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Nationwide vs. AAA

Updated Apr 29, 2024

AAA and Nationwide are well-established carriers that provide vastly different customer experiences and insurance products — understanding the difference can help you make the most informed decision when buying car insurance.

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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. AAA is a large insurance company, but due to its segmented structure, determining the market share for AAA can be difficult. However, the Automobile Club of Southern California is the largest AAA club with 1.53 percent of the market share and $4.8 billion in direct written premiums, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' 2023 market share report.

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, representing 1.71 percent of the market share and $5 billion in direct written premiums.

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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. Nationwide offers more additional lines of insurance, which works well for policyholders looking to bundle, whereas AAA has additional club benefits that can help policyholders save money in ways that go beyond insurance.

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 car insurance rates. We’ve highlighted some of the key pros and cons below for each company and have included average rate information for each under a variety of driver considerations.

Badge 1 Featured

Nationwide

Nationwide
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0
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Cost & ratings

Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
4.3

Coverage

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
3.5

Support

Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
4.1

AAA

AAA
Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5
3.4
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Cost & ratings

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
3.5

Coverage

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
2.5

Support

Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
4.3
OVERVIEW
Info
AAA offers relatively affordable auto insurance options, as well as membership perks. Those who like convenience may also appreciate that some of AAA’s offices also offer DMV transactions, notary services and travel planning.
STANDOUT FEATURES
Info
Business
Local agents available
Auto Insurance
Robust roadside assistance
Dollar Coin
Access to additional AAA perks
AVG FULL COV. AUTO RATE
Info
$2,246
AVG MIN COV. AUTO RATE
Info
$611
J.D. POWER AUTO SCORE
Info
847/1000
AM BEST RATING
Info
A(Excellent)

Nationwide pros and cons

Pros
  • Several endorsements and discount options available

  • Low average rates across multiple driver profiles

  • 24/7 claims and towing assistance

  • Offers two telematics programs  programs

Cons
  • Below-average score for claims satisfaction per J.D. Power

  • Not available in all states

  • Below-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores in most regions

  • Does not have 24/7 customer service

AAA pros and cons

Pros
  • 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

  • AAA membership may offer additional saving opportunities for shopping and travel

Cons
  • 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

  • Digital tools have limited functionality

Is Nationwide cheaper than AAA?

AAA's average car insurance rates are generally significantly higher than Nationwide's for full coverage, and just slightly lower than Nationwide for minimum coverage, based on rate data from Quadrant Information Services. Rates and discount opportunities can vary per state and factors such as age (where applicable) and driving record also play a significant role in rate determination. When looking for the cheapest car insurance company, make sure to provide accurate details regarding who will be driving your vehicle and every driver's driving history for accurate quoting.

Driver profile Nationwide avg. full coverage premium AAA avg. full coverage premium
Young driver (age 25) $2,469 $2,694
Senior driver (age 70) $1,848 $2,229
Good driver, good credit $1,950 $2,246
Good driver, poor credit $2,397 $5,126
Speeding ticket with good credit $2,823 $3,042
At-fault accident with good credit $2,782 $4,092
DUI conviction with good credit $4,498 $4,092
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Bankrate's take

Overall Nationwide averages significantly cheaper car insurance rates than AAA. When comparing drivers with clean records and good credit, the premiums are closer, but AAA is still higher. Regarding high-risk drivers which would be new drivers, drivers with below-average credit or driving activity, Nationwide offers drastically lower pricing.

Not all insurance companies offer coverage for drivers with DUIs. However, both Nationwide and AAA do. Additionally both companies will submit SR-22 filings on behalf of policyholders if it is required.

Nationwide vs AAA: discounts

Nationwide and AAA both offer car insurance discounts that could help policyholders get a lower rate. Not all discounts are available in every state and how each carrier implements discounts may vary. When looking for ways to save on your car insurance, contact your agent for a review of your policy and discount opportunities.

Discounts available from both carriers

While each insurance company is different, they all usually have some core discounts in common that are inherent to car insurance. For example, Nationwide and AAA both offer discounts for vehicle safety features, defensive driving and incident fee discounts. However, eligibility and the percentage a policyholder can save may differ between the companies. Below is a breakdown of some of each carrier’s discount specifications.

Nationwide

  • Paperless and automatic payments discount: Depending on the state, some policyholders can save money by receiving their policy online instead of in the mail or by enrolling in automatic payments.
  • 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 usage-based insurance plan, infrequent drivers may receive up to a 10 percent discount after renewal based on the number of miles they drive each year. While this is not a discount, it is a smart way to save money if you tend to have a lower annual mileage.

AAA

  • AAA member discount: AAA memberships for a towing plan also provide discounts on travel, dining and more depending on your package level.
  • 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.
  • Driver training discount: Young drivers may receive an additional discount when they complete AAA’s Auto Club Driving School six or ten-program hour program.

Nationwide and AAA telematics programs

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 offers the SmartRide program, while AAA offers AAADrive.

Nationwide SmartRide AAADrive
Device Mobile app, device, or connected car Mobile app
Can it raise your rate? No No
Availability All states Select states
Discount Up to 40% Up to 30%
What it monitors Miles driven, braking, acceleration, idling and night driving Start and end time, location, accelerometer data

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
Apple store 4.7 of 5 4.6 of 5
Google play 4.5 of 5 4.4 of 5
J.D. Power claims satisfaction 875/1,000 Scores vary

Customer complaints

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) produces an annual complaint index report that tracks how many customer complaints an insurance company has filed against them. The scoring is a baseline model where 1.0 represents the industry average. Scores below 1.0 indicate that a provider had fewer complaints than expected for a company its size and vice versa.

Nationwide auto insurance customer complaints

Nationwide received fewer customer complaints than other auto insurers of similar size. Its score has been fairly consistent over the past three years which is an indication that policyholders may be happy with the service they receive from Nationwide.

AAA auto insurance customer complaints

Since AAA has several insurance groups the level of service policyholders receive can vary. CSAA, which has the largest regional club presence, has an index score just below the baseline.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze the latest rates in June 2024 for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates include the most recent approved rate changes filed by insurance companies that affect our profile. These revised rates are then weighted based on the population density in each geographic region so that policyholders can see the impact rates have in their areas. 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 2022 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.

Credit-based insurance scores: Rates were calculated based on the following insurance credit tiers assigned to our drivers: “poor and good (base).” Insurance credit tiers factor in your official credit scores but are not dependent on that variable alone. Four states prohibit or limit the use of credit as a rating factor in determining auto insurance rates: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan.

Incidents: 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.

Age: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the ages 25-70 (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.

Bankrate Scores

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 highlighting where they fall short.

5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Overall Score
  • Cost & ratings 50%
  • Coverage & savings 30%
  • Support 20%
  • Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, average 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.

Written by
Shannon Martin
Writer, Insurance
Shannon Martin is a licensed insurance agent and Bankrate analyst with over 15 years of experience in the industry. She enjoys helping others navigate the insurance world by cutting through complex jargon and empowering readers to make strong financial decisions independently.
Edited by Editor, Insurance