Nationwide SmartMiles Review: How It Works & What You Should Know

Drivers who buy a Nationwide SmartMiles car insurance policy save an average of 25% over a traditional auto policy. We cover everything you need to know in our review.

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Nationwide Rating ?


  • Bad driving won’t increase your premium
  • Drivers save an average of 25%
  • Earn 10% more with safe driving


  • Premiums can vary month-to-month
  • May not be cheaper than traditional insurance
  • Not available in all states and not all vehicles are eligible

Bottom Line

Though the average driver can save around 25% compared to a standard car policy with Nationwide SmartMiles, it’s only a good fit for low-mileage drivers. SmartMiles tracks your mileage, charging you a base rate plus a rate for the miles you drive. This flexible monthly premium method may work for some, but it may not be the best option if you have a strict budget.

Nationwide offers pay-per-mile insurance through its SmartMiles program. It tracks your mileage through an eligible connected car or plug-in device, charging a flexible monthly rate depending on how many days and miles you drive per month. Safe drivers can also earn an additional discount of up to 10%.

Keep reading to learn about Nationwide SmartMiles and see if it’s a good fit for your lifestyle.

What Is Nationwide SmartMiles?

Nationwide introduced SmartMiles in 2019 as a way for its car insurance customers to have more control over their auto insurance expenses.

SmartMiles is a pay-per-mile insurance program that may help low-mileage drivers save on the cost of auto insurance. It can be a great option if you work from home, have a short commute, or use public transportation or carpool more often than you drive your vehicle.

Telematics programs like SmartMiles aim to provide savings in exchange for your data. Here’s how it works.

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How Does Nationwide SmartMiles Work?

family smiling in car

The Nationwide pay-per-mile insurance program tracks the number of miles you drive each month and charges you based on how much you drive. It does this through a small device you plug into your OBD-II port (on 1996 or newer vehicles) or the connected car feature if you have a 2018 or newer Ford or Lincoln. Some diesel and hybrid cars aren’t eligible.

Let’s dive deeper into pay-per-mile programs and how Nationwide’s SmartMiles calculates your monthly payment.

Pay-per-mile insurance explained

Pay-per-mile insurance is a usage-based program that charges a flat monthly base premium plus a variable rate based on how many miles you drive. Nationwide isn’t the only one in the auto insurance industry with a pay-per-mile program. Metromile, Mile Auto, and Allstate also offer this type of insurance program using telematics technology.

Program availability can vary, as can the cost per mile and actual savings. For example, Nationwide SmartMiles isn’t available in these states:

How does SmartMiles calculate your rates?

SmartMiles determines your monthly premium by multiplying your miles driven by the per-mile rate and adding it to your base rate. Nationwide also has a road trip exception that caps mileage charges at 250 miles per day. If you don’t make policy changes throughout the term, your per-mile rate won’t change.

This flexible monthly premium isn’t for everyone but can save low-mileage drivers money. Imagine you have a traditional Nationwide auto policy that costs $150 per month. Let’s say you switch to SmartMiles and get a base rate of $35 monthly. If you drive 500 miles at $0.20 per mile, that’s a monthly premium of $135 — saving you $15 on your insurance costs that month.

Nationwide SmartMiles vs. SmartRide

Person driving vehicle

SmartMiles and SmartRide are Nationwide’s usage-based insurance programs that use data collection to determine rates.

SmartMiles charges a variable premium based on miles driven using connected car technology or a plug-in device.

On the other hand, SmartRide is Nationwide’s safe-driving discount program that uses a smartphone app to track your driving and rewards you for practicing safe driving behaviors. Depending on your driving habits, you get an initial 10% participation discount and up to 40% applied to your next policy renewal.

Unlike SmartMiles, your monthly premium won’t fluctuate with SmartRide. The program is a good option if you live in a multi-car household or don’t drive often. SmartRide is ideal for cautious drivers who avoid hard braking, accelerating too fast, using the phone while driving, and driving late at night or during peak hours.

How Much Can You Save With Nationwide SmartMiles?

Although your savings can vary from month to month, the average driver saves around 25% compared to a traditional auto policy. You can also earn a SmartMiles discount for safe driving behavior.

Ultimately, how many miles and days you drive each month determines your monthly premium and whether the Nationwide SmartMiles program is right for you. The less you drive, the more money you’ll save with a SmartMiles auto policy.

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Is Nationwide SmartMiles Worth It?

Man with hat driving car

Nationwide SmartMiles can be worth it, depending on your driving habits. The telematics program is the best fit for low-mileage drivers, like:

  • Stay-at-home parents
  • College students who don’t take a vehicle to school with them
  • Retirees who don’t drive often
  • People who work from home, carpool often, or regularly take public transit
  • Drivers with more than one car, especially a vehicle you don’t drive often

If you’re a low-mileage driver with an eligible vehicle, the best way to know if the SmartMiles program is cheaper is to try it out. You can always go back to a traditional Nationwide policy if a SmartMiles policy is more expensive.

How to Use Nationwide SmartMiles

Take these steps if you’re interested in signing up for Nationwide SmartMiles:

  1. Contact Nationwide to sign up for a SmartMiles auto policy. New and existing Nationwide customers can apply.
  2. Wait for the SmartMiles device to arrive in the mail. If you have a connected car, your activation instructions will come by email.
  3. Plug in the device or provide Nationwide permission to access your driving data in your eligible vehicle.
  4. Log into your Nationwide online account to track your mileage and monthly premium.

Though most vehicles manufactured after 1996 are eligible for SmartMiles, some newer diesel and hybrid vehicles may not be compatible with the device. If you have a Lincoln or Ford that’s a 2018 or newer, you can use the connected car feature to set up SmartMiles without the plug-in device.

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Nationwide SmartMiles FAQs

Not sure if Nationwide SmartMiles is the right usage-based insurance program for you? We answered common questions about the program to help you decide.

Is Nationwide SmartMiles worth it?

It depends. It might be worth it if you don’t drive much. SmartMiles is a good choice for low-mileage drivers, such as college students, retirees, carpoolers, public transit riders, or if you own an extra vehicle you rarely drive.

What’s the maximum miles you can drive per day with SmartMiles?

There isn’t a cap on the number of miles you can drive. SmartMiles only charges for the first 250 miles you drive in a day. So, if you’re taking a road trip or have a long round-trip commute, you won’t pay for anything after 250 miles. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll pay a base rate plus a per-mile rate for every mile driven.

Does Nationwide SmartMiles track your speed?

No. SmartMiles uses a plug-in device or your connected car to track your mileage, not your speed. But if you sign up for Nationwide’s SmartRide, it tracks your speed and other factors through a mobile app.

What’s the difference between SmartRide and SmartMiles?

SmartRide tracks your driving behaviors through a smartphone app and rewards you for safe driving habits. SmartMiles tracks your mileage through your connected car or a plug-in device and charges you a low monthly base rate plus a per-mile fee for each mile you drive.

Data Methodology:

Data scientists at analyzed more than 50 million real-time auto insurance quotes from more than 75 partner insurers in order to compile the rates and statistics seen in this article.’s auto insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers’ vehicles, driving records, insurance histories, and demographic information.

All the rates listed in this article have been collected from a combination of real quotes and external insurance rate data gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. uses these observations to provide readers with insights into how auto insurance companies determine their premiums.


  1. Insurance Journal, “Nationwide’s ‘SmartMiles’ Auto Insurance Targets Low-Mileage Drivers,” Accessed June 19, 2024.

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