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

SmartRide can get you a discount of up to 40% if you drive safely, but it depends on your situation. Find out if it’s right for you.

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Nationwide Rating ?


  • Free to participate
  • Significant discount potential
  • Promotes safer driving habits


  • Total discounts vary
  • Total discount not available until renewal
  • Not all vehicles are eligible

Bottom Line

Nationwide SmartRide is a telematics program that rewards safe driving habits with a discount. It could be a good choice if you’re a relatively safe driver who follows posted speed limits and doesn’t brake hard or accelerate quickly. But drivers with older vehicles or people who live in certain states may not be eligible.

Telematics programs are growing in popularity among auto insurers, with nearly all the big-name companies offering their own version of usage-based insurance. When you participate in one of these programs, you use a mobile app or a special device installed in your vehicle to track your driving habits. Your insurer then rewards you with a discount if you consistently drive safely.

Nationwide offers a telematics program called SmartRide. The program could result in some big savings — up to 40% in some situations — but it’s not for everyone. Here’s how Nationwide SmartRide works, what it tracks and doesn’t track, how much you could save by participating, and how it stacks up to the competition.

What Is Nationwide SmartRide?

Nationwide SmartRide is one of several telematics programs on the market today. Telematics — often referred to as usage-based insurance (UBI) — works by transmitting data about your vehicle using GPS and onboard technology. For instance, if you enroll in a telematics program through your insurer, the company might track your braking habits, speed, and other driving behaviors.

Other insurers offer similar programs, like Allstate Drivewise, Progressive Snapshot, and State Farm Drive Safe & Save, among others. Each program varies slightly in terms of structure and available discounts.

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How Does Nationwide SmartRide Work?

Man inside car is using their phone on the car dashboard

With SmartRide, you’ll install the Nationwide SmartRide app on your phone and allow it to track your driving. But it’s worth noting that some participants enrolled in Nationwide’s usage-based insurance programs — including SmartRide’s pay-per-mile alternative, SmartMiles — may use a telematics device instead of the mobile app. Both methods transmit data about your driving habits back to Nationwide, which it uses to calculate your rates.

Enrolling in Nationwide SmartRide earns you a 10% initial discount, as well as a follow-up premium discount based on how safely you drive during the initial monitoring period. You can track your total discount in the SmartRide app. The SmartRide program lasts for 4–6 months, and your final discount amount applies to everyone on your policy.

What does SmartRide track?

If you participate in SmartRide, Nationwide tracks the following driving behaviors:

  • Hard braking: The program monitors your braking habits, tracking whether you typically decelerate quickly or brake at a reasonable distance from cars, objects, or people.
  • Acceleration: It also tracks your rate of acceleration, or how quickly you apply the gas and get up to speed after you’ve stopped.
  • Total miles: SmartRide will pull data on your total mileage, as well. In general, people who drive fewer miles are less likely to get into an accident, which leads to lower rates.
  • Driving hours: It also tracks your nighttime driving, since insurers have determined that driving more miles at night can increase the likelihood of an accident.

SmartRide also tracks your phone distractions, including how often you use your phone or take hands-free calls. It doesn’t track your actual speed, though driving above the speed limit could affect your overall braking habits.

How does Nationwide know who’s driving?

If you have multiple drivers insured on your Nationwide policy, each can participate in SmartRide. To start, simply download the SmartRide app on each of your family’s devices.

While Nationwide claims it’s decent at deciphering between drivers and passengers, the app allows you to mark yourself as a passenger as a backup. This can be helpful if you’re driving with your teen or another family member who has slightly different habits on the road.

How Much Can You Save With Nationwide SmartRide?

Nationwide advertises that it offers a 10% initial enrollment discount and a final discount of up to 40% for SmartRide participants. So you could potentially save up to 50% for program participation at your next policy renewal. After that, your final discount of up to 40% will apply.

While Nationwide indicates SmartRide can get you a sizable discount, many policyholders across social media and review sites report those high discount figures are difficult to earn.

One Reddit user — shown in the screenshot below — indicates that they were able to get the maximum ongoing discount of 40%, but that after purchasing a new vehicle, Nationwide would no longer honor their savings. They also mention that the discount only applies to a certain percentage of their premiums.

SmartRide reddit review 1

Others — like the policyholder shown in the Reddit thread below — complain about their discounts decreasing unexpectedly.

SmartRide reddit review 2

Nationwide SmartRide vs. the Competition

Telematics and usage-based insurance programs have become incredibly popular among auto insurers. If you’re considering enrolling in one of these programs, here are some of the most popular options available.

Program Initial Discount Maximum Discount
Nationwide SmartRide 10% 40%
Allstate Drivewise Varies by state Varies by state
American Family KnowYourDrive 10% 20%
Chubb SafeLane 10% 20%
Direct Auto DynamicDrive 10% Not disclosed
Farmers Signal 5% 15%
Liberty Mutual RightTrack 10% 30%
Progressive Snapshot Varies by state; Average discount of $94 Varies by state; Average discount of $231
Safeco RightTrack 10% 30%
State Farm Drive Safe & Save 5% 30% (May exceed 30% in some states)
The Hartford TrueLane 12% 25%
Travelers IntelliDrive 10% 30% (Up to 40% in Nevada)
USAA SafePilot 10% 30%

While its sign-up discount is on par with many competitors, the Nationwide SmartRide program stands out both in terms of transparency and overall discounts. Unlike some companies, Nationwide discloses exactly how much you might save by participating in SmartRide.

A total potential discount of 50% is very generous by comparison. Several companies offer discounts up to 30%, but, with the average American driver paying just over $1,600 per year for auto insurance, the difference could save the safest drivers more than $75 at each policy renewal.

How to maximize your SmartRide discount

If you’d like to maximize your SmartRide discount, a few strategies could help. Remember that Nationwide tracks braking, acceleration, when you drive, and your mileage.

So, if you want the best discount possible, follow these simple tips:

  • Allow ample time to brake. When possible, give yourself plenty of time to slow down and come to a stop.
  • Accelerate gradually. Likewise, be mindful of your acceleration rates as you drive and work on accelerating more slowly.
  • Drive during the day. Avoid driving at night whenever possible to help increase your discount percentage.
  • Keep your mileage low. Also avoid driving too frequently, as more miles will likely mean less of a discount.

Can your rates go up with SmartRide?

Nationwide indicates that your insurance rates won’t increase if you participate in SmartRide. The company instead positions SmartRide as a car insurance discount program that won’t result in higher premiums.

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Is Nationwide SmartRide Worth It? What Real Customers Are Saying

Customer testimonials of Nationwide SmartRide on Reddit are fairly mixed, and reviews from Nationwide members on other online platforms weren’t readily available.

Some program participants report receiving a discount but say that it was less than they expected. Others — including agents who help customers use these programs — suggest the maximum discount seems like an unreachable goal, as shown in the screenshot below.

SmartRide reddit review 3

As mentioned above, one user indicated they were able to get the maximum ongoing discount of 40%, but the cost savings wouldn’t transfer to their new car.

Despite this, it could still be worth enrolling in SmartRide if you don’t drive frequently and obey the rules of the road. A small percentage discount still results in some savings, even if it isn’t as much as you anticipated.

How to Sign Up for SmartRide

Woman uses her phone outside of her car

If SmartRide sounds intriguing and you’d like to give it a try, follow these steps to start.

1. Get an auto insurance quote with Nationwide

The SmartRide program is only available to Nationwide customers. If you don’t have a current Nationwide auto policy, you’ll first want to get a quote to determine if you can save money with a new insurance policy from this company.

2. Opt in to SmartRide

Once you have an active policy, you can enroll in SmartRide by contacting your insurance agent or calling 1 (855) 241-9720. You’ll then need to download the SmartRide app via a text message link your agent or a customer representative provides and input your mobile number.

3. Download the mobile app or plug in your device

Once you’ve downloaded the mobile app, you’ll need to allow the app access to the following so that it can transmit relevant driving data:

  • Apple: Location, motion and fitness, background app refresh
  • Android: Contacts, location, storage

Nationwide also mentions that participants in its other usage-based insurance programs can use a plug-in device as an alternative to track their trips.

4. Drive safely

Be mindful of your braking and acceleration when you drive. Also pay attention to how many miles you’re driving and at what times of day you often drive.

5. Monitor your progress

You can log into the SmartRide mobile app at any time to check your progress. It’ll provide insight into your driving habits, current discount percentage, and personalized feedback so you can work to maximize your savings.

6. Collect your discount

You’ll receive an initial participation discount of 10% after signing up. After that, your final discount can change weekly while you’re enrolled in SmartRide. You’ll complete the program after 4–6 months and receive your discount at your next policy renewal after the end of the program.

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Nationwide SmartRide FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about Nationwide SmartRide if you’re thinking about enrolling.

Does Nationwide SmartRide actually lower your bill?

It depends. Nationwide SmartRide could lower your car insurance bill, but your actual savings hinge on your driving habits. The insurer will consider your braking, acceleration, miles driven, and time of day you drive to calculate your total discount.

If you drive erratically, brake hard, or drive often at night, your driving may not earn you any savings beyond the initial 10% sign-up discount.

Does Nationwide SmartRide track your location?

Yes. SmartRide will track your location as you drive. It relies on a smartphone app to transmit information about your driving habits, and you need to enable location settings to participate.

Does Nationwide SmartRide track speed?

No. Nationwide doesn’t track your speed when you participate in SmartRide. It only tracks your braking, acceleration, miles driven, and the time of day you drive.

What’s the difference between SmartMiles and SmartRide?

SmartMiles is Nationwide’s pay-per-mile insurance program. It’s designed for low-mileage drivers who want to save on their coverage, and it only tracks the number of miles you drive each month. SmartRide helps encourage safer driving behaviors overall by offering special discounts for being mindful behind the wheel.


Data scientists at analyzed more than 50 million real-time auto insurance rates from more than 75 partner insurers in order to compile the quotes 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 quotes listed in this article have been gathered from a combination of real quotes and external insurance rate data gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. uses these observations to provide drivers with insight into how auto insurance companies determine their premiums.


  1. Insurance Information Institute, “Background on: Pay-as-you-drive auto insurance (telematics),” accessed March 29, 2024.
  2. Reddit, “Nationwide SmartRide – Actual Results,” accessed March 29, 2024.
  3. Reddit, “Nationwide SmartRide discount decreased,” accessed March 29, 2024.

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