Nationwide Life Insurance Review

From humble beginnings as a small Ohio-based mutual company, Nationwide has evolved over its 90-year history to become a premier national insurance carrier. Originally selling auto insurance exclusively, they expanded their offerings over time to include home and life insurance options. 

Nationwide now stands as a top-tier option for consumers desiring a one-stop-shop for all of their insurance needs. They have developed a substantial catalog of life insurance options, making them the ideal choice for a broad range of customers. This article will review Nationwide life insurance options and explore the benefits of choosing their policies.

The History of Nationwide Insurance

Nationwide was small and niche when it started selling auto policies in 1926. Under the name Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, they sold exclusively to Ohio farmers to ease relatively high insurance costs. Despite catering to such a small market, they enjoyed immediate success, writing over 1,000 policies on their first day.

They expanded rapidly over the next two years, branching into five more states — Delaware, Maryland, Vermont, West Virginia, and North Carolina. In 1934, they began expanding options with the purchase of a fire insurance company. Life insurance was introduced the following year when they took over the struggling Life Insurance Company of America.

After several more rounds of expansion in products and locations, the company adopted the Nationwide name in 1955. Today, Nationwide is a Fortune 100 company, offering one of the most diversified ranges of insurance options and driving industry innovation.

Nationwide Life Insurance Industry Ratings

Nationwide has positioned itself as a leader in customer service quality. They receive relatively low numbers of life insurance complaints, and they earned top marks for their life policies in a 2020 J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey. 

Business Profile and Credit Rating

Through their exceptional financial health, Nationwide provides consumer confidence that claims can be processed without issue.

  • AM Best: A+
  • Standard & Poors: A+
  • Moody’s: A1

Life Insurance Options from Nationwide

Nationwide services a vast array of life insurance options, meeting the needs of a broad customer spectrum. They are one of a handful of major insurance providers offering term, whole, universal, variable universal, and survivorship insurance.

Nationwide life insurance is available in eight primary plans, all of which require medical exams to qualify. Plans are conveniently and broadly customizable, with no shortage of rider options to fine-tune coverage that meets your unique needs.

Term Life

Nationwide offers its term life insurance product, YourLife Guaranteed Level Term, in four terms — 10-,15-, 20- and 30-year spans. The “guaranteed level” provision promises that monthly premiums remain steady, never increasing, for their entire duration.

Coverage starts at $100,000 and customers as young as 18 years old can open a policy. Policies are renewable annually up to age 95.

Policy owners have conversion privileges, meaning that they have the option to transition to a permanent plan of equal or lesser value. This offers critical flexibility if sudden and unexpected need changes occur during the term. There are no additional fees, medical requirements or renewed underwriting processes, making conversion swift and assured. 

Conversion from term to permanent is available until age 65. Conversion periods match the term length with the exception of the 30-year policy, which has a conversion period of 20 policy years.

Available Riders and Options

  • Chronic Illness: Offers up to 20 percent of your death benefit early when diagnosed with a permanent chronic illness (e.g. arthritis, asthma).
  • Critical Illness: Offers a percentage of your death benefit early when diagnosed with a critical illness (e.g. cancer, stroke).
  • Terminal Illness: Offers a percentage of your death benefit early when diagnosed with a terminal illness (e.g. stage IV cancer, Alzheimer’s). If your life expectancy is 12 months or less, you can qualify for a payout between $10,000 and $250,000, depending on the terms of your policy.
  • Children’s Term: Pays a death benefit if a covered, unmarried child under the age of 22 passes away.
  • Premium Waiver: Protects the owner from a policy lapse if they should become disabled during the term and are unable to make monthly payments.

Policy owners also have the option to add owner-directed settlement options. This provides the owner with flexibility in dictating how and when the death benefit is paid upon their death. Policyholders can also take advantage of wellness credits to apply towards underwriting ratings, reducing their monthly premium.

Whole Life

Nationwide’s YourLife Whole Life policy is the most popular permanent life insurance option. Policyholders benefit from permanent, guaranteed death benefits and accessible tax-deferred cash value to use on loans and other expenses.

The unique advantage Nationwide offers in its whole life policy is the multiple payment options. All plans offer a fixed premium period, keeping monthly payments predictable and manageable for extended terms. Most whole life plans only offer fixed premiums for life, but Nationwide provides flexibility and savings advantages in two distinct plans:

  • Whole Life 100: Offers lower monthly premiums until the policyholder reaches 100 years of age.
  • 20-pay Whole Life: Offers a fixed monthly premium for 20 years at higher rates, allowing you to potentially pay off the policy before retirement.

Minimum whole life coverage is $10,000, and Nationwide makes it easy for all individuals between the ages of 18-80 to apply.

Available Riders and Options

The YourLife Whole Life policy offers the same chronic, critical and terminal illness riders for early death benefit payouts. They also offer spouse and child term insurance riders, which are convertible to standalone policies as needs change and children mature. The whole life plan carries additional riders as well, including the following:

  • Accidental Death Benefit: Provides additional funds on top of the guaranteed benefit for beneficiaries in the case of an unexpected fatal accident.
  • Guaranteed Insurability Benefit: Allows policy owners to purchase additional permanent life insurance policies on specified option dates. This rider is usable until you reach 40 years old. It is exclusive to the YourLife Whole Life plan.

Universal Life

As with whole life, universal plans are permanent policies that can accrue cash value as an investment vehicle. The primary distinction between universal and whole life is that universal policies are strictly available as lifetime coverage.

Nationwide offers three universal life insurance products to NY residents exclusively. But they have five policies available for residents in all other states.

YourLife CareMatters Universal Life

A special Nationwide option, this policy combines universal life insurance and long-term care coverage, offering cash value to cover long-term care costs. CareMatters guarantees delivery of 100 percent of your monthly benefits through a hassle-free qualification and disbursement process. It also ensures protection because if you use all of the available funds, beneficiaries are still guaranteed a 20 percent minimum death benefit.

Available coverage starts around $60,000, the least possible amount among Nationwide’s universal life plans. Customers between 30-75 years of age can qualify for a CareMatters policy.

Survivorship Indexed Universal Life

This plan covers two people with a death benefit that pays out after the second insured person dies. This is ideal for estate planning purposes. The plan carries tax-free death benefits and tax-advantaged wealth accumulation via indexed interest.

Coverage starts high at $500,000 and is available for customers aged 30-85. Optional riders include:

  • Long-term care to pay for medical expenses.
  • Policy split option to divide policies into two separate plans.
  • Estate protection to avoid estate taxes before a trust is set up to receive benefits.
  • Overloan lapse protection to keep policies with loan amounts exceeding policy limits from lapsing.

Indexed Universal Life Accumulator II

This plan caters to individuals seeking superior growth potential. It provides not only a greater income opportunity to supplement your retirement or estate but also greater protection against market or tax loss.

Coverage options begin at $100,000 for IUL Accumulator II plans. It has a wide array of available riders, including all term life rider options, long-term care coverage, disability waivers, overloan lapse protection, and accidental death benefits.

Indexed Universal Life Protector II

The IUL Protector plan features cost-effectiveness in its fixed benefits and multilayered tax protection. This plan carries similar coverage benefits as the IUL Accumulator plan in estate planning and guaranteed minimum cash value growth. It offers the same riders as the IUL Accumulator policy as well. But it also includes an extended no-lapse guarantee rider, which extends the death benefit guarantee.

No-Lapse Guarantee Universal Life

The No-Lapse Guarantee plan is affordable coverage with the normal universal life flexibility to adjust premiums and coverage as needs change. This plan is strictly for protecting death benefits and does not generate cash value. This allows it to be sold at a much cheaper rate.

Variable Universal Life

Variable universal life insurance entails a portion of premiums going toward tax-deferred savings, which can then be invested. These carry the highest income potential. But because they are market invested, they are also subject to greater risk from fluctuations. Nationwide has two available variable universal life policies — Variable Universal Life Accumulator and Variable Universal Life.

Nationwide’s VUL plans have over 70 investment options available to direct funds and professional management to improve growth. Customers have great flexibility in adjusting their premiums, coverage and diversifying their investments.

Pros of Nationwide Life Insurance

Customer Service

Nationwide ranked third in J.D. Power’s 2020 survey for overall customer satisfaction among 23 life insurance providers. The Better Business Bureau awarded Nationwide with an A+ rating for its effectiveness in resolving customer issues.

The company consistently draws fewer complaints to state regulators than anticipated. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports complaint frequency relative to market share to assess insurance providers. In 2020, Nationwide’s score was 0.10, far below the complaint index of 1.00, indicating exceptional performance.

Nationwide makes online payments and claims filing easy and straightforward. Customers can also access account features through a versatile smartphone ap. This puts bill pay, claims filing and status inquiry capabilities right at their fingertips.

Policy Options and Price

Customizability is a major selling point for Nationwide life insurance. The huge selection of riders and varied permanent life insurance options lend flexibility. As well as convenience in developing the perfect amount of coverage.

J.D. Power reports Nationwide’s individual life insurance policies as being more affordable than most options. Customers can also enjoy special discounts when using Nationwide for multiple insurance needs. While they do not discount life insurance policies directly, bundles can significantly reduce home and auto coverage.

Cons of Nationwide Life Insurance

Limited Online Functionality

Online consumers demand convenience and instant gratification, so the basic design of Nationwide’s website does negatively impact the experience. And while the mobile app gives users convenient account access, certain functions are not available to customers in all states.

Obtaining a quote and buying insurance requires contacting an agent. Customers can start the process of obtaining a quote through an online form. However, they are directed to speak to an agent to finalize policies.

Support options are primarily limited to phone calls. However, the additional care to connect interested customers with agents does speak to its reputation for quality service. And although self-service may be limited, Nationwide provides helpful resources to educate customers on plan terms and benefits.

Is Nationwide Life Insurance Right For Me?

If you want complete customization and ongoing control of your life insurance accounts, Nationwide likely carries an attractive policy. It is especially beneficial for owners looking for personal benefits along with guaranteed death benefits. With its unique whole life payment options and universal life investment opportunities, Nationwide empowers its customers to achieve any retirement goal.

A comprehensive view of coverage options from multiple providers is the best method in ensuring a cost-effective, high-value plan that accomplishes your goals. At NextGen Life Insurance, we make careful assessments of your unique needs to find the most advantageous life insurance packages available. Get your free quote today or call us at 646-216-4199 to get started.