Founded in 1963, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) offers life insurance through the USAA Life Insurance Company and the USAA Life Insurance Company of New York.
Available exclusively to military service members and their families, USAA has plans that cater to that audience’s specific needs, including term, whole, and universal life policies. Its policies include military-related benefits, including protection for those preparing for deployment or in active service.
USAA can be an affordable option, advertising life insurance policies for under $12 per month.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
You can get quotes for term, whole, and universal life policies online
Coverage amounts as high as $10 million available
Survivor Relations Team access
You must be a USAA member to qualify for life insurance
All policies require a medical exam
No final expense policies available
- USAA started offering life insurance in 1963.
- It’s headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.
- The company offers whole, term, and universal life policies.
- Only USAA members are eligible for life insurance through the company.
- Coverage amounts as high as $10 million are available.
USAA was founded in 1922 and launched its life insurance division in 1963. The company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.
USAA is a financial services group of companies. Not only does it sell life insurance, but it also provides a comprehensive list of financial products, including checking and savings accounts, personal loans, car loans, home mortgages, investment services, retirement planning, and several insurance products. Its insurance options include homeowners, renters, health, and small business insurance.
While many insurance companies sell insurance through agents, USAA sells directly to consumers through its website.
USAA offers life insurance in all 50 states. In most states, policies are issued by USAA Life Insurance Company. In New York, policies are issued by USAA Life Insurance Company of New York.
- Year Founded 1922
- Kinds of Plans Whole, term, universal life
- Number of Plans 3
- Payment Plan Options Monthly, quarterly, annually
- Customer Service Online
- Phone 800-531-8722
- Official Website www.usaa.com
USAA is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can review our list of the best life insurance companies for what we think are better options.
- You can get quotes for term, whole, and universal life policies online: Many life insurance companies require you to contact an agent to get a quote for most policies. But with USAA, you can get a quote for term, whole, and universal plans completely online, even if you aren’t a USAA member yet.
- Coverage amounts as high as $10 million available: If you’re looking for a substantial amount of coverage to ensure your family is protected, USAA has coverage amounts as high as $10 million available. Some other companies limit their coverage to $1 million or less, so the ability to get additional coverage is a significant benefit.
- Survivor Relations Team (SRT) access: When a USAA member passes away or experiences a death in the family, the USAA SRT helps their surviving loved ones cope afterward. The SRT is available for consultations about financial topics, policy details, and survivor benefits.
- You must be a USAA member to qualify for life insurance: Only USAA members are eligible for life insurance policies. Membership is limited to U.S. military service members, veterans, pre-commissioned officers, and their spouses and children.
- All policies require a medical exam: While many life insurance companies have some no-exam policies or will waive the medical exam under certain coverage amounts, USAA doesn’t have those options. Its underwriting process for all of its plans requires a health questionnaire and medical exam.
- No final expense policies available: Some people want a basic policy to cover only their final burial expenses. These plans tend to be very inexpensive and often can be purchased online without a medical exam. USAA doesn’t offer final expense policies; the lowest coverage amount it offers is $50,000.
USAA is a relatively small life insurance company, making up just 0.16% of the market as of 2019.
USAA offers three plans: term, whole, and universal policies. Whether you want a simple plan to cover your essential expenses or a comprehensive plan that provides for your children’s expenses and education after you’re gone, there are coverage options ranging from $50,000 to $10 million.
You can get quotes for all three plans online, even if you aren’t a USAA member. If you decide to move forward with your life insurance application after getting a quote, you’ll have to join USAA before you can submit your application.
Term Life Insurance
With term life insurance, your coverage lasts for a limited period. During your term, your premiums and coverage amount remain the same, and your beneficiaries only receive a death benefit if you pass away within your pre-set term.
USAA has terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years, and you can get between $100,000 and $10 million in coverage. USAA gives you the option to convert term life policies into permanent coverage later on.
Universal Life Insurance
Universal life insurance combines a death benefit with a cash value that can grow tax-deferred. Within the plan’s limits, you can decide how much you want to pay with your premiums and when. And, if you’re facing an emergency, you may be able to tap into your policy’s cash value.
Universal life insurance makes sense if you want coverage that you can modify to meet your needs over time. USAA’s policies have a guaranteed minimum interest rate of 2.00%.
With USAA’s universal life policy, you can get between $100,000 and $10 million in coverage. Universal life insurance from USAA is not available in New York.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is permanent coverage that lasts for your entire lifetime. As long as you continue paying your premiums, your policy remains in force, and your death benefit doesn’t change. Over time, your policy builds tax-deferred cash value that you can use while you’re still living to pay for your children’s education expenses, home renovations, or to supplement your retirement fund.
You can choose to make payments for 20 years, until you turn 65, or for the length of your policy. USAA offers between $50,000 and $10 million in whole life coverage.
Like most insurance companies, USAA has several supplemental insurance riders, also known as endorsements, that you can add to your life insurance policy. Riders are provisions you can use to customize, enhance, or adjust your coverage or policy terms. For example, you can increase coverage for certain scenarios or add covered family members. The availability of riders can vary by state, and most riders will increase your policy’s cost.
USAA offers the following riders:
If you have a term life policy, you can add a child rider to your plan and insure all of your children for as little as $8 per month. When your children are older, they have the option of converting their insurance into their own permanent policy.
Life Event Option
If you add the life event option rider to your term or whole life policy, you can qualify for additional insurance—without a medical exam—after specific life events, such as getting married, buying a home, or having a baby. Age restrictions and coverage amounts apply.
Military Future Insurability Rider
With the military future insurability rider, you have the option of increasing your insurance coverage upon separation from the military.
Military Severe Injury Benefit
The military severe injury benefit will give you $25,000 to help with expenses if you experience covered injuries while performing military duties.
Waiver of Premium
With whole life policies, you can add the waiver of premium rider to your plan. If you are disabled and unable to work, your insurance premiums will be waived.
USAA sells its life insurance plans directly to customers. Once you join USAA, you can submit your application online.
You can reach customer service by calling 800-531-8722. Its customer support line is staffed Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CT, and on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. CT.
USAA also has a virtual assistant that can answer basic questions 24/7.
As a way to help consumers compare insurance companies, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) collects all complaints received about insurance companies. Each year, the NAIC releases companies’ complaint ratios, a number that reflects the number of complaints a company received relative to its share of the market.
The national complaint index is 1.0. If a company has a complaint ratio over 1.0, it received more complaints than is typical for its size. If the company has a ratio below 1.0, it received fewer complaints than is typical for its market share.
In 2019, USAA’s complaint ratio was 0.13, which is well below the national complaint index. The company received just 10 complaints throughout the year, which is much lower than expected for a company of its size.
Over the past three years, USAA has had a much lower complaint ratio than the national complaint index, indicating that the company receives much fewer complaints than expected for its market share.
USAA has a strong reputation in the insurance industry.
AM Best is a global rating agency and information provider that focuses on the insurance industry. It issues its opinion on each companies’ ability to meet their contractual and policy obligations and rates companies’ financial positions.
In 2019, AM Best affirmed USAA’s Financial Strength Rating of A++ (Superior), its highest possible rating. The rating recognized USAA’s strong operating performance, favorable business profile, and very strong enterprise risk management.
However, USAA was not included in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study. The study evaluated and ranked 24 life insurance companies in terms of customer interactions, product offerings, pricing, and communication.
Like most insurance companies, USAA gives customers a 10-day free look period, though you may have longer depending on your state.
With the free look period, you have 10 days after you receive your policy to review the documents and change your mind about your plan. If you decide to cancel, you can get a full refund of all premiums paid.
After the free look period expires, cancellation policies and fees can vary based on your plan, so make sure you read your contract carefully before signing.
To cancel your policy, call 800-531-8722.
When it comes to pricing, USAA is competitive and transparent. You can get a quote online without being a USAA member. However, keep in mind that the quote you get is just an initial estimate; your actual cost will be determined after you complete a thorough health and lifestyle questionnaire and medical exam.
Below, we got quotes for 35-year-old individuals in excellent health in Pennsylvania. USAA was unique in that the premiums were the same for men and women; typically, women pay less than men for life insurance.
Term Life Pricing: 10-Year Term
|Coverage Amount||35-Year-Old Female||35-Year-Old Male|
Like other life insurance companies, USAA does require you to choose either “male” or “female” when getting a quote or submitting a life insurance application; there isn’t an option if you identify as nonbinary. While being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance, you should be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect an awareness of gender issues.
USAA offers whole, term, and universal life policies with high coverage amounts and useful riders for military families. However, not everyone is eligible for USAA membership, so they won’t qualify for a USAA policy.
If you’re looking for similar life insurance plans and customizable options without the restrictions of USAA, consider MassMutual. MassMutual has five different life insurance plans, including term, whole, and universal life policies.
Unlike USAA, which sells its policies directly to customers, MassMutual allows you to consult with financial professionals when purchasing life insurance. If you need help coming up with a comprehensive plan for your family’s financial security, this feature is a major advantage over USAA.
|Market Share||Not applicable||Fourth-largest in the U.S., 5.9%|
|Number of Plans||5||5|
|Dividends for 2020||Not applicable||$1.7 billion|
|Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|Service Method||Phone, web||Financial professional, web|
|AM Best Rating||A+ (Superior)||A++ (Superior)|
|Price Rank||Average||About Average|
USAA is a solid choice for a life insurance company, offering high coverage amounts and term, whole, and universal life policies for military service members and their families. And, you can get quotes online for all three of its insurance options, helping you make an informed decision when it comes to pricing. However, you must be a USAA member to qualify for a policy, and membership isn’t available to everyone.
If you aren’t eligible for USAA membership, you’ll have to get life insurance from another company.
How We Review Life Insurance Companies
Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative approach that analyzes each insurer on their stability and reliability, customer service, claims experience, diversity of product lines, and cost. We compare the terms of each type of policy offered—including available coverage amounts, optional riders, and premium payment options—with those of other major life insurance companies. Lastly, we look at how the company is rated by third-party organizations to determine its reliability and overall reputation.
Learn more: Read our full Life Insurance Review Methodology.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "Complaint Index." Accessed September 24, 2020.
Businesswire. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of United Services Automobile Association, Its Subsidiaries and USAA Capital Corporation." Accessed September 24, 2020.
J.D. Power. "Life Insurance and Annuity Providers Are More Customer-Centric but Gaps Remain, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed September 24, 2020.