USAA Car Insurance Review
So here’s the thing, USAA has always been considered, in the military community at least, the best car insurance for Veterans. However, we set out to see if USAA was, in fact, the best car insurance for veterans, service members and their families.
Car Insurance for Vets?
The first thing we wanted to look at when answering this question was whether or not USAA was actually a champion of service members, veterans and their families. We’d hope so, considering their entire business model is based on serving that exact client base. So we decided to look at how USAA came about and why they focus their efforts on the military community.
USAA stands for the United Services Automobile Association and began in 1922 by 25 US Army officers who were having difficulty finding insurance because they were considered a high-risk group at the time. The officers wanted to create a group that offered mutual self-insurance to its members who had to be an active duty service member in order to apply. This soon included both active duty and veteran service members and the company grew to the Fortune 500 company that it is today. Over the years USAA has continually let in more groups of military and veteran associated groups however one thing remains the same…. you must be affiliated with the military in some way to join the club. Something we like!
Who Can Apply to USAA?
USAA tries to keep it in the family and has done a great job of offering their insurance to the military, veterans and their families. While membership isn’t super exclusive they do their best to keep the club going.
Who should get USAA car insurance?
Anyone who qualifies for USAA car insurance should at least look into using them. Ask for a quote and then ask about any discounts they have to offer. What’s nice about USAA is, you don’t have to beg for discounts, they offer them to you without asking, at least this is the typical experience most people have with USAA.
USAA Eligibility Requirements
- Active Duty Service Members
- Active, retired, separated officers and enlisted personnel of the U.S. military
- Officer candidates in commissioning programs (Academy, ROTC, OCS/OTS)
- Adult children of USAA members who have established membership
- Widows and widowers of USAA members who have or had a USAA auto or property insurance policy
- Former USAA Property & Casualty members
Ok so they do a great job of trying to tailor their services to the military industry, but lets take a look at some hard facts and numbers. We wanted to find out about USAA’s actual hard facts and we found some pretty decent results.
USAA’s Company at a Glance
USAA Property and Casualty Insurance Group
A.M Best Company- A.M. Best company is basically an independent review company that reports on the insurance company’s financial stability. This matters because it shows if an insurance company can actually pay their claims if and when they arise. Through this company, USAA has an A++ Superior Rating which is the highest rating an insurance company can get. In short, it means USAA is financially stable enough to pay what they claim they will pay.
Moody’s Investor Service- Like AM Best Company, Moody’s tracks a company’s debt and ensures that it doesn’t have too much debt to pay any payments that may arise… like an insurance claim. Once again, USAA received the highest rating they have to offer of Aaa.
Standard and Poors- This is an American Financials Service Company that reports stocks and bonds and is more formally known as the S&P 500. Their biggest contribution is offering credit ratings to different companies, like USAA, who received an AA+ service rating, the second highest rating that can be given to a company.
So what does that all mean? It means no matter what USAA is able to pay their debts. This may not matter much when USAA is paying out individual claims here and there but it does matter in the event of a major natural disaster where they are required to pay out millions or even billions in claims to their customers. This would be especially important if a natural disaster hit near a base where a high concentration of their customers might live.
USAA Car Insurance Cost
Car insurance prices vary based on several factors; age, gender, driving record, and even your credit score all determine how much your premium will be. However, not all car insurance companies are the same. One of the common complaints you might hear about USAA is in regards to their car insurance prices. However, overall, they are still cheaper than Geico, Allstate, and State Farm. Again, the price you pay will depend on a lot of things, so there’s a chance you’ll pay better prices with the other companies, but from the grand scheme of things, USAA is cheaper.
On top of being cheaper, they still offer discounts. As far as discounts for military, comparing USAA vs Geico, both have the best records, because they both offer discounts for storing your vehicle on base, but also discounted rates while you’re deployed. Other companies might offer these things as well, but USAA and Geico make it a little easier since USAA only works with people affiliated with the military and Geico has its own team of military specialists—all veterans.
Editorial note: I have USAA for my Home Insurance. Two years ago my house and town were hit with a massive hail storm that caused millions of dollars in damage to the residents. My house alone suffered over $50,000 in damage to the roof, gutters, windows and more. I submitted a claim within a day of receiving the damage and within 3 days of the damage, I had a USAA agent at my house inspecting my house. Within 10 days I had work being done on the house and within 14 days I had a check in hand to pay the contractors. Now, what’s super impressive about this is that USAA has thousands of customers in that area and was able to take care of me that quickly. At no point did I battle for more money, or not have someone call me back. It just worked… like it’s supposed to. A few months ago I found additional damage to the house that I had missed. I called USAA and told them about the damage. They didn’t blink an eye and they sent someone out to check it out and submitted a claim within a day. No matter what, that one experience alone made me a USAA member for life. This experience also told me that USAA isn’t afraid to pay out when it’s time to pay out. They clearly had thousands of customers in the same boat and didn’t try to withhold money for claims.
USAA’s Customer Satisfaction
Ok so we know USAA is financially stable enough to do what they say, but what about their customer satisfaction? Well JD Power did a huge study on the Best Auto Insurance Companies of 2018 and USAA took the cake by far. This is important because JD Power bases their entire business around their ability to do in-depth, detailed, non-biased reviews of companies and industries. So to get a rating of that magnitude from them is a big deal.
Another independent review company, Temkin Group, put USAA at the top of their list for insurer ratings. In addition, they have an A+ accreditation with the BBB.
Now, we did do some research and found a lot of complaints about USAA on a number of different platforms and we aren’t here to say they are perfect. In fact, our guess is there are plenty of readers pulling their hair out because we are giving them accolades. However, keep in mind that all insurance companies come with negative reviews, it’s impossible for them not to. In the end, we are looking for the insurance company that offers the best overall average and without a doubt, USAA holds the highest ratings across the board. This isn’t just us talking, this is hard facts pulled from the internet.
Does USAA Offer the Least Expensive Car Insurance?
We did some heavy research and found that pretty much across the board USAA comes in as the cheapest car insurance, although there are some cases in which some will pay more than others based on location, age, gender, driving record and credit score.
Nerd Wallet’s Cost Analysis of the National Average Auto Insurance Cost
- USAA- $870
- Geico- $1177
- State Farm- $1366
- Progressive- $1726
- Allstate- $1812
Value Penguin Cost Analysis of the National Average Auto Insurance Cost
- USAA- $635
- Geico- $731
- State Farm- $1207
- Allstate- $1341
What Insurance companies offer discounts to Service Members and Veterans?
While USAA does offer a cheaper rate, there are some companies that are offering military/veteran discounts. This is important when comparing rates. The biggest competitor of USAA that we found was with Geico discounts, who offer service members up to 15% off their rate. USAA offers a 15% discount if your car is garaged on a military base. However, it’s really important to note that USAA offers up to 90%, yes you read that right, 90%, off your bill if your car is stored in a secure location while you’re deployed. In fact, that’s probably USAAs biggest advantage is that they offer programs and incentives that are specifically designed to help out service members and veterans.
USAA Car Insurance Discounts
USAA offers a lot of discounts, just like most insurance companies. They offer a safe driver discount, a defensive driver’s course discount, and a good student discount—for those of you with students still living at home. They also offer something known as a new vehicle discount. So, if you have a late-model vehicle with safety features or anything that would help police recover your vehicle more easily if stolen, you’ll get a discount. If you’re wondering, these features are typically things like anti-lock breaks, passive restraints, and even VIN etching.
What to learn how USAA can help your good student save for college, read our USAA Student Loan blog.
Why Should You Consider USAA Over Someone Else?
Well, the biggest answer would be that USAA was designed by service members for service members. So if you’re actively serving in the military, reserves or National Guard, USAA is going to be the most accommodating of your specific situation and more likely to work with you to ensure you’re covered when you deploy. That alone has some huge benefits.
In reality, there are most likely cheaper insurance carriers and if you’re extremely budget conscious USAA might be more expensive than what you’re looking for. However, with the extra cost comes a company that won’t fight you in the event of an accident and will actually try to take care of you if you’re injured and for us, that’s worth a lot.
Other USAA Policy Options
While USAA started out as a car insurance company, they’ve grown into so much more. Today—alongside auto insurance—they offer life insurance, financial advice, financial transition assistance, banking, savings, credit cards, investment options, retirement accounts, high-interest rate accounts, home insurance, renters insurance, car buying services, health insurance, Medicare, disaster recovery insurance and even business services. USAA is more than just an insurance company. So, if you have any affiliation to the military, there’s plenty to take advantage of if you choose USAA as your provider—it doesn’t just have to be car insurance.
USAA Roadside Assistance
One additional thing we like is USAA’s Roadside assistance. Again, like the insurance, USAA offers one of the cheaper roadside assistance programs. USAA’s roadside assistance is a 24-hour service and offers several services such as:
- Fuel Delivery
- Tire Change
The best part of this is that you can add on roadside assistance for around $15-20/month whereas similar roadside assistance through AAA would require you to pay monthly and yearly memberships.
USAA Contact Information
- Customer Service Hours- Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT
- USAA Auto Insurance Number- 1-800-531-USAA
- USAA Auto Insurance Claims Number- 210-531-8722
So here’s the reality… There are a lot of car insurance companies that all tend to offer pretty competitive pricing and a few of them even offer some incentives for military/veteran personnel. It’s hard to say if USAA is 100% the right company for you. However, pretty unanimously across the web people will agree that USAA is a great car insurance company to use, especially if you are a veteran or service member. We can say confidently that a lot of the RE Factor staff do carry USAA car insurance and absolutely love it. In addition, some use other carriers and also have great experiences. At the end of the day, it comes down to what you feel most comfortable with!