The American Automobile Association (AAA) was founded in 1902, in Chicago, Illinois. Most commonly referred to as AAA, the company specializes in coverage and services that cater to traveling and roadside assistance. AAA is divided into different clubs by region, with the clubs having different underwriting companies for their policies. Due to its segmented structure, determining the market cap for AAA can be difficult, but it is not listed in the top 10 largest auto insurers by market cap.

Nationwide was founded in 1926, although it had previously existed as the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile insurance Company. While it was initially geared toward farmers, the company has grown and developed into one of the largest insurance providers in the United States. Nationwide now offers a broad array of insurance products for a range of demographics. Nationwide underwrites its own auto insurance policies and the company represents 2 percent of the market share.

Nationwide AAA
Bankrate score 4.0 3.2
Tier 1 4.1 3.2
Tier 2 3.5 2.5
Tier 3 4.1 4.3
  • Our 2024 Bankrate Score considers variables our insurance editorial team determined impacts policyholders’ experiences with an insurance company. These rating factors include a robust assessment of each company’s product availability, financial strength ratings, online capabilities and customer and claims support accessibility. Each factor was added to a category, and these categories were weighted in a tiered approach to analyze how companies perform in key customer-impacting categories.

    Each category was assigned a metric to determine performance, and the weighted sum adds up to a company’s total Bankrate Score — out of 5 points. Our scoring model provides a comprehensive view, indicating when companies excel across several key areas and highlight where they fall short.

    • Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, 2023 quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services (if available), as well as any of the latest third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, Demotech and the NAIC, were analyzed.
    • Tier 2 (Coverage & savings): We assessed companies’ coverage options and availability to help policyholders find a provider that balances cost with coverage. Additionally, we evaluated each company’s discount options listed on its website.
    • Tier 3 (Support): To encompass the many ways an auto insurance company can support policyholders, we analyzed avenues of customer accessibility along with community support. This analysis incorporated additional financial strength ratings from S&P and Moody’s and factored a company’s corporate sustainability efforts.

    Tier scores are unweighted to show the company’s true score in each category out of a possible five points.

Info
Our verdict
In general, Nationwide offers lower average rates for full coverage and more coverage options, but average rates can vary for AAA depending on which club a driver belongs to. In contrast, AAA has lower average rates for minimum coverage, although the difference is slight.

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Nationwide vs. AAA comparison

When comparing Nationwide vs. AAA, it’s useful to list potential benefits and downsides as well as considering a comparison of average rates. We’re highlighting some of the more important pros and cons below for each company and have included average rate information for each under a variety of driver considerations.

Nationwide pros and cons

Pros Cons
Many endorsements available for customizable coverage
Low average rates across multiple driver profiles
Long list of discounts, including two telematics programs
Below-average score for claims satisfaction per J.D. Power
Not available in all states

AAA pros and cons

Pros Cons
Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Local club structure may offer customizable coverage suited to your regional needs
Highly-rated roadside assistance program
Underwriting for insurance offered by different providers based on region
Coverage options and discounts may vary by region
High average rates across multiple driving profiles

Is Nationwide cheaper than AAA?

AAA’s average car insurance rates are significantly higher than Nationwide’s for full and minimum coverage based on rate data from Quadrant Information Services. Nationwide’s average full coverage rates are 28 percent lower than the national average of $2,014 per year. AAA’s average full coverage rate comes in at 27 percent higher than the national average.

Car insurance company Average annual premium for full coverage Average annual premium for minimum coverage
Nationwide $1,442 $567
AAA $2,562 $681
  • Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

    • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
    • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
    • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
    • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
    • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
    • $500 collision deductible
    • $500 comprehensive deductible

    To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

    These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Nationwide is generally cheaper for drivers with poor credit

Credit scores are often used in insurance underwriting to help determine car insurance rates, but this practice is not permitted within the states of California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan. The table below outlines average annual premiums for full coverage car insurance from both companies based on driver credit scores.

Credit Score Nationwide AAA
Poor $1,928 $5,470
Average $1,534 $2,822
Good $1,383 $2,562
Excellent $1,218 $2,162
  • Rates were calculated based on the following insurance credit tiers assigned to our drivers: “poor, average, good (base) and excellent.” Insurance credit tiers factor in your official credit scores but are not dependent on that variable alone. Four states prohibit the use of credit-based insurance scores as a rating factor in determining auto insurance rates: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan.

Nationwide is generally cheaper for young drivers

Age is a key rating factor in auto insurance in most states. Younger drivers are statistically more likely to have more accidents and incidents, making it riskier to insure them, and are charged higher average premiums in return. Below are each provider’s average annual rates for young drivers who are listed on their parent’s full coverage car insurance policies.

Nationwide AAA
Age 16 $2,262 $5,339
Age 17 $2,217 $4,932
Age 18 $2,188 $4,640
Age 19 $2,059 $4,197
Age 20 $1,990 $4,008
  • The rates displayed reflect the total cost of a 16- through 20-year-old driver added to their parents’ policy.

Nationwide is generally cheaper for adult drivers

Insurance premiums tend to go down as age increases and drivers get more experience behind the wheel. However, average rates may climb for drivers over a certain age, and in particular, senior drivers. Below are the average annual rates for adult drivers who have their own full coverage car insurance policy.

Nationwide AAA
Age 18 $4,783 $6,706
Age 25 $1,665 $3,067
Age 30 $1,472 $2,620
Age 40 $1,383 $2,562
Age 60 $1,219 $2,246
  • Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the ages 18-60 (base: 40 years) applied. Depending on age, drivers may be a renter or homeowner. Age is not a contributing rating factor in Hawaii and Massachusetts due to state regulations.

Nationwide is generally cheaper for high-risk drivers

Car accidents and traffic violations play a significant role in determining car insurance rates. In some cases, drivers who have more severe driving-related convictions on their records, like DUIs, may pay substantially higher rates for car insurance coverage or may be refused coverage altogether by some insurance providers. Below are annual average rates for full coverage for Nationwide and AAA based on driving records. The average rates being listed below does not guarantee that a specific company will offer insurance to a driver with the specified infraction.

Nationwide AAA
Clean driving record $1,383 $2,562
Speeding ticket conviction $1,684 $3,131
At-fault accident $1,852 $3,717
DUI conviction $2,634 $5,569
  • Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket and single DUI conviction.

Nationwide vs AAA: discounts

Nationwide and AAA both offer car insurance discounts that could help policyholders get a lower rate. However, each company offers different savings opportunities. Here are how some of the discounts available differ from Nationwide vs. AAA:

Nationwide

  • SmartRide discount: Drivers who sign up for Nationwide’s SmartRide safe driver discount program could save up to 10 percent when they enroll and up to 40 percent for practicing safe driving habits.
  • Multi-policy discount: Bundling your home and auto insurance with the same carrier often results in savings on both policies.
  • SmartMiles discount: Through Nationwide’s SmartMiles program, infrequent drivers may get a lower premium based on the number of miles they drive each year.

AAA

  • AAA member discount: You may qualify for a discounted car insurance premium if you have an active AAA membership,
  • Advanced shopping discount: Drivers who switch car insurance companies may get a discount from AAA if they get a quote more than seven days before the policy’s start date.
  • Good student discount: Students in high school and college could earn a lower car insurance rate if they maintain a set minimum GPA in school.

Usage-based insurance comparison: Nationwide vs AAA

Many insurance companies offer telemetric programs that analyze how you drive. That data is then used to determine whether you qualify for potential discounts or savings. The idea behind these programs is that they will lead to greater savings for drivers who exhibit  responsible driving habits behind the wheel.

Nationwide SmartRide AAADrive
Telematics device App, device, or connected car App
Monitored driving factors Miles driver, braking, acceleration, idling and night driving Start and end time, location, accelerometer data
Potential impact on rates Decreased Decreased
Potential discount Up to 40% Up to 15%
Availability All states Select states

Nationwide vs AAA: customer experience comparison

When considering customer experience, we looked at each company’s app ratings and functions and incorporated scoring from the 2023 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction study.

According to our research, both companies offer strong online resources, but they differ when it comes to app functionality. In particular, Nationwide offers a variety of online tools, resources and articles via its app, which can be helpful for first-time auto insurance buyers

Overall, we found that Nationwide has a more useful app for insurance purposes, as AAA’s app does not include any insurance-related features. Nationwide scored below the segment average for claims satisfaction, but AAA’s scoring is a bit more complex. Some of the carrier’s clubs, like the Auto Club of Southern California, scored above the segment average, while others, like the Automobile Club Group scored far below.

Nationwide AAA
App store 4.7 out of 5 4.6 out of 5
Google Play 4.5 out of 5 4.4 out of 5
J.D. Power 875 / 1,000 Scores vary

Frequently asked questions

    • Yes, both Nationwide and AAA offer homeowners insurance policies to customers across most states in the nation. AAA is available in all 50 states but homeowners insurance options and underwriters may vary by region. Nationwide offers homeowners insurance to customers in 45 states and Washington, D.C.
    • The best car insurance company is different for every driver. It may depend on your budget, which ZIP code you live in, what discounts you qualify for, what coverage you need and the vehicle you drive. Researching more than one insurance carrier will help you understand which might be the best for you.
    • The average cost of car insurance in the United States is $2,014 per year for a full coverage policy. However, auto insurance rates are different for every driver. Factors like your driving and claims history typically impact the price.
    • Car insurance is a legal requirement in most states. The only states that do not require traditional car insurance are New Hampshire and Virginia. However, drivers in these states typically have to file some proof of financial responsibility to demonstrate their ability to pay for damages in the event of an at-fault accident.