Nationwide SmartRide: Save Up to 40% by Driving Safely

Nationwide SmartRide is a telematics program that applies a discount on Nationwide auto policies based on how safely you drive. Driving habits are analyzed by downloading the SmartRide app or installing a plug-in device in their car. Fortunately, the SmartRide program does not penalize bad driving habits with higher premiums — it will only affect how high of a discount you receive.

What is Nationwide SmartRide?

Nationwide SmartRide is an optional telematics program that tracks your driving habits and rewards good drivers with a discount on their policy premium. Nationwide will track your driving habits either through the SmartRide mobile app or a plug-in device you insert inside your car. The safer you drive, the higher the discount earned when you renew your policy.

Nationwide customers can earn a 10% participation discount just by signing up for the Nationwide SmartRide program.

Vehicles that were manufactured before 1996 may not qualify to participate in this telematics program.

How Does Nationwide SmartRide Work?

To enroll in the Nationwide SmartRide program, policyholders can either download the SmartRide mobile app or install a plug-in device inside their vehicle.

SmartRide Mobile App

The SmartRide mobile app will track your driving habits without having to insert any device directly into your car. The SmartRide app is available on the Google Play store or Apple App Store. Nationwide customers should note that the SmartRide app is different from the Nationwide app, which allows policyholders to manage their policies and file claims.

Using the SmartRide mobile app is simple. To get started, you will open the app and enable location services. Once you start driving, the mobile app will automatically collect data about your driving habits, including mileage, braking smoothness, speeding events, nighttime driving and more. Once you reach your destination, you will need to manually end the trip.

The monitoring period typically lasts four to six months. Throughout this period, you can view information about your driving data through the mobile app:

  • Driving trends and get personalized feedback on driving
  • Trips on a map
  • Phone distraction summary and an interactive map with trip details
  • Estimated discount during participation
  • Final discount at the end of the program

Based on the data collected over the monitoring period, Nationwide will reward you with a discount. Drivers that exhibit the safest driving habits earn the highest discounts. After the monitoring period has been completed and your discount confirmed, you can uninstall the mobile app.

If you’re unsatisfied with your discount, you can re-enroll in the SmartRide program and attempt to secure a better discount. Keep in mind that Nationwide could change your discount when renewing if you add a new car or driver to your policy.

Nationwide SmartRide reviews are mostly favorable among iPhone and Android users.

Apple

Google Play

4.5/5 stars

4.3/5 stars

The mobile app is unavailable to drivers in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York and Puerto Rico.

SmartRide Device

An alternative to the SmartRide mobile app is installing a plug-in device that attaches to your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) system. If you choose the plug-in program, Nationwide will mail you the device. You can then plug this device into your vehicle’s OBD port, which is typically located on the lower left of your driving console from the steering wheel.

Each vehicle enrolled in the SmartRide program will receive its own plug-in device. Be sure to match the correct device to its assigned vehicle.

There are two notable differences between the plug-in device and the mobile app.

  • The SmartRide plug-in device follows the car, not the driver, which means you cannot collect driving data when you’re driving a friend’s car.
  • Drivers enrolled in the plug-in device program cannot view their progress via mobile app. This information is still available by logging into their online member portal.

Some may consider the plug-in device less invasive than the mobile app. The plug-in device will only follow your car’s movements, while the mobile app follows you around in your pocket and can even observe phone use while you are driving.

Is SmartRide Worth It?

The SmartRide program is worthwhile for Nationwide customers who want to save up to 40% on car insurance. Moreover, Nationwide applies a 10% discount just by signing up. Other than privacy concerns, there is zero risk to signing up because poor driving habits will not increase your insurance premium. Driving recklessly will only lower the discount received (while endangering other people on the road).

Nationwide SmartRide may be less suitable for drivers wary about being tracked. By enrolling in the SmartRide program, you are agreeing to relinquish data about how much you drive and how safely (or recklessly) you drive. SmartRide can even detect when you’re using your phone. Drivers should note that maintaining a clean driving record can still earn you the lowest premiums available, even if you do not enroll in a telematics program.

See How Much You Can Save on Car Insurance

What Does Nationwide SmartRide Track?

The SmartRide program monitors several components when calculating your discount. These factors include:

  • Miles driven: The more you drive, the higher the likelihood that you may crash your vehicle. Driving fewer miles means safer travel and bigger discounts.
  • Hard braking: Every time you slam on the brakes, you increase the likelihood of getting rear-ended. Braking abruptly excessively can result in a lower discount.
  • Fast acceleration: Driving at high speeds can increase the likelihood and severity of a collision. Slowing down and obeying the speed limit can help you secure a better discount.
  • Nighttime driving: Nationwide specifically names those who drive between midnight and 5 a.m. as being a higher risk. Those who work late shifts should still consider enrolling because nighttime driving is just one among many factors being tracked. You can still perform well in other categories to earn a favorable discount.
  • Idle time: Idle time typically signals you’re sitting in traffic, which is another predictor of collisions. Try driving when traffic is minimal to improve your discount.

Who is Nationwide SmartRide Best For?

SmartFinancial recommends the SmartRide app for all Nationwide customers — at least, for drivers who aren’t concerned about having their driving data and location tracked. While the telematics discount can result in considerable savings, some drivers may have concerns about privacy. Let’s explore some benefits and drawbacks of using SmartRide.

Pros

Cons

Enrolling is free and simple

Discount applied at renewal instead of immediately

Poor driving habits will not increase your policy premium

Vehicles older than 1996 are not eligible

Potentially save up to 40% on car insurance

Tracking driving data can be invasive

Earn a 10% discount just by signing up

Mobile app not available to drivers in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York and Puerto Rico. 

Nationwide SmartRide vs. Other Telematics Programs

For those who don’t have Nationwide, there are other telematics options. Below is a table showing the differences between SmartRide and other similar programs from other providers.

Telematics Program

Discount

Can Bad Driving Increase Your Premium?

Nationwide SmartRide

40%

No

Allstate Drivewise

Drivers have reported discounts of up to 40%

N/A

Liberty Mutual RightTrack

30%

Your premium may be adjusted based on driving behavior

State Farm Drive Safe & Save

30% or higher

The discount may be adjusted based on driving behavior

USAA SafePilot

Up to 30%

No

FAQs

Does Nationwide SmartRide track your location?

Nationwide SmartRide program will use GPS to track your driving habits, which includes your location and mileage.

How long does the Nationwide SmartRide program last?

The Nationwide SmartRide discount will last for as long as you have your Nationwide policy.

What happens if you unplug SmartRide?

Unplugging your SmartRide device means Nationwide cannot track your driving habits and can void any potential discount you earn from the telematics program. Contact Nationwide if your SmartRide device is unplugged or not functioning properly.

Is SmartRide the only telematics program?

Nationwide also offers SmartMiles, a pay-per-mile telematics plan that calculates your policy premium based on how many miles you drive. An auto insurance policy that uses SmartMile stands to spend only $95 compared to $133 for a traditional policy.

Should I use the SmartRide app or the plug-in device?

The mobile app is ideal for people with multiple cars and who want to conveniently track their progress on their smartphone. The plug-in device may be more suitable for single-car policies and for drivers who don’t mind viewing their progress via internet browser and online portal.

Key Takeaways

  • Nationwide SmartRide is a telematics program that tracks your driving habits and applies a discount to your policy premium based on how safely you drive.
  • The SmartRide program is ideal for all Nationwide customers who want to potentially save up to 40% on their car insurance policy.
  • Nationwide uses a mobile app or plug-in device that tracks your driving habits, including mileage, braking events, acceleration events and idle time.
  • SmartRide will not negatively impact your premium regardless of how you drive.

SmartFinancial can help you find the best and most affordable auto coverage. Enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to receive your free auto insurance quotes.

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