Is the Nationwide SmartRide App Worth It?

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The Nationwide SmartRide app is a telematics program that tracks your driving behaviors and could potentially earn you a discount on your car insurance. It might be worth a try if you are already a Nationwide policyholder.
Unlike some telematics apps, the SmartRide program won’t increase your premiums if you don’t score well. There is no guarantee that you’ll get a discount on your car insurance rates, but you won’t lose money, either.
If you’re thinking about getting the Nationwide SmartRide app, you’re in the right place. Car insurance comparison app Jerry has put together everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Pros and cons of Nationwide SmartRide

Limited 6-month monitoring period and 10% participation discountComplaints that the devices are oversensitive
User friendly and easy to set upNot ideal for city or nighttime drivers
Generous discount potential (and the program won’t increase your premiums)Lower user-experience ranks than other telematics apps
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What is the Nationwide SmartRide program?

Nationwide SmartRide is an optional, usage-based (or telematics) insurance program that monitors your driving in exchange for potential insurance discounts.
If you sign up, SmartRide will track your driving habits for six months and calculate your insurance discount based on your safe driving habits. You can choose between a mobile app, an in-car system, or a plug-in device to monitor your driving.
Nationwide will not increase your insurance rates after you sign up for the program, so it could be a good pick if you aren’t sure whether you’ll qualify for a discount. Many popular telematics programs will continually track your driving, but not the SmartRide program. You can rest assured that you will only be monitored for six months before the program ends.
Take note that the SmartRide program might work slightly differently depending on the state you live in, and the discount cap can vary, too. New York residents, for example, only have access to the device-based version of the program and the discount tops out at 25%. The same goes for California, where the maximum discount is 15%.
SmartRide is only available to Nationwide customers, so you might have to switch your policy if you want to sign up.
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Key Takeaway Nationwide SmartRide tracks your driving for six months and rewards safe driving habits with discounted premiums.

The Nationwide SmartRide app

The SmartRide app monitors your driving habits through your phone and rewards insurance discounts accordingly. Nationwide guarantees a 10% discount just for signing up. After that, you can get up to 40% off of your policy renewal if you maintain safe driving practices during the monitoring period.
After the monitoring period ends and you receive your discount, you can uninstall and delete the app.
Nationwide lets you choose how you want to be monitored. Once you call an agent to get started, the app option is simple and easy to set up. You will have to download the SmartRide app and make sure that location services are turned on at all times.
You can use the app to track your discount, monitor your feedback, and confirm your trips. The SmartRide app will also keep you updated on how much time is left until the program ends.

Does SmartRide follow the car or the driver?

As a device option, the app follows the driver and not the car. This means that you’ll need to keep your phone on you while driving and make sure all other cars and drivers on your policy are also signed up.
Since the SmartRide app follows the driver, there is potential for error when calculating trips. As long as you use the app to verify your trips, you shouldn’t have any issues. If SmartRide mistakes a passenger for a driver or logs a trip where you weren’t driving, you can delete mistaken trips by selecting "not my trip".
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Nationwide SmartRide reviews

The Nationwide SmartWide app scores lower than other usage-based apps in terms of user experience—but the reviews are still reasonably positive.
Apple users give SmartRide 3.5/5 stars, while Android users give it 3.4/5 stars. Some commonly-cited complaints include difficulty downloading the app and frequently confusing drivers and passengers.
Key Takeaway The Nationwide SmartRide app is an easy way to monitor your driving habits to get discounts on insurance. Since it follows the driver, you’ll need to confirm that you were, in fact, driving on the logged trips.

What is a SmartRide device?

If you prefer, you can opt for the Nationwide Smart-Ride plug-in program instead of the app to monitor your driving. Unlike the app, the device follows the car, not the driver.
When you sign up for the program, Nationwide will send you a device for each car on the policy. You simply plug it into your car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) port to get started.
The upshot is that the device eliminates any potential for the passenger/driver mix-up problem that app users frequently complain about. It’s also ideal for anyone concerned about data privacy, since the device only follows the car and not all your daily movements.
The major downside to using the device is that you will not be able to use the mobile app to track your progress. You’ll have to access the Nationwide SmartRide homepage and sign in to your account to monitor your trips, access your feedback, and track your discount.
Key Takeaway Nationwide’s plug-in device eliminates the potential for driver/passenger mixups, but your progress, trips, and discounts can only be tracked by logging in online.

The pre-qualified connected car program

If you’re willing to allow the manufacturer to gather data, SmartRide can automatically track some makes and models without installing a device. The car must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
  • 2015 or later
  • Include an in-vehicle communication device (DCM) feature
  • Be an Acura, GM, Genesis, Honda, or Hyundai
If you drive one of the eligible models, you can simplify the process by asking Nationwide if you qualify for the SmartRide discount when you sign up. They can access your vehicle data and estimate your performance discount on the spot—and you can continue to enjoy the discount as long as you renew with Nationwide.
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As a licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding the cheapest quotes from name-brand insurance companies and finalizing your new car insurance. Jerry will even cancel your old policy and send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal—so you’re always getting the best rate for the coverage you want.

What does Nationwide SmartRide track?

The SmartRide program calculates your driving score after monitoring the following factors:
Acceleration and braking
The SmartWide program tracks your speed so that it can detect when you accelerate quickly or brake hard.
Your mileage
The more you drive, the higher your risk of having an accident. SmartRide takes this into account when calculating your discount.
Idle time and nighttime driving
Driving during higher-risk times could negatively affect your discount. If you spend a lot of time idling with the car running, SmartRide might assume that you’re driving in heavy traffic and deduct your score. The same goes for nighttime driving, when accidents are more likely to happen.

Is Nationwide SmartRide worth it?

If you’re already a Nationwide policyholder and don’t mind having your habits tracked, there’s nothing to lose by trying the program.
SmartRide does offer a pretty substantial maximum discount—up to 40%—but there is no guarantee that you will save on your car insurance premium. And while there’s an automatic 10% sign-up discount, Nationwide could lift the savings after your monitoring period is over.
Generally speaking, SmartRide is a good choice for anybody who tends to touch their phone while driving. In contrast to many telematics programs that track and penalize phone usage while driving, the SmartRide program doesn’t factor phone usage into your driving score.
That said, SmartRide may not be worth it if you frequently navigate heavy traffic or often drive at night. SmartRide will deduct from your discount just for driving in a potentially risky context—regardless of your driving performance. By contrast, other telematics apps might evaluate your driving more leniently in more challenging driving situations.
Key Takeaway SmartRide offers a pretty hefty maximum potential discount, but it may not be worth switching insurance providers for.

How to find the best insurance rates

The best way to find out if Nationwide and the SmartRide Program are worth a shot is to use an intelligent, AI-based tool like Jerry to compare your rates for free.
If you can get a reasonable rate with Nationwide, it could be worth the switch to give SmartRide a try. If you’re an existing Nationwide customer, you can use Jerry to find the best rates before committing to a telematics program so that you can get the most out of your discount.
It’s this simple: download the Jerry app and answer a few simple questions. In less than 45 seconds, Jerry collects your information from your existing insurer and presents you with competitive quotes from up to 45 top insurance companies. Make your pick and let Jerry take care of the rest—securing your new policy and canceling your old one.
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Frequently asked questions

Does Nationwide SmartRide track your location?

The SmartRide app will track your location as long as you are enrolled—but only while you’re driving. If you prefer to keep your location private, the plug-in device might be a preferable option.

What happens if you unplug SmartRide?

If you leave SmartRide unplugged for more than 5% of the time, Nationwide will cancel your enrollment in the program. If this happens, you can either sign up again or simply return the device and move on. Nationwide won’t increase your policy rate if you quit the program.
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