Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Aug 14, 2019

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Both Nationwide and Progressive auto insurance have launched major television and internet advertising campaigns, courting the clients who may be dissatisfied with their current providers and rates.

According to these ads, Nationwide is “on your side,” focusing on a good customer relationship, while Progressive offers you a variety of choices for your insurance needs, including “name your own price.”

Which company is actually the better choice for you?

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Nationwide Insurance

Nationwide is a large group of associated insurance and financial companies based in Columbus, Ohio. The company has major offices in several states. Beginning in 1926 with 1000 policyholders, the company started life as the Farm Bureau Mutual Auto Insurance Company.

With time, the company grew to offer fire and homeowner’s insurance, operating in twelve states by 1943. In 1955, the name was changed to Nationwide.

Nationwide now operates in all fifty states, and holds various financial companies, making its net worth over $21 billion. The company offers life, home, property, and other forms of personal insurance, as well as strategic financial planning and investment.

Read a full Nationwide Auto Insurance Review

Progressive Auto Insurance

While not as large as some of its competitors, Progressive focuses primarily on personal insurance, making it one of the largest auto insurance providers in the country, with over 10 million policies issued.

Progressive was founded in 1937 in Mayfield Village, Ohio, by an enterprising pair of brothers, and remained a family-owned business for some years. With 24,638 employees, it is one of the largest insurance employers in the country.

Read a full Progressive Auto Insurance Review

Customer Ratings for Nationwide and Progressive

When it comes to customer service, Progressive outperforms Nationwide in almost every category, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 ratings. J.D. Powers looks at several categories of customer satisfaction, including how well the agents responded to claims.

While Nationwide scored average in only three categories, with an overall rating of below average, Progressive was rated average in all categories. Neither of these represents stellar performances, however.

On the 1000-point customer satisfaction index used by J.D. Power, Progressive scored 785, which translates to 13th place overall, while Nationwide scored only 767, leaving it in 22nd place among the companies ranked.

It is clear that neither company’s customers rate it highly in customer service. Many smaller companies outperformed both of these giants by several index points.

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Who has better auto insurance rates – Nationwide or Progressive?

Many people are willing to sacrifice a certain amount of customer service for low rates, especially those who are comfortable with internet or phone interactions rather than talking to a personal agent. However, when comparing rates of Nationwide and Progressive, the savings are not always significant.

A true rate comparison can only be performed by getting a quote from each company for your car; however, a general picture can be gathered by taking some averages for the two companies.

In California, Nationwide was consistently higher than Progressive, often by several hundred dollars. A married couple averaged $2,071 in premiums with Nationwide; Progressive charged the same couple $1,154. A single young male paid $1,647 with Nationwide; with Progressive, his rate was $1,318.

New York’s prices were even more disparate. A married couple averaged $2,156 with Nationwide, but only $931 with Progressive, while a young male paid $4,406 for Nationwide coverage, but only $3,106 with Progressive.

However, in Texas, the trend was reversed. Young males paid only $1,231 there with Nationwide, compared to Progressive’s $2,256, while young females paid $1,040 for Nationwide and $1,706 for Progressive.

Clearly, location is a large determinant of price, so you need to compare auto insurance quotes from both providers before choosing a car insurance company.

Which auto insurance company is better – Progressive or Nationwide?

The decision to give your business to a particular insurance company should be based on careful research and comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of each company.

While Progressive scored much higher on customer satisfaction surveys, a Nationwide agent may give you better service if you have a local one in your area.

Progressive has relied heavily on internet and telephone interactions to meet customer needs, and for some people that is not enough when they have questions or concerns.

The best way to know which agency is right for you is to talk to agents from each company and determine which seems to best fit your requirements.

As for the cost of car insurance, the fluctuation is so great among these auto insurance companies. There are so many factors which determine your rate including driving record, age, and type of vehicle.

The only sure way to know how the two companies compare in terms of cost is to request personalized auto insurance quotes. Depending on your location and driving record, either could quote you a price significantly lower than the other.

Compare Auto Insurance Quotes Online with our FREE tool now!

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