (Percent)
Anti-lock Brakes5N/A
Anti-Theft25N/A
Claim Free1012
Daytime Running Lights5N/A
Defensive Driver53
Driver's EdN/A3
Driving Device/App405
Early Signing812
Family LegacyN/A10
Further Education15N/A
Garaging/StoringN/A90
Good Student103
Membership/Group7N/A
Military GaragingN/A15
Multiple Policies10N/A
Multiple Vehicles20N/A
Newer VehicleN/A12
Occupation15N/A
Paperless/Auto Billing303
Safe Driver3512
Students & Alumni7N/A
Vehicle Recovery25N/A
Young DriverN/A75
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When comparing all of their discounts, Nationwide has a total of 17 auto insurance discounts while USAA has only 13.

USAA doesn’t have as many or as high discounts. USAA’s best auto insurance discounts are 75 percent for young drivers and 90 percent for garaging your vehicle while deployed.

On the other hand, Nationwide has some competitive discounts. With Nationwide, you can save between 25 and 40 percent for having an anti-theft or vehicle recovery system in your car, being a safe driver, using a driving app or driving device, or getting paperless bills and using autopay.

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What types of auto insurance coverages are offered by Nationwide and USAA?

Since both Nationwide and USAA are on the big contender list for market share, they both likely offer the standard six coverages that are listed below in addition to much more.

  • Liability auto insurance coverage – bodily injury and property damage
  • Comprehensive auto insurance coverage
  • Collision auto insurance coverage
  • Uninsured/Underinsured auto insurance coverage
  • Medical Payments (MedPay) auto insurance coverage – particularly important in states that require no-fault auto insurance
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto insurance coverage

However, be sure to take a closer look at any specialty coverages such as rental reimbursement, roadside assistance, guaranteed auto protection (GAP), mechanical breakdown, and recreational vehicles such as ATVs or boats. Also, be sure to check out Nationwide pet insurance and Nationwide retirement.

Does Nationwide or USAA have the better auto insurance app?

Most of the top 10 auto insurance companies have mobile apps to make payments, adjust coverage levels, or show electronic verification of auto insurance coverage. However, most auto insurance companies have a separate app that is used for their usage-based auto insurance programs.

Usually, your Nationwide or USAA login will work with both the general app and the driving app.

Since Nationwide offers such a high discount for participating in their usage-based auto insurance program called SmartRide, be sure to compare it to USAA’s SafePilot before making your choice.

Read more about USAA and other military and veteran auto insurance discounts before you make your decision to buy auto insurance.

How do Nationwide and USAA auto insurance compare in financial strength and customer satisfaction?

If auto insurance companies can judge their customers based on gender, marital status, and credit score, then it’s only fair customers get to judge them. We’ll list ratings for Nationwide and USAA from the top agencies that judge the credibility of all auto insurance companies.

A.M. Best scores companies based on their ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations such as balancing premiums collected and claims paid. The highest score A.M. Best awards is Superior A++.

Consumer Reports collects annual data from its subscribers regarding customer satisfaction of the Nationwide claims process and USAA claims process, step by step. In their 2017 survey, 27 insurance companies were rated, and scores ranged between 86 to 96.

And the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) calculates a complaint ratio based on the total number of customers against the total number of complaints. In 2017, the national average complaint ratio was 1. The lower the ratio, the better.

Nationwide vs USAA Company Ratings
Rating AgencyNationwideUSAA
AM Best RatingA+A++
Consumer Reports8895
NAIC Company Complaint Ratio0.280.74
NAIC Total Complaints25296
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Nationwide and USAA are on top of things when it comes to external financial rating agencies. In fact, USAA holds the highest score from AM Best.

USAA has one of the best reviews of customer satisfaction through the claims process, but Nationwide customer service is still fairly good hovering around the same score as most other auto insurance companies. Both USAA and Nationwide have reasonable complaint ratios.

If you’re unsure which company to choose, you can always use our free comparison tool to auto insurance companies in your area.

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