First Chicago vs. Nationwide: Which Company is the Best Fit for You?

So, you're in the market for a new auto insurance policy. You may have even narrowed down your search to First Chicago and Nationwide. But which of these two companies is the best one for you? Read on to find which company has the best prices and biggest discounts.
Newly insured car driving down the road
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Quick Facts

  • Looking at the national averages for car insurance, First Chicago offers slightly cheaper rates than Nationwide
  • First Chicago offers more affordable average premiums for residents of rural areas
  • Nationwide offers more discounts than First Chicago Insurance

First Chicago vs. Nationwide: Which Company has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

So, you're considering switching your auto insurance. You've probably seen commercials and billboards from companies offering big discounts, but exactly how much money can you save by switching?

You've maybe even narrowed your search down to First Chicago or Nationwide as your top options, but between the two, which carrier has less expensive rates for insurance?

First Chicago Nationwide

As you can see, First Chicago is about $14 per month cheaper than Nationwide when looking at the national average rates for auto insurance.

Even so, First Chicago may not be the lowest or best option for each driver out there. Car insurance companies use all sorts of complex algorithms to calculate prices, so depending on how old you are or how good your credit score is (among a whole bunch of other factors), you could see wildly different premiums from the ones above.

Luckily, we've broken down average rates from both First Chicago and Nationwide by several different rate factors, so read on to find out which carrier is the best for you.

First Chicago or Nationwide: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State First Chicago Nationwide

First Chicago and Nationwide only compete against each other in Illinois, where First Chicago offers the cheaper average premiums. For Illinois residents, undefined offers insurance for undefined a month on average. undefined's average prices come out to be more expensive, at undefined monthly.

But there's more to car insurance than just the state you live in. As we mentioned above, there's a lot of things that go into how auto insurance carriers determine your premiums. Keep reading to find out more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

First Chicago Nationwide
18-year-old drivers$349$380
25-year-old drivers$141$148

Young drivers -- especially teens -- generally pay a lot for insurance compared to older drivers. It's usually because young, inexperienced drivers are statistically much more likely to cause collisions and other accidents that will result in an insurance claim.

That being said, that doesn't mean teen drivers can't still save money on their car insurance. As you can see above, teens who use First Chicago save more than $30 a month compared to those who use Nationwide.

But both companies will drop rates once you turn 25. For example, average prices for First Chicago policyholders decrease over $200 and Nationwide's premiums reduce nearly $250 over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

First Chicago Nationwide
65+-year-old drivers$114$125

When it comes to insurance, patience and experience pay off, with drivers around retirement age paying some of the cheapest rates out there.

So, which company offers the best prices to retired drivers? First Chicago gets the slight edge here, with average rates coming in at around $114 per month compared to Nationwide's $125.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

First Chicago Nationwide

You may not be aware, but auto insurance premiums tend to be less expensive for married couples than they are for those who are single. That's because policies for married policyholders typically cover multiple cars, which many carriers will offer you a discount for.

If you're in the market for insurance, First Chicago tends to have the most affordable average prices regardless of if you're married or single, with prices about 7% more affordable for married drivers and almost 10% less expensive for single drivers.

First Chicago vs. Nationwide: Average Rates by Gender

First Chicago Nationwide

Women normally to pay less for auto insurance than men. This is because men are more likely to get speeding tickets and get into accidents, which increases the chances of an insurance claim.

Men typically pay around $10 per month more than women with First Chicago, while with Nationwide, the difference is closer to $12 a month.

Looking at the data for each carrier specifically, First Chicago offers the cheapest average rates for both men and women. On average, women save about $14 per month and men save about $14 with First Chicago compared to the average Nationwide policyholder.

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First Chicago or Nationwide: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

First Chicago Nationwide
State Minimum*$73$112
Full Coverage**$240$229

*State minimum value indicates liability-only policies at each state's minimum bodily injury and property damage (BI/PD) limits

**Full coverage indicates state minimum BI/PD limits with collision and comprehensive coverages added to policy.

For most people, car insurance can be pretty complicated. There are so many different coverages and terms that it can make it pretty confusing to find the right policy.

However, the most common policies that many drivers look at fall into two categories -- liability only (which covers the other party's injuries and property damage if you cause an accident) and full coverage (which generally refers to having comprehensive and collision coverages alongside liability).

In this case, First Chicago offers the lowest average prices for state minimum limits for liability insurance, while Nationwide has the edge for full coverage policies with similar coverage limits. Drivers looking for basic state minimum coverage can save around $40 with First Chicago Insurance, while full coverage comes out to be around $10 more affordable with Nationwide.

Is First Chicago or Nationwide Better for Drivers with Spotty Records?

You've probably seen plenty of commercials from auto insurance companies offering great premiums for good drivers, but that doesn't mean people with less-than-perfect driving records can't save money, too.

Accidents and tickets will most likely raise your prices, but is First Chicago or Nationwide cheaper for drivers with spotty records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

First Chicago Nationwide
Clean Record$109$125
1 Speeding Ticket$144$149

First Chicago policyholders can expect their premiums to go up an average of $35 a month if they get a ticket, while Nationwide usually raises rates about $24 per month, on average.

That being said, First Chicago is normally the more affordable option for drivers both with clean records and with a speeding ticket. Drivers with a clean record can save around $16 a month and drivers with a ticket can save about $5 per month with First Chicago Insurance.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

First Chicago Nationwide
Clean Record$109$125
1 At-Fault Accident$146$178

First Chicago policyholders who get in a collision can expect to see their premiums climb by over 25%, while those who have insurance through Nationwide will see around a 30% increase.

Overall, the less expensive prices come from First Chicago, with monthly rates averaging $146 compared to Nationwide's $178.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

First Chicago Nationwide
Clean Record$109$125
1 DUI$225$230

On average, a DUI offense is going to cost you much more than a single accident or speeding ticket when it comes to your insurance bill. For example, First Chicago increases average premiums by over $100 a month -- that's over a 50% increase.

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How does Credit Score Impact First Chicago and Nationwide Rates?

Often times, your credit score can be used as one of the factors to calculate your monthly car insurance prices. Certain states and carriers do not allow for credit score to be used as a rating factor, but it might come into play for several drivers.

Auto insurance companies argue that someone with bad credit is less likely to pay their bills on time, which makes them riskier to insure. Because of that, policyholders with bad credit will often be forced to pay more.

Looking at First Chicago and Nationwide specifically, which one has the best rates for drivers at different credit levels?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

First Chicago Nationwide
Excellent Credit Score$132$133
Good Credit Score$139$153

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

First Chicago Nationwide
Fair Credit Score$155$179
Poor Credit Score$199$215

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Is First Chicago or Nationwide Better for Drivers who Work from Home or Have Short Commutes?

First Chicago Nationwide
6,000 Annual Miles$156$170
12,000 Annual Miles$156$171

How much you drive can have a considerable impact on how much insurance carriers will charge for coverage. Typically, those who drive fewer miles will end up with cheaper prices since there's less of a chance of getting into an accident and causing an insurance claim.

As you can see in the table above, annual mileage doesn't have much of an impact on how much First Chicago charges. However, there's a small difference in monthly rates for Nationwide, with policyholders who drive 6,000 miles each year paying about $1 less every month compared to those who drive 12,000 miles yearly. Still, First Chicago is the more affordable option for drivers in both categories.

First Chicago vs. Nationwide: Compare Rates for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Drivers

Where you park your vehicle can play a substantial role in how much you pay for car insurance. Generally, policyholders who live in less densely populated rural areas will pay quite a bit less than urban drivers because of the small number of cars that are on the roads in those areas.

First Chicago Nationwide
Urban Areas$196$199
Suburban Areas$128$159
Rural Areas$145$151

When comparing these two companies side-by-side, First Chicago normally comes out as the most affordable option for drivers in every type of area, no matter if it's urban, suburban, or rural.

In urban areas, First Chicago Insurance's average premiums are around 2% less than Nationwide. Drivers in suburban ZIP codes pay about 19% less with First Chicago compared to Nationwide. If you live in a rural area, you can expect to save around 4% with First Chicago compared to Nationwide.

First Chicago vs. Nationwide Discounts

You want to save as much money as possible, right? The best way to do that is by taking advantage of as many insurance discounts as you can.

The difficult part is finding all of the discounts you qualify for, since it can feel sometimes like every company has different discounts and each one is advertised differently.

In the section below, we've broken down all of the different discounts offered by both First Chicago and Nationwide so that you can find the carrier that has the most discounts and, therefore, the biggest savings.

First Chicago Nationwide
ABS Discount 
Advance Quote Discount
Agency Transfer Discount 
Anti-Theft Discount
Defensive Driver Discount
Distant Student Discount 
Driver Training Discount
EFT Discount 
Employee Discount 
Good Driving Discount 
Good Student Discount
Group Discount 
Homeowner Discount 
Intra-Agency Transfer Discount 
Life Policy Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount
New Vehicle Discount 
Paperless Discount 
Passive Restraint Discount
Preferred Customer Discount 

Nationwide blows First Chicago away when it comes to the sheer amount of discounts available, offering 13 more discounts than First Chicago.

Both carriers offer lots of the same discounts -- like anti-theft discounts, discounts for getting driver training, and discounts for being a good student -- but Nationwide also offers agency transfer discounts, distant student discounts, EFT discounts, and more that First Chicago does not.

On the flip side, First Chicago has a couple unique discounts of its own -- ABS discounts and renewal discounts.

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Final Thoughts: Is First Chicago or Nationwide Best for You?

So, we've broken down the average rates for many of the variables car insurance companies look at, and walked through the different discounts each carrier offers, too. But, at the end of the day, is First Chicago or Nationwide the best company for you and your specific profile and needs?

First Chicago might be best for you if....

  • You don't have any speeding tickets, DUIs, or at-fault collisions on your record.
  • You have below-average credit.
  • You don't spend much time in your car.

Nationwide might be best for you if...

  • You're thinking about moving to another state -- undefined is only available in.
  • You care about discounts (Nationwide offers the most).
  • You're looking for more protection with "full coverage" auto insurance.

We hope this guide helps you get a good idea of the differences between First Chicago and Nationwide and that it aids in making a more informed decision about your car insurance.

At the end of the day, the sure-fire way to make sure you're getting the best deal on your insurance policy is to compare quotes from a handful of carriers, not just First Chicago and Nationwide. Luckily, sites like make it easy for you to do just that. Simply enter your ZIP code below and get free quotes from dozens of the top auto insurance companies in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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First Chicago vs. Nationwide FAQs

Is First Chicago or Nationwide cheaper?

Looking just at the national average prices, First Chicago is the less expensive of the two carriers, offering average rates of $156 per month compared to $170 for Nationwide. But First Chicago won't necessarily be the cheapest company for everyone, since there are multiple different factors (things like gender, age, driving record, etc.) that play a role in how much you pay.

Who is better, First Chicago or Nationwide?

Sadly, the only answer we can give you is "it depends.". One carrier is not "better" for each driver -- it all comes down to what your unique car insurance profile looks like.

Why do First Chicago and Nationwide offer me different rates?

Auto insurance companies take a look at quite a few different variables when calculating the premiums they charge policyholders. Factors such as gender, where your home is, your driving record, age, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all be taken into consideration. Both First Chicago and Nationwide use different formulas, so each one will most likely offer different rates. The only real way to see which company is the most affordable for you is by comparing personalized quotes from a variety of different carriers.

How do I know if First Chicago or Nationwide is right for me?

The only way to find the insurance carrier that's right for you is by getting quotes from multiple companies and finding the one best suited for your individual budget. Luckily, does all the hard work for you. Just enter your area information and you'll get free quotes from dozens of the best auto insurance carriers in your area. That way, you can guarantee you're getting the best premium. And who knows, the best company for you might not be First Chicago or Nationwide at all!


All of the data referenced in this article has been gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. We analyzed more than 2.5 million rows of carrier-reported data to calculate the average rates referenced above. All rates are based on an insurance profile of a single-vehicle policy for a driver that owns a 2016 Honda Accord. For more information on how we calculate rates, please reference our data methodology.

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