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

If you're in the market for a new auto insurance policy, you might be wondering how Shelter and Nationwide compare when it comes to the most affordable prices and biggest discounts. To find out which of these companies is the best fit for you and your wallet, check out our newest guide below.
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Quick Facts

  • Looking at the national averages for car insurance, Nationwide offers more affordable rates than Shelter
  • Nationwide offers more affordable premiums for policyholders whose driving record contains an at-fault collision
  • Shelter has less expensive prices in AR, KS, KY, MO, MS, NE, and OK

Nationwide or Shelter: Which Company has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

Are you in the market for a new insurance policy? After all, you've seen ads from all sorts of companies offering huge savings. But exactly how much can you save by switching?

You might have narrowed it down to Nationwide or Shelter as your top options, but which one has cheaper premiums for auto insurance?

Nationwide Shelter

Looking at the national average rates for both carriers, Shelter has average rates that are around 18% a month more expensive than those from Nationwide.

Even so, that doesn't necessarily mean Nationwide will be the less expensive option for every single driver. Car insurance companies use all sorts of complex algorithms to determine rates, so depending on how clean your driving record is or where you live (among a lot of other factors), you could see wildly different premiums from the ones above.

Wanting to know if Nationwide or Shelter is really the right carrier for you? Keep on reading to see how average prices can change based on all of the factors we've mentioned above.

Nationwide vs. Shelter: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Nationwide Shelter

Nationwide and Shelter compete against each other in six states, with Shelter offering more affordable rates to the average driver in all of them. If you live in Arkansas or Missouri, Shelter is the cheaper of the two carriers when looking at the overall average premiums. Nationwide is the more affordable option in Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Nebraska.

That being said, there's a lot more that goes into your insurance cost than just where you live. Keep reading to learn more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Nationwide Shelter
18-year-old drivers$380$444
25-year-old drivers$148$197

You might already know that teen drivers generally pay a lot more for auto insurance than any other group of drivers out there on the road. Usually, that's because teen drivers are statistically much more likely to get into accidents since they have less experience on the roads.

That being said, that doesn't mean that teen drivers have to just accept sky-high car insurance prices. For example, 18-year-old drivers pay an average of almost 15% less per month by choosing Nationwide over Shelter.

However, both companies will drop rates by the time drivers turn 25. For example, average prices for Nationwide policyholders lower over 60% and Shelter's premiums reduce more than 55% over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Nationwide Shelter
65+-year-old drivers$125$141

Once you approach retirement age, you'll normally enjoy the lowest insurance rates you'll ever see. You've been on the road for years, and all that experience pays off when it comes to your monthly premiums for auto insurance.

But who has the best rates for retired drivers between Nationwide and Shelter? Nationwide gets the edge, with prices for drivers 65 and older over 10% cheaper than the national average for Shelter.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Nationwide Shelter

You may not be aware, but car insurance premiums tend to be less expensive for married couples than they are for those who are single. That's typically because married drivers tend to own and insure more than one vehicle, which can often earn you a discount.

For single policyholders, the difference in average rates between these two carriers is significant, with Nationwide prices coming in at about 20% less than Shelter's. For married policyholders, the advantage is clear again - Nationwide has the edge when it comes to average premiums.

Nationwide or Shelter: Average Rates by Gender

Nationwide Shelter

Men are statistically more likely than women to get into collisions and file an insurance claim. That means when it comes to insurance men will generally end up paying a little more.

Generally, women see rates around $10 a month more affordable with Nationwide, and about $25 with Shelter.

Looking at the data for each company specifically, Nationwide offers the cheapest average prices for both men and women. On average, male drivers save about $45 per month and women save around $32 with Nationwide compared to the average Shelter policyholder.

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Nationwide vs. Shelter: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

Nationwide Shelter
State Minimum*$112$129
Full Coverage**$229$288

*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.

Auto insurance isn't the easiest topic to understand. There are so many different terms and coverages that it can make it pretty confusing to find the right policy for you.

But most policies end up falling into two different types of coverage -- liability coverage (which provides bodily injury and property damage coverage for other drivers and their passengers if you cause a collision) and full coverage (which includes two additional coverages -- collision and comprehensive -- in addition to what you get with liability).

Looking specifically at state minimum liability insurance, Nationwide has the edge, with average monthly premiums coming in at $112. If you want a full coverage policy with the same state minimum limits, Nationwide again has the edge, with policies averaging about $229 a month to Shelter's $288.

Is Nationwide or Shelter Better for Drivers with Spotty Records?

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

It's no secret secret that speeding tickets and accidents lead to higher rates, but which carrier -- Nationwide or Shelter -- has the most affordable prices for drivers with less-than-perfect records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Nationwide Shelter
Clean Record$125$142
1 Speeding Ticket$149$181

Policyholders who use Nationwide for their car insurance can typically expect their monthly bill to go up around 16% after getting a speeding ticket. Shelter policyholders can expect a bit more drastic of an increase of about 22%.

Even so, Nationwide tends to offer the best prices for drivers both with clean records and with a ticket, offering premiums that are $17 and $32 cheaper, respectively, compared to Shelter Insurance.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Nationwide Shelter
Clean Record$125$142
1 At-Fault Accident$178$234

After an accident, drivers who have their insurance through Nationwide can expect to see around an $53 -- or about 30% -- rise in their auto insurance rates. Drivers who use Shelter for their car insurance will see a monthly bill around $92 (or 39%) more expensive after reporting an accident to their auto insurance company.

At the end of the day, Nationwide offers the cheapest premiums for drivers with an at-fault accident on their records, with average prices coming in at $178 compared to Shelter Insurance's $234.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Nationwide Shelter
Clean Record$125$142
1 DUI$230$277

On average, a DUI offense is going to cost you much more than a single collision or speeding ticket when it comes to your insurance bill. On average, Shelter will raise your rates about 49% after a DUI, while Nationwide's average prices climb by more than 45%.

But if you end up with a DUI charge and are looking for more affordable premiums, Nationwide tends to be less expensive for the average driver, with monthly premiums coming in at around $230 to Shelter's $277.

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How does Credit Score Impact Nationwide and Shelter Rates?

In many cases, your credit score can be used as one of the variables to calculate your monthly car insurance rates. This isn't true for everyone (California, for example, has banned the use of credit score as an auto insurance factor) but it does affect quite a few drivers out there.

Insurance carriers argue that those with poor credit scores are less likely to pay their bills on time every month, which raises the risk involved on their end, while the opposite is true for those with good credit.

Looking at Nationwide and Shelter specifically, which company has the best prices for policyholders at different credit levels?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Nationwide Shelter
Excellent Credit Score$133$164
Good Credit Score$153$187

If you have solid credit, Nationwide will normally reward you the most. For drivers with "excellent" credit scores, Nationwide comes in nearly 18.9 more affordable. Drivers with "good" credit scores usually save about 18% with Nationwide compared to average rates from Shelter.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Nationwide Shelter
Fair Credit Score$179$221
Poor Credit Score$215$261

Nationwide typically offers lower premiums than Shelter when it comes to drivers with bad credit. Drivers with "fair" credit pay around 19% per month less with Nationwide compared to Shelter, and those with "poor" scores generally save an average of about 18% monthly.

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

Nationwide Shelter
6,000 Annual Miles$170$203
12,000 Annual Miles$171$214

The amount of time you spend behind the wheel of your car plays a big role in how much auto insurance companies will charge for coverage. Normally, the more milage you put on your car each year, the more you can expect to pay for coverage.

For both remote workers and those taking short commutes, Nationwide tends to be the cheaper option. Nationwide's average prices for drivers with 6,000 annual miles come in over 15% less expensive than Shelter. Those who drive 12,000 miles yearly can expect to pay more than 20% less with Nationwide over Shelter.

Nationwide or Shelter: Compare Rates for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Drivers

Where you park your vehicle can play a considerable role in how much you pay for car insurance. Usually, those who live in rural areas will pay less than policyholders in urban areas because of the small number of cars that are on the roads where they live.

Nationwide Shelter
Urban Areas$199$235
Suburban Areas$159$187
Rural Areas$151$203

Nationwide boasts the most affordable average rates for drivers in all types of areas, no matter if they're urban, suburban, or rural.

Those in rural areas can expect to pay around $151 per month with Nationwide compared to Shelter's $203. People in suburban areas pay a monthly price of about $159 with Nationwide compared to $187 with Shelter. For drivers in urban ZIP codes, Nationwide's average premiums are around $199 while Shelter offers prices about $235.

Nationwide vs. Shelter Discounts

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

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.

Luckily, we did the hard work for you and broke down all of the different discounts offered by both Nationwide and Shelter so that you can see which carrier offers the most discounts and see which ones you might be able to take advantage of.

Nationwide Shelter
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-Car Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount
New Vehicle Discount 
Paid In Full Discount 
Paperless Discount 
Passive Restraint Discount

Nationwide knocks Shelter out of the park when it comes to the sheer number of discounts available, offering 22 different discounts to Shelter's 10.

Both carriers offer quite a few of the same discounts -- like discounts for being a defensive driver, discounts for getting driver training, and multi-policy discounts -- but Nationwide also offers discounts for agency transfer, distant student, EFT, and more.

On the other hand, Shelter has a few proprietary discounts of their own like multi-car discounts and paid in full discounts.

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Final Thoughts: Is Nationwide or Shelter Best for You?

So, we've broken down the average rates for many of the factors car insurance companies look at, and we've shown you all the discounts each carrier offers. But, at the end of the day, is Nationwide or Shelter the right one for you and your specific needs?

Nationwide might be best for you if....

  • You've been pulled over for speeding recently.
  • You're looking for the best premiums on liability only coverage.
  • You're of retirement age and want to take advantage of lower prices.

Shelter might be best for you if...

  • You live in one of the following states: Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

Hopefully, this guide helps you get a good idea of the differences between Nationwide and Shelter. We also hope we've given you the information you need to make the best decision about your auto 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 multiple carriers, not just Nationwide and Shelter. Luckily, makes it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your ZIP code below and get multiple quotes from some of the best auto insurance companies in your area, all for free.

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Nationwide vs. Shelter FAQs

Is Nationwide or Shelter cheaper?

Nationwide is the more affordable of the two carriers when looking at national average rates, with policies averaging $170 a month with Nationwide and $208 for Shelter. However, that doesn't mean Nationwide will be the lowest company for each driver, since there are many different variables that come into play when it comes to your car insurance payment.

Who is better, Nationwide or Shelter?

Unfortunately, the only answer we can give you is "it depends.". Neither carrier is "better" for every policyholder -- it all depends on what your unique auto insurance profile looks like.

Why do Nationwide and Shelter offer me different rates?

Insurance companies use a lot of different factors when determining the prices they charge. Things like your driving record, where your home is, gender, age, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all be used. Both Nationwide and Shelter use different formulas, so it's likely they'll offer different premiums. The best way to determine which company is the cheapest for you is by comparing personalized quotes from multiple different carriers.

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

The only way to find the car insurance carrier that's right for you is by getting quotes from a handful of companies and finding the one best suited for your individual budget. Luckily, sites like make it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your area information and you'll get quotes from dozens of your local top auto insurance carriers for free. That way, you can guarantee you're getting the best premium. And maybe you'll find that the best company for you isn't Nationwide or Shelter at all, but another you hadn't even thought of!


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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