USAA Auto Insurance Review

Superior Auto Insurance and Customer Service for the Military Community

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USAA

USAA

Investopedia’s Rating
4.5

Our Take 

USAA is a solid choice for auto insurance with high customer satisfaction levels and top financial ratings. However, you must be a member of the military, or a family member, to benefit from its services.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Consistently exceptional customer service

  • Several financial products available

  • Multiple additional military resources

Cons
  • Military families only

  • Membership required

  • High number of complaints

Key Takeaways
  • You must be a member of the military or a family member to join USAA. 
  • USAA provides comprehensive auto insurance coverage, in addition to several other insurance products and financial services. 
  • Several types of car insurance are available, in addition to 12 different discount programs. 
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1922
  • Types of Coverage Comprehensive, collision, liability, uninsured and underinsured
  • Available Discounts 12
  • Purchasing Options Online, phone, agent
  • Customer Service 1-800-531-USAA (8722)
  • Official Website https://www.usaa.com/

Pros Explained

  • Consistently exceptional customer service: USAA tops J.D. Power rankings for customer satisfaction and AM Best for financial strength year after year.
  • Several financial products available: In addition to several types of insurance, USAA also offers banking and investment services.
  • Multiple additional military resources: As a military-only provider, USAA offers exclusive resources to its members.

Cons Explained

  • Military families only: USAA car insurance is only available to active-duty and retired military as well as their family members.
  • Membership required: Even if you are military, you must join USAA as a member before purchasing auto insurance.
  • High number of complaints: Although USAA rates high in other areas, it struggles with its NAIC rating that reports a high number of consumer complaints.

Introduction

United States Automobile Association (USAA) is a popular name in the insurance industry and for a good reason. For several years running, USAA has topped customer satisfaction and financial ratings for auto insurance with some of the cheapest rates available. It is also active within the military community, helping active-duty and veteran military families with the unique challenges they face. 

Today, it offers several types of insurance for your family in addition to auto insurance, such as homeowners insurance, renters insurance, life insurance, and health insurance. There are also several financial products available, including bank and investment products. With easy online quotes and special resources specific to military life, USAA is an ideal car insurance company for your auto insurance. 

Company Overview

Established in 1922 to serve the military community, the United States Automobile Association (USAA) was founded by 25 Army officers to provide each other with car insurance. It continues in that vein today, offering several financial products to several different members of the military community. USAA is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, where it offers 48.8 million products to over 13 million members.

Who USAA Serves
Type of military Eligible parties 
Active-duty U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard, and Reserves
Former military  Retirees and those separated with an Honorable discharge 
Cadets and midshipmen  Individuals at U.S. service academies, in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship

Officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning 
Family  Widows, widowers and un-remarried former spouses of USAA members who had USAA auto or property insurance while married

Individuals whose parents have or had USAA auto or property insurance

USAA auto insurance may be underwritten by a different provider, including USAA Casualty Insurance Company, USAA General Indemnity Company, and Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Company.

Types of Coverage

USAA offers auto insurance for a variety of vehicles beyond the traditional standard vehicle, such as insurance for motorcycles, RVs, boats, classic cars, and umbrella insurance.

USAA auto products are only available to the military community and those related to them.

Comprehensive 

Comprehensive car insurance is a major component of your auto insurance company, providing insurance coverage if you have an incident while driving. This can include several types of damages, including fire, hail, and flooding.

Collision

Also standard is collision coverage, which provides protection if you are in an accident with another vehicle or with stationary subjects. If you finance or lease your vehicle, you are likely required to carry this coverage.

Liability

When you are found legally responsible for an accident, liability insurance provides protection if there is injury or death to another party.

Uninsured and Underinsured

Not all drivers on the road may have auto insurance. Uninsured and underinsured insurance protects you and your passengers should you sustain injuries from an accident with a driver who does not have any or enough car insurance coverage.

Optional Coverage

Roadside Assistance

USAA also offers roadside assistance for troubles you encounter along your travels, such as a flat tire or a tow. 

Rental Reimbursement

If your car needs repair, USAA offers rental reimbursement, which will pay for the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop. 

Rideshare Insurance

In response to the rise of Uber and Lyft, USAA also offers rideshare insurance with guaranteed repairs at more than 2,900 locations across the country. Rideshare gap coverage is also available for your existing policy.

Discounts

USAA offers 12 car insurance discounts for its members.

According to USAA, the average member saves an average of $725 per year when switching to their auto insurance.

Driving Discounts

  • Safe driver: USAA rewards you when you have a good driving record for at least five years.
  • Defensive driving: There are additional savings when you pass an approved driving course.
  • Driver training: You can also earn savings when you complete a basic driver training course. (Not available in HI and NC)
  • Good student: There are additional discounts for teens and young adults who maintain good grades in school. (Not available in HI and NC)

Vehicle Discounts

  • New vehicle: When you have a new car, you earn savings if your car is less than three years old. (Not available in Puerto Rico)
  • Multi-vehicle: You can save on all of your car insurance premiums when you insure multiple vehicles from the same household.
  • Annual Mileage: You can receive cheaper car insurance rates when you maintain a low mileage each year. (Not available in HI and NC)
  • Vehicle Storage: USAA will offer up to 60% off when you keep your insured vehicle in storage. (Not available in HI, NC, and VA)

Membership Discounts

  • Family Discount: If your parents also have USAA auto insurance, you could receive a discount of up to 10% off on your policy.
  • Length of Membership Savings: The longer you are a USAA member, the more you could save with its member loyalty discounts.
  • Military Installation Discount: You can receive up to 15% off your policy when you garage your vehicle on a military base.

Bundle Discount

  • Bundle: When you bundle your car insurance with homeowners or renters insurance from USAA, you can receive up to 10% off your auto insurance policy.

Additionally, USAA offers accident forgiveness for extra savings. When you are accident-free for five years at USAA, the auto policy surcharge will be waived for your first at-fault accident. However, this option is not available for policyholders in California, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and North Carolina.

Payment Options

Policyholders can choose from either a six-month or year-long policy with the option of upfront or monthly payment options.

Payments can be made via check, credit card, checking, savings, or money market account.

Type of Policy Payment options 
6-month policy Six consecutive monthly installments
12-month policy  12 consecutive monthly installments 

Loss Ratio

A company’s loss ratio can show how fairly a company prices its insurance policies. When a company has a low loss ratio, it typically means lower premiums in response. A high loss ratio is considered over 100%, but USAA falls well below that at 73.6% as of 2021.

Other Features

USAA specializes in serving the military community with several exclusive programs and savings not found with the average insurance provider. USAA member perks and shopping discounts have saved members about $370 million in areas like travel, fitness, and car care. From 25% off on Goodyear Tires to 15% off a new SimpliSafe DIY security system, several excellent perks are designed to save military families money.   

Customer Service

Headquartered in San Antonio, USAA has several corporate locations across the country, including Phoenix, Tampa, and New York, plus three locations in Texas. There are also international locations available in England, Germany, and Luxembourg.

There are several ways to contact USAA. 

Type of contact Contact info 
Mailing address USAA 9800 Fredericksburg Rd. San Antonio, TX 78288
Main number  800-531-USAA (8722) 210-531-USAA (8722) 
Main fax  800-531-8877 
24/7 roadside assistance  800-531-8555 Online roadside assistance request
Claims fax  800-531-8669 or online claims center 
Accessibility services  800-531-USAA (8722)

Customer Satisfaction 

USAA consistently rates at the top of customer satisfaction ratings with industry-leading customer service.

USAA offers an in-app assistant that can help with customer support or transfer you to a representative.

Satisfaction Ratings

USAA received top rankings in J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. While it is technically rank-ineligible due to its restricted availability, USAA still remains the top-rated company in every single region of the U.S. It is also top-rated among large insurers in J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.

USAA also receives an industry-leading score of A++ (Excellent) from AM Best, a ratings provider that analyzes a company’s financial strength.

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks the number of customer complaints an insurance company receives. The average industry score is 1.00, but USAA scores much higher with a rating of 1.95 in 2021. It follows a pattern of steady increases from 2020’s 1.85 score and 1.78 in 2019.

Account Management

USAA policyholders can enjoy free use of the USAA mobile app available on both the App Store and Google Play. With the app, it is easy to access your insurance card, deposit checks, pay bills, and send money. You can also receive support for claims and roadside assistance. Logging in is both easy and secure via fingerprint, face, and voice recognition.

How USAA Compares to Other Auto Insurance Companies

The biggest difference when comparing USAA to other companies is its exclusivity. You must be a current or retired member of the military or a family member. If you qualify, USAA provides versatile protection with all standard coverages, plus additional extras like ridesharing and rental car insurance. 

It also excels in customer satisfaction and financial strength, rating significantly higher than its competitors in J.D. Power and AM Best scoring, but it still has some room for improvement with lackluster NAIC ratings. Still, USAA maintains an impressive loss ratio, showing that USAA is financially secure and offers appropriate rates for its customers.

Verdict

You must be a member of an active-duty or veteran military household to purchase USAA auto insurance because USAA restricts its membership to just the military community. However, if you qualify, you can receive competitive car insurance rates with multi-faceted coverage that can include extras like roadside assistance and rideshare coverage.

To help you save, there are 12 different car insurance discounts like vehicle and payment discounts, plus military-only savings when you are on deployment or store your car on-base. While its NAIC rating remains high, USAA excels in several areas, making it a fantastic choice for military drivers.

Methodology

Investopedia is committed to providing readers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of auto insurance companies. All of our reviews are based on extensive research and analysis of each company’s coverage, customer service, pricing, years in business, accreditation, and more.

To rate providers, we developed an auto insurance review methodology that compares the auto insurance coverage types, additional features, discounts, account management, and other features.

Article Sources
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  1. S&P Global Market Intelligence. "US Private Auto Insurers' Loss Ratios Shoot Higher in 2021."

  2. J.D. Power. “2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.”  

  3. J.D. Power. “J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.”

  4. Businesswire. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of United Services Automobile Association, Its Subsidiaries and USAA Capital Corporation."
  5. NAIC. “USAA Cas Ins Co National Complaint Index Report."