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Last updated: June 10, 2024

Nationwide SmartRide Review 2024

Is it worth signing up for Nationwide’s usage-based insurance discount program?

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Nationwide customers can save up to 40 percent on their car insurance by participating in the SmartRide safe driving program. The program is straightforward. Enroll, install the app or use the plug-in device, and the program will monitor your driving habits to calculate a discount, which is then applied to your next policy renewal.

As a writer for and a conscientious driver in Los Angeles, I’m always on the lookout for smart ways to save on auto insurance. I’ll walk you through my research to help you decide if SmartRide is a good fit for you.

We’ve reviewed other safe driving programs, including State Farm Drive Safe & Save, Allstate Drivewise, Progressive Snapshot, and more. For more ways to save, check out our picks for the best cheap auto insurance and more ways to lower your insurance costs.

Quick Look: Nationwide SmartRide Pros and Cons


  • Save up to 10% just for signing up

  • Save up to 40% after a 4-6 month data collection period

  • Doesn’t use driving data to raise your rate


  • Some customers express privacy concerns due to the tracking of personal driving data

  • App doesn’t always do a good job distinguishing between when you’re a driver vs. a passenger

What Does Nationwide SmartRide Monitor?

Nationwide SmartRide is a usage-based insurance program from Nationwide that offers discounts on auto insurance for safe driving behaviors. SmartRide tracks the following:

  • Miles driven: Statistically, driving fewer miles indicates less risk.
  • Hard braking and acceleration: Avoid sudden braking and rapid acceleration.
  • Idle time: SmartRide measures how long the vehicle remains stationary with the engine running, such as during traffic jams. In general, the more traffic there is, the more chance of an accident.
  • Night driving: Driving between midnight and 5 a.m. Nighttime driving is correlated with factors like decreased visibility and impaired or drowsy driving, which can reduce reaction times and increase the risk of accidents.


According to 2022 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sending or reading a text takes your eye off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field without looking.1

How Much Do You Save With Nationwide SmartRide?

You can earn up to 10 percent off just for signing up for SmartRide, and an additional 40 percent off depending on your driving habits. However, discount rates do vary by state. For example, in California, the sign-up discount is capped at 5 percent, with a maximum of 15 percent off premiums. In Oklahoma, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, North Dakota, and New Jersey, the sign-up discount caps at 10 percent. If you are already a Nationwide customer, I recommend that you speak with your agent directly to ascertain the precise discount amounts for your state.

Based on customer reviews, the 10 percent initial and up to 40 percent maximum discount from Nationwide’s SmartRide program seems to have been a common offer for many. However, it appears as though achieving the maximum 40 percent off discount is challenging. The average discount participants see is about 22 percent.

Another important factor is that unlike other programs like Allstate Drivewise and Progressive Snapshot, SmartRide does not use collected driving data to increase your auto insurance rates for risky driving.

When Do You Start Earning the SmartRide Discount?

You get an initial discount on your car insurance when you sign up for SmartRide. The setup process for the SmartRide program involves installing an app or device that monitors your driving behavior over a four to six-month period. Based on your driving habits, a discount will be calculated. This discount will be applied to your policy at your next renewal date and you’ll keep your discount for as long as you are insured under that policy. During the four to six-month tracking period, you can check the app to see how your discount is trending.

How Does SmartRide Work?


You can sign up for SmartRide by contacting a Nationwide agent. If you already have auto insurance with Nationwide, you can sign up through its website. Once you enroll, Nationwide will send you a text that directs you to download the SmartRide app. The app will then begin to collect your driving data.

An alternative to using the SmartRide app is a small plug-in device that Nationwide mails to you. Nationwide’s website features a video tutorial demonstrating how to plug the device into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port, and the installation process appears easy. This device tracks your driving behavior over four to six months. After the monitoring period, you will mail the device back to Nationwide. Upon receipt, Nationwide calculates your personalized discount based on your recorded driving behaviors. The benefit of this method is that Nationwide does not need to continually track your driving after the monitoring period, unlike other programs like State Farm Drive Safe & Save.


The app requires you to keep the location setting enabled on your phone. If you are using the plug-in device, you must keep it plugged into your vehicle. If you turn off your location setting on your phone too often or remove the plug-in device from your car for a prolonged period of time, Nationwide may cancel your discount.

Data Security

For those concerned with data privacy, it is important to note that the driving data collected by the SmartRide app or plug-in device is solely used for discount calculation purposes. However, Nationwide does appear to share data within Nationwide’s family of companies and with third-party companies. This information can be used for marketing additional products to customers, such as homeowners of life insurance policies. Users do have the option to opt-out of data sharing by contacting Nationwide. In addition, while the app does necessitate enabling location services to ensure that the app is being used while driving and to verify vehicle usage, it does not track your location real-time.

App Store and Google Play Reviews

To gain further insight into users’ experience of SmartRide, I looked at app store data. The Nationwide Smartride app has high ratings on both the Apple Store and Google Play for being easy to navigate, user friendly, and accurate.

App Rating (out of 5)
Android (Google Play) 4.4 stars
iPhone (App Store) 4.6 stars

The most common complaint about the app is its failure to recognize when you’re not the driver during a trip. In such cases, you’re required to manually access the app, navigate to the trip screen, and select the icon at the top right to update the trip label. Options include passenger, boat, train, bus, plane, bike, or off-road.

Positive comments highlight how the app aids drivers in improving their driving skills by offering valuable feedback on their driving behaviors, including encouraging them to not hit their brakes so hard and to touch their screens less while driving. Some customers also view this latter aspect as frustrating because they feel there are times when they have to touch their screens while driving, like clearing updates to get back to their navigation.


According to data from Cambridge Mobile Telematics, drivers who switch to usage-based insurance programs reduce hard braking and rapid acceleration events by an average of 20 percent.2

Trip Tracking

Nationwide’s SmartRide provides the option of using a plug-in device to track your driving habits. In contrast, other programs like GEICO DriveEasy, Allstate Drivewise, and USAA SafePilot only offer an app as a tracking option.

Having both options is a definite advantage for Nationwide’s SmartRide. In general, telematics customers tend to express frustration with apps’ inability to accurately determine when they’re not the driver, leading to manual trip edits. This isn’t an issue with the plug-in device option.

Another benefit to SmartRide is that it does not use collected driving data to increase premiums, making it a risk-free option to try out. In contrast, programs like USAA SafePilot and Progressive Snapshot can increase your rates based on the driving data collected. Specifically, with Progressive Snapshot, around 20 percent of users may see their rates increase if the program detects poor driving habits.

Discount program Maximum discount (often varies by state) Enrollment discount (often varies by state) What it tracks Tracking method Review period
Nationwide SmartRide 40% 10%
  • Miles driven
  • Braking
  • Acceleration
  • Idle time
  • Nighttime driving
App or plug-in device 4-6 months
Allstate Drivewise 40% 10%
  • Speeding
  • Braking
  • Time of day driven
  • Distance driven
  • Phone usage while driving
App only 50 trips; discount on renewal
State Farm Drive Safe & Save 30% 10%
  • Acceleration and speed
  • Braking
  • Cornering (sharp turns)
  • Phone distraction
  • Mileage (in some states)
  • Time of day driven
Bluetooth device Every 6-month renewal (first 90 days counted for initial discount)
GEICO DriveEasy 25% 10%
  • Braking and acceleration
  • Speed
  • Distracted driving (phone usage)
  • Distance driven
  • Time of day driven
App only Each policy renewal (usually 6 months)
USAA SafePilot 30% 10%
  • Hard braking
  • Phone usage while driving
  • Speed
  • Cornering (sharp turns)
  • Time of day driven
  • Distance driven
App only 14-day learning period during which the app familiarizes itself with your driving behaviors. After this period, the app continues to monitor and evaluate your driving and adjusts your discount accordingly at each policy renewal.
Liberty Mutual RightTrack 30% 10%
  • Braking
  • Rapid acceleration
  • Nighttime driving
  • Total miles driven
App (except in New York) 90 days
Progressive Snapshot 30% $47
  • Braking and acceleration
  • Nighttime driving
  • Miles driven
  • Speed
App or plug-in device At least 30 days

The Bottom Line: Is Nationwide SmartRide Worth It?

Customers don’t have too much to lose by enrolling in SmartRide. The 10 percent enrollment discount is good, and many customers report receiving a pretty significant discount (on average 22 percent) off their premium at their next renewal. The fact that you keep this discount for as long as you are insured under that same policy is a great perk. With car insurance growing increasingly expensive, it’s worth taking advantage of any discount you can find.

Additionally, many customers have reported that tracking their driving has helped them to become better drivers. They report feeling incentivized to use their screens less while driving and having greater mindfulness around accelerating and hard braking. The research on distracted driving shows it is extremely dangerous, so I support anything that encourages people to use their phones less while driving.

That said, as a resident of Los Angeles who finds herself in traffic on a daily basis, I believe SmartRide may not be the best option for me, given that one of the factors it measures to determine the discount is idle driving time.

In summary:

SmartRide is Best For You If You:

  • Tend to drive safely, avoiding hard braking and accelerating
  • Do not drive at night
  • Do not live in a busy city where you regularly encounter traffic jams

SmartRide is Not Best For You If You:

  • Mostly drive late at night
  • Don’t want Nationwide to track your data
  • Live in a busy city with a lot of traffic

Why You Can Trust Our Reviews

We use the following methodology to evaluate usage-based insurance discount programs like Nationwide SmartRide.

Tracked Behaviors and Data

We examine what data the program uses to determine discounts. Typically, programs track braking, acceleration, speed, cornering, miles driven, phone use while driving, and the time of day you’re driving. We prefer programs that detect trips automatically. Crash detection is an extra feature we appreciate, but it’s not a necessity. Ideally, the insurance company encrypts this data and doesn’t share it with third parties for marketing purposes.


We consider where the program is available, as not all programs are available in all states. We also take into account whether the discount varies by location, and by how much.

Telematics Technology

Whether the program operates through a mobile app, a plug-in or Bluetooth device, or a combination of the two is a personal preference. While mobile apps are more straightforward than plug-in devices, they may drain your phone battery and are more likely to mistakenly track trips where you’re a passenger, like rideshare or taxi rides. If the program uses an app, we check its ratings on Google Play and the Apple App Store.


We prefer programs that offer potential insurance discounts of up to 30 percent or higher, plus discounts just for signing up. Another essential feature we consider is whether the program could increase your premium instead of reducing it. Some programs could increase your cost if you drive unsafely, so we prioritize programs that won’t do this, regardless of driving data.

SmartRide Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enroll in SmartRide?

In order to enroll, you need to be a Nationwide policyholder. You can sign up through your agent or the Nationwide website. You will then receive a link to download the SmartRide app or receive a plug-in device to start tracking your driving behavior.

What if I unplug the SmartRide device?

If you unplug the SmartRide device or turn off the location setting on your phone, Nationwide will not be able to track your driving habits, which may void any potential discount. It is important to keep the device plugged in and the location setting enabled on your phone during the monitoring period.

What are the privacy concerns with SmartRide?

Nationwide does appear to share collected data within its family of companies and with third parties. Users can opt out of data sharing by contacting Nationwide.

Can poor driving increase my premiums?

No, poor driving can’t increase your premiums with Nationwide SmartRide. The worst outcome is not qualifying for a discount.

How long does the SmartRide program last?

The SmartRide monitoring period typically lasts between four to six months, during which the device or app collects data to calculate the final discount, which is applied at the next policy renewal.


  1. Distracted Driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2024).

  2. New data from Cambridge Mobile. Cambridge Mobile Telematics. (2024).