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USAA Review: Some People Hate USAA, Here’s Why

USAA has had better days and with all the changes they've made and their growth, they may have become too big to hold true to their promises. This doesn't mean they don't offer a lot, but there's a chance you could benefit more from looking elsewhere and spreading your needs amongst other banks, insurance companies, and investors.

USAA Review

USAA
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Believe it or not, it’s true; there are people out there who really hate USAA. Hate may seem like a strong word, but if you were to talk to the individuals feeling this particular way, you might use the word too. At first, we thought, NO, there’s no way USAA has this many “haters,” but they really do.

Originally, this was going to be an article about how much people love USAA and how awesome they are. Because in an office full of individuals using their banking and insurance services, there wasn’t too much negativity in the room. However, a quick review outside of this office and we found out that people really do have a disdain for USAA, at least for their car insurance. We do have one individual who said they switched their car insurance to Progressive and saved a few hundred dollars.

So, with the sad news, we’d be doing you a disservice not to let you know what’s going on with USAA, because like any company, they do have their problems. Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t have good things going for them. But, you already know the good stuff, so this article is going to uncover the less popular opinions in a fully disclosed USAA review.

Top Reasons People Hate USAA

  • Car insurance is too expensive
  • Claims center doesn’t know what they’re doing
  • It takes too long to get through to a representative
  • You will get the runaround with your claim
  • Getting USAA to pay out is near impossible
  • Some discounts aren’t available in all states
  • USAA doesn’t call their customers back
  • Concerns go unanswered, and members don’t get updated
  • USAA has been known to close accounts and open old accounts without authorization
  • Customer service is rude
  • USAA doesn’t have answers for their mistakes
  • Unless you’re actively serving, you don’t get as many benefits

For those of you who really love USAA, don’t get too upset. We’ve written plenty of articles about all the good things USAA’s doing, which you can read about here.

Now the above list will be hit or miss with some people—thankfully this isn’t an issue everyone is facing. However, as of lately the complaints in these areas above have been skyrocketing. If you do a simple search online for USAA reviews, you might be surprised to see all the negativity, especially if you haven’t actually experienced it yourself.

USAA Complaints

Unfortunately, we can’t explain why some representatives know what’s going on and others don’t (maybe they’re new). But in regards to insurance costs, they do vary based on age, gender, driving record, and even credit score. Some companies will charge more for a bad driving record than others, while credit score could be the reason your premium is hiked with a different provider.  We’re not saying USAA is the cheapest, but depending on what your life looks like USAA could be the cheapest or most expensive option.

If for some reason your rate is high and you can’t figure out why; talk with your representative and ask what’s making your payments higher than others. Ask to see what record they’re looking at and then do some comparison-shopping based on your record. This might seem like a lot of work, but if you have something negative, such as a DUI you’re going to pay a lot more, and some insurance companies will charge more than others on this fault alone.

USAA Reviews

According to online reviews from fellow military members, veterans and their families, USAA has really gone downhill. And they’re getting a significant amount of complaints, very recent complaints that is. Complaints yesterday type recent. Pretty much if you have to deal with USAA’s claims department and you aren’t a USAA member, they will drag out the process, but some members also claim the same happens to them, and by some, we mean a LOT! Reports about them not returning phone calls, not answering emails, and even handwritten letters—yes, that’s still a thing—keep flowing in.

We’ve gone through thousands of reviews, ranging from 1 to 5 stars and we were a little surprised at how many 1 star reviews were out there. At first, you think, these people were probably just trying to play the system or something. But, honestly, there are too many negative reviews about the same things for that to be an accurate assumption.

USAA also lost to two lawsuits back in January—yes, only a few months ago! You can review them yourself on the Better Business Bureau’s website. Which by the way, in case you didn’t know, USAA is not accredited with the BBB, and they have a C+ rating with only 1.5 stars.

USAA: Military, Veterans and their Families

USAA used to be known for being the best option for military members, veterans and their families. Unfortunately, they seem to be lacking in the department of caring for this particular group of people. The complaints mostly used to be about the high loan rates, how hard it was to get a loan, and occasionally car insurance rates. However, over the past several years, USAA has had a decline in appreciation for their customer service.

There are reviews upon reviews about how customer service doesn’t call you back, they have an attitude problem, and they often don’t have answers for the mistakes the bank is making. Of course, this isn’t everyone’s experience, but the complaints are becoming more regular and for the same things. We can only hope they get their act together soon. Maybe that lawsuits will help them come to their senses, at least that’s what we’d hope. Unfortunately, that happened back in January, and as of May, the complaints about customer service are rolling in at an exceeding speed, with no mercy.

It’s honestly sad to see where USAA is going. Some say they should go back to their roots, and only work with officers because they’ve gotten too big to offer the quality service they used to. Others say officers should take the place over again because they will know how to run the joint. And some even say that USAA should be completely shut down because other companies can give you the same terrible service for a better price.

Now, no one here can personally attest to anything negative. But, honestly, the negative reviews outside of this office are too plentiful it’s nearly unbelievable. So, while the person writing the article hasn’t had a bad experience yet, we understand that it’s not impossible, that it could happen or happens to others out there. The point of this article is to bring awareness. We talk USAA up so much because they do offer a lot. But, you should be aware of what your fellow service members and veterans are saying about the company. Many have completely left, taking their banking with them along with things like renters and car insurance.

We just want to make sure you’re well aware or well informed before you make any choices about who you want to bank with, invest with, or be insured under.

USAA Departments Reviewed

Most recently, we’ve been hearing a lot of negative stuff about the actual banking side of USAA. Complaints such as not depositing checks, accepting checks and then denying them several days later with an added fee for the declined deposit, and so many more—all within the last 30 days.

Sadly, that’s not their only problem area. Below are some of the major concerns fellow service members and veterans are having with USAA.

USAA Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcycle insurance is third-party through USAA. Really all that means is, you get an extra discount by going through USAA. But, who’s to say you can’t just tell the other company you’re military and still get the same thing? Also, USAA uses after-market parts, so if you’re looking for better quality replacement parts for your motorcycle or car, you might want to consider elsewhere.

USAA Car Insurance

The cost of car insurance is hit or miss. Depending on your driving record, how long you’ve been with USAA, and if you have any other products through them will alter your premium. Even your credit score could prevent you from getting a good deal—this is with most insurance providers. However, these things seem to hit a little harder when getting a good deal through USAA (in many cases, but not all). So, shop around before you make your choice.

USAA Roadside Assistance

Auto insurance policies also come with the option of adding on roadside assistance. But, beware, there isn’t much of a difference between getting it with USAA and just about anyone else. Some places like AAA offer other discounts with it and you might get significantly faster service as well. It really depends on where you live or breakdown.

USAA Home and Personal Loans

Loans are not the easiest thing to get through USAA. And if you get approved, their rates are typically higher than most banks. This is the case for home, car and personal loans. Even if you have a good credit score, you’re looking at some pretty high interest rates. Personally, they told me I couldn’t get a VA loan through them because my civilian job wasn’t related to what I did while I was in the military—first time I’ve heard that.

USAA Investments 

Investing your money is a smart move. You need to save up for retirement, emergencies, and just everyday life. But who you invest with, how you invest, and the rate at which you invest are all just as important. USAA does a good job of advising their members on how to do each of these. However, they do not always have the best return rates (not always the case, but just shows you should shop around before you invest).

USAA Banking

USAA does a great job of offering more than just a bank. They offer a lot of products that other banks don’t. What might be attractive with USAA is how much you can get in one place. It’s convenient to bank, invest, pay loans, and get insured all under the same company. But, that doesn’t mean it’s financially the best choice. If you’re looking to save money, it might be wise to get these products from different providers. Of course, in many cases, bundling with USAA does save you money. But, not always, so shop around.

USAA High Intrest Savings Account

We would like to address a rumor about USAA not offering a high-interest savings account. This might be making its rounds on the Internet because USAA calls it something different, “Performance First Savings Account.” This is typically for people who have $10,000 or more in savings. It simply means you have a higher return each month than you would in a normal savings account, if this is where you choose to place your hard earned money. There really isn’t much of a difference between USAA and other banks in this aspect. If you have more than $10,000 you typically don’t have any account fees, just like with USAA, but you might get better return rates elsewhere. Again, another reason to shop around first.

USAA Auto Insurance Policies

People seem to be pretty upset about USAA policy prices. If you’re only getting car insurance through USAA you will pay more. Your best option is to bundle, this is how you save.  Also, the longer you’re with USAA, the more you’ll save. Unfortunately, If you have a low credit score, you might end up paying more than a low credit score with other insurers.

USAA Discounts

Unfortunately, the best discounts are for the people still serving. Yes, it’s sad that veterans don’t get equally as good discounts since you’ve already served your time. However, the discounts you’re missing out on are things like, vehicle storage during a deployment, so don’t get too upset. If you’re a family member, your discounts won’t be as good either—sorry.

Overall, bundling is where you’re really going to save money. You have the option of bundling home insurance, renters insurance, car insurance, personal property insurance, and if you have a savings/checking account you might be able to save even more. Unlike other car insurance companies, USAA also offers a banking option. And since USAA can see that you’re making money, it makes you a better investment for them, which might lead to some further discounting opportunities other insurers just can’t give you.

USAA Student Loans

USAA used to get you a 25% discounted rate for getting your student loan with Wells Fargo through them. But, guess what, they don’t do it anymore. And it’s not just the discount, it’s the entire partnership. Of course, you can go with plenty of other student loan lenders out there, but the convenience of doing it through USAA plus the discount made it a nice option.

Recommendations to USAA

USAA needs a lot of work. It’s clear they are slowly declining. So, we decided to ask around about potential solutions to the problem. One recommendation we got was to start handing out gift cards to Chick-Fil-A. It was clearly a joke, but actually, that’s not a bad idea. USAA, if you’re listening, I’ll take a number 2 with a sweet tea, and maybe throw in one of those freshly baked cookies. It won’t fix anything, except maybe our hunger pains, but we’ll take it.

In all seriousness though, USAA was supposed to submit a plan of action by late March. Hopefully, they’ve actually done that and started implementing those plans by now. Which we’d like to think means, we’ll start seeing a drastic improvement in how they handle customer complaints. Unfortunately, that’s only a start to fixing the vast number of problems the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) found during their investigation. Again, we can only hope things will change for the better from here on out.

Unfortunately, no company is perfect, and this includes USAA. And the bigger a company gets, the further away from perfect they’ll go. In USAA’s case, this could be because they’ve started accepting family members of the military. There used to be a time when they only accepted officers, then enlisted, then veterans, and today family members too. This means USAA is getting big, maybe too big, and they’re falling short of the vision they originally had for the company.

USAA Summary

We really hate reporting facts like this, considering so many of us here use and loved being taken care of by USAA. But, we want to be transparent about everything here, so it’d be a shame to only list the good stuff.

If you’re looking for the good stuff about USAA, know that they aren’t a bad company and they do cater to military life. They offer military discounts, deployment discounts, bundling discounts, banking, insurances, financial advice, and investment opportunities. Yes, USAA needs to make a lot of major improvements, but so do a lot of other financial institutions.

USAA

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13 Comments

  1. USAA is fine when things go well, but god help you trying to fix things after they make an error. They messed up some of our accounts, and after many hours wrestling with the most staggeringly incompetent customer service I had ever seen, I had no choice but to cancel all our accounts and move to a competent bank (Schwab).

    The real problem USAA has is the insane red tape—trying to get anything fixed beyond the most simple things means being on hold, explaining to person 1, getting transferred, praying the transfer doesn’t drop the call, then being on hold again, repeating to person 2, and so on. Then in the end they figure out they have no idea how to fix anything, and promise their bank employees at the “back office” will fix things, which doesn’t happen. Everyone passes the buck and gives empty promises, and no one is actually sufficiently trained to do their job.

  2. I still have bank accounts with USAA but it’s no longer my primary. I primarily use Service Credit Union for my auto loan and primary US account. I currently work overseas for NATO (civilian) and the USAA auto insurance here is twice as much as a local, reputable company that I chose to use. I’ve used USAA in some capacity since the late 90s and my perspective is they have definitely declined in the actual benefit they provide to members.

  3. I have been with Navy Fed and USAA for over 30 yrs (based upon my 30+ yrs in the Navy. I have seen the DE-evolution of both Navy Fed and USAA. My interpretation of the declines focuses on the urge of USAA and NFCU’s desire to be more like the “big banks” in the civilian sector. For example, when I joined NFCU, you had to be in the Navy (kinda logical I think) and on sea duty (I felt that one was kinda weird) but I joined while I was on cruise. Now, NFCU is open to all members of the Armed Forces and their families and some members of the civilian defense workforce (including people who never served on Active Duty). USAA is also trying to join the ranks of the “big banks too big to fail” which has caused both credit unions’s customer service to plummet.

  4. I would never use USAA. As a struggling enlisted soldier back in the 80’s I was paying outrageous amounts for car insurance. I asked my LT how much he paid and it was like $200 less than what I was paying. When asked what he had he said USAA. I asked cool can I get their information? He said no sorry they only serve officers. So even though today just about anyone can get their insurance and yes it’s still cheaper I will never get their insurance

  5. My problem with USAA is that it is not just for ex-military. Once a person joins the military, they can join USAA. Their descendants should not be allowed to use USAA if they did not join the military themselves.

  6. For anyone seeing this, I’ve had USAA since I was 18 and first enlisted in the Army. I also worked for them as an Auto Claims Adjuster for nearly 2 years from 28-30 years of age. The big thing is they have changed tremendously. They were extremely affordable and helpful when I first began. I have had banking and car insurance with them since. Fast forward over a decade later and having had actual work experience with them (yes, that’s how much I believed in them I went to work for them).

    The problem I have seen first hand is in the insane metrics they place on the adjusters, they expect to be on the phone so much it becomes literally impossible to make any out bound calls. God forbid you do the Claims Manager is so worried about their teams “metric numbers” they will come down on you. They have software that allows them to see and hear everything you do on your computer for every call. The company as well has been outsourcing many/most jobs to 3rd parties outside the country and urges their employees to act as if the person works directly for USAA as well (caller beware you will never know if you have an actual US Based Claims Adjuster or Bank Rep that is actually employed directly for USAA) this is why some “know” and some “don’t know” what they are talking about. The way the metrics are built and the fact they expect you to do more with less is the reason your adjuster can’t call you back and you will get a different one each as anyone can access your claim (look at the notes) and help you with it. However in the insurance industry, gone are the days of having the same person as the team atmosphere is more conducive to getting things done and claims moved forward.

    USAA feels that they can charge more because they are the “premiere” insurance and banking and because of excellent service they believe it justifies their pricing. Internally I can tell you lowered enlisted is treated like the scum of the earth and are offered little to no benefits (they just want the praise that they help the military), while an officer that has a lot of investments and such is to be treated as royalty (as the company was originally for them only anyways) and get all the good credit cards, rates, etc.

    What do I have to say to Veterans, the military and their family? Just because they state they are a military related bank, shop around as more and more banks have incentives for military and you may just find better elsewhere. I encourage it. Hope this helps.

    1. I’ve had 2 accidents in the past 4 years. Both not my fault. 1st one was a guy that ran into my car while it was parked in front of my house. Since I reported it to them, I ended up paying out of pocket. Raised my premium. Didn’t reimburse me when I was paying premium on that car when the title had been discovered to be a wrecked title. Even though I had 2 state DMV’s taking blame. Now i got rear ended and they want me to pay the deductible before they probably will make me pay for everything else. Not a fan.

  7. Never, ever, ever even consider buying a new car through USAA. I went on their website, got pre- approved and decided to do some browsing, late at night. Within minutes, it seemed, my mailbox was being bombarded with emails from car dealers. Starting the next day, I started getting calls from dealers as far as 150 miles from me. Even after I purchased my car from my normal dealer, the calls kept coming and even after I informed the salespeople and commented on the USAA site I had already made a purchase, the calls from the same dealerships continued. I found that USAA offered nowhere near the best interest rates on a new car finance. They aren’t even in the same ball park for insurance rates. At the time of my purchase, I was 64, a military retiree, had a FICO score of 835 and was only looking to finance $12K against a $48K purchase. I guess if you’re still under the influence of military indoctrination you might be convinced USAA is a great supporter of the military and has dedicated itself to a mission of service to them. The truth is, they’re just another company wrapping themselves in the flag while trying to pick the pockets of service members past and present. They just do it while thanking you for your service.

  8. As a retired USAF Officer I have been a usaa member since 1981, or some 38 years. During this time I have never been in a car accident, never had a DUI, and have only made 1 claim, for a busted windshield about 12 years ago, and my FICO is 800+. The truth often hurts, but I when USAA opened its enrollment eligibility to Enlisted personnel, back in the early 90’stages as I best recall, it became immediately evident that both usaa customer service and insurance rates took a bad turn for the worse, and it even turned worse when usaa opened its ranks to military family members! Usaa has lost its vision and it is now just another average insurance company, selling its over priced and over hyped products by falsely marketing itself wrapped in the American Flag. I will be cancelling all of my USAA insurance and financial products by the end of 2019 and taking my business elsewhere. USAA SUCKS AND IT ONLY HAS ITSELF TO BLAME!

  9. You are not in the right office. Just ask around in my office (all retired officers). Nearly everyone HATES USAA now. Don’t just walk…RUN away from USAA. They are awful. I’ve been a member for over 30 years. In the early days, when they were a co-op of US military officers, USAA was a company par excellence. They were the best at everything. Best, least expensive insurance (one didn’t even bother checking elsewhere because USAA was half what others would charge), best banking, ahead of their time with early websites and other features and services. Over the years they have gone steadily downhill. This was accelerated when they allowed nearly anyone to join. Their insurance got more expensive as they covered increasingly risky members and everything else followed. Now they are just incompetent and you can find better, less expensive insurance and banking elsewhere. I have taken my insurance to Geico where it’s cheaper and have been steadily disentangling myself from their bank and look forward to the day I have NO accounts with USAA.

  10. USAA is HORRIBLE! We have been members for 30+ years both auto and home. Before our current claim, we have made 1 claim for a minor auto accident. Recently USAA would not pay a minimal claim we filed for damaged property due to rain coming through a damaged roof. The amount of money we have paid in premiums and the enormous growth in the investments they have made using our premiums and they can’t pay a $7,000.00 claim? Give me a break. Good Bye USAA!

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