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Consumers Confused, Overwhelmed by their Insurance Policies, According to Survey

September 26, 2013

Columbus, Ohio - Most insurance policyholders would prefer to have a simple explanation of their insurance policy in terms they can understand and have policy details explained in a brief, one-page summary, according to survey results released by Nationwide Insurance today. When asked to describe their insurance policy, consumers said their policy was too long (53 percent), complicated (43 percent), overwhelming (31 percent) and confusing (29 percent).

Nationwide Insurance commissioned the survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive, who polled nearly 1,600 people who own property and casualty insurance.

More than half (57 percent) of consumers who responded to the survey feel they know more about their favorite prime-time television shows than they do about their insurance policies. 

“Over time, insurance policies have become legal documents written to reflect state laws and to outline coverages in detail so consumers know what they are buying,” said Mark Pizzi, president and COO of Nationwide Insurance. “Nationwide understands the importance of helping our members understand their policy. Encouraging consumers to have a conversation with their agent is one of the best ways to educate them about what they are buying.”

Other results from the survey showed that:

Nationwide Insurance believes that making changes to insurance laws would make it easier for insurance companies to deliver their policies in a manner that would be simpler for consumers to read and understand. Those changes include:

Nationwide Insurance has already begun to make changes to its products and services to simplify the insurance experience for its members, including:

“Are we shocked at the results of our research? No. But it highlights the need for Nationwide to continue to work with our regulatory partners to make it easier for our members to understand the insurance protection they are purchasing,” said Pizzi. “Being in a situation where you need to use your insurance is difficult enough. Understanding the key elements of your policy should be easy.”

Visit our website to see the complete results of the Nationwide Insurance survey and our infographic.


The Simplification Study was conducted between February 22 and March 5, 2013. The respondents were comprised of 1,594 adults ages 18+ who currently own property and casualty insurance. Results are weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. Individuals for this research were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. Because the sample is based on those who were invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Nationwide

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit

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