Nationwide SmartRide Review


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As long as there has been auto insurance, drivers have been trying to find ways to pay less for it. The latest trend in auto insurance savings is usage-based insurance, where companies offer programs to use technology to track driving behaviors and adjust premium pricing based on the driver’s risk. Usually, insurers use general information like age, location, education level and credit score to gauge risk based on overall statistics, which means that some drivers end up overpaying simply because they fall within a high-risk group. Usage-based insurance means that rates are determined by the driver’s individual behaviors, which many see as a more fair assessment.

Nationwide has placed itself at the forefront of safe driving technology with SmartRide, a program that can help you save money on your insurance premiums while encouraging you to be safer on the road. By downloading an app or installing a small device in your car, you can save anywhere from 10% to 40% on your monthly payments just for being a safer driver.

What is Nationwide SmartRide

Nationwide SmartRide is a program that rewards drivers for good habits with discounts on their auto insurance premiums. Since SmartRide is optional, you don’t have to sign up for it, but anyone who has a Nationwide auto insurance policy is eligible. Most cars can be used to enroll as long as they were manufactured after 1996. The program is entirely free; no costs are associated with joining or installing SmartRide technology.

Once you sign up, you’ll be subject to a monitored driving period that can last anywhere from four to six months. The monitoring can take place either via an app installed on your smartphone or with a separate device that you install in your vehicle. If you choose to drive with an app, you can be ready to go in just a few minutes once you download and activate the program. Drivers who opt for a device will need to wait a week or two to receive the device in the mail, although the self-installation process only takes a few minutes.

Throughout the driving period, you’ll get regular updates from Nationwide on your current estimated discount and suggestions for ways to improve your driving habits. Once the initial period has been completed, you’re free to delete the app or return the device.

What does SmartRide monitor

SmartRide monitors several different aspects of your driving behavior that are commonly associated with your overall risk of getting in an accident. These include:

  • Miles driven: The more miles you drive, the higher your chances of being involved in a crash. Nationwide rewards those who only use their car to commute short distances.
  • Hard braking: Slamming on the brakes increases the chance of an accident, so too much of this behavior will negatively affect your SmartRide discount.
  • Fast acceleration: If you regularly accelerate quickly, this could be a sign of aggressive driving. SmartRide considers any change of speed in excess of 7.7 mph per second as a poor driving habit.
  • Nighttime driving: Trips that occur between midnight and 5:00 AM have the highest chance of resulting in an accident. If your car is usually parked in the driveway during these hours, you’ll get a better discount.

How much can you save with Nationwide SmartRide?

The potential discounts for enrolling in Nationwide SmartRide depend on the driver and how well you do during the evaluation period. All drivers get an instant 10% discount just for signing up, and depending on how well you perform, the highest possible discount is 40%. Nationwide will never use the information to raise your premiums, which is a potential risk with some similar programs from competitors.

With SmartRide, you’re given an estimated discount every week based on your most recent driving habits. The final discount gathered from your four- to six-month driving period will be applied on your next renewal date and remain in place as long as you have a Nationwide auto insurance policy.

Who should sign up for SmartRide?

Anyone can sign up for SmartRide, but certain people have a better chance of benefitting. In general, the higher your premiums, the more you can potentially save with a SmartRide discount. Drivers whose premiums are high due to circumstances out of their control, such as age or location, can use SmartRide as an opportunity to show Nationwide that they drive safely. Those who have been in an accident in the past and had their premiums raised because of the claim could also benefit from SmartRide if they’ve worked to improve their driving habits. Since SmartRide is free and can’t result in your premiums going up, there isn’t really a reason not to enroll.

Frequently asked questions

How much does Nationwide SmartRide cost?

SmartRide is entirely free to anyone with a Nationwide auto insurance policy. All you need to do is sign up for the program and download the app or install a SmartRide device in your car.

Can anyone sign up for SmartRide?

Anyone can sign up for SmartRide as long as they have an active policy with Nationwide. However, keep in mind that if you drive a car made before 1996 then you will not be eligible.

How much will I save with Nationwide SmartRide?

All drivers save at least 10% just by enrolling in SmartRide. Your final discount will depend on the results of your months-long driving evaluation period, but the maximum possible discount is 40%.

How long does SmartRide last?

The SmartRide driving period can last from four to six months depending on the driver. Throughout this time period, you’ll get weekly updates with your estimated discount. Once the driving period has ended, you can stop using the SmartRide technology and your final discount will be applied to your policy at its next renewal.