USAA Auto Insurance

by Nikola Djurkovic
USAA Auto Insurance Review Cover Image

Carsurance Verdict: Despite some recent customer service issues, USAA is still a terrific choice. It’s an affordable, highly rated company that has all the basics covered. However, it’s only available to the US military and close family members.

USAA is based in San Antonio, Texas, and it offers auto insurance exclusively to current and former US military personnel and their families. The company was founded as a mutual self-insurance company by 25 US army members who were unable to find auto insurance elsewhere because they were deemed as high risk. As many USAA insurance reviews note, the company later expanded its accessibility by including other types of insurance as well as banking services.

USAA’s motto on their website is “Service. Savings. Satisfaction,” advertising significant savings and excellent customer service for those who serve in the military. We can confirm that there’s a great deal of truth to this claim and that USAA is perhaps the best option for those who are eligible to buy its insurance. Read the rest of this review to see how USAA compares to competitors like Geico and Progressive and how the company scores in our comprehensive auto insurance metrics—not to mention among the other vetted USAA auto insurance reviews we evaluated to reach out conclusions.

Product Overview

USAA car insurance is available in all 50 states but only to USAA members. The club membership comes with many bonuses, such as car rental discounts, travel deals, cheaper home security, car buying discounts, shopping rewards and much more. Unfortunately, only active or former members of the US army and their families qualify for USAA membership.

This is a shame since the company excels all over the board according to our research. It has excellent rates, superior customer service, solid discounts and even affordable policies for drivers with a driving record that’s not pristine. It would easily be in our top three insurance companies if it weren’t for this restriction.

USAA car insurance reviews consistently praise the company’s online tools. The website is elegant looking and easy to navigate, while the streamlined app is among the top-rated insurance products on Google Play and the App Store. You can manage your entire insurance plan online if you prefer. You can do almost anything on the app—from getting a quote to renewing your insurance.

Non-members would have to call the customer service number for USAA to report their insurance claims, which could be an annoyance since some competitors offer the option to report a claim online against their drivers even if you didn’t purchase their products. However, this is merely a small chip in USAA’s otherwise rock-solid armor.

 

Signature Feature—Affordable Vehicle Storage for Those on Active Duty

Since USAA is a company made for the US military personnel, it comes as no surprise that their best feature caters to this demographic. Those who are proudly protecting their homeland on active duty can get up to a 60% discount on the storage of their insured vehicle.

Types of Insurance Offered

The basic coverage options are collision, comprehensive, property damage liability, bodily injury liability, medical expenses, personal injury protection, and underinsured/uninsured motorist protection. As far as optional coverages go, we agree with some USAA insurance reviews that the company offers a sufficient number of optional coverages to satisfy an average customer, but they do have less coverage options than some other competitors. Among add-ons for your regular car insurance policy, you will find:

Accident Forgiveness – This coverage is free after five years of driving without any violations, or it can be purchased in some states at the beginning of a term. It prevents your rate from increasing after your first at-fault accident.

Roadside Assistance – This optional coverage pays the cost of roadside repairs, flat tire changes, battery jump-starts, fuel/oil deliveries, locksmith services, and towing in case your car breaks down. Agero is the partner that delivers the USAA roadside assistance. You can contact them 24/7, by calling 800-531-8555.

Rideshare Insurance – This is an excellent choice for those working for companies such as Uber and Lyft since your regular auto insurance policy and ridesharing company’s coverage do not protect you fully. This coverage adds insurance while you are waiting for a match, are on the way to pick someone up, or are already driving a passenger. If you work for Uber specifically, it’ll be fun to check our guide to the most interesting stats about the company.

Extended Benefits – You can buy this coverage only if you already have medical payment coverage too. It provides essential services, disability benefits, and it also adds a specific death benefit. This coverage varies depending on the state, but you can always dial the USAA auto insurance number (800-531-8722) for more details.

Gap Insurance – If your car is totaled, gap insurance pays the difference between the actual cash value of your vehicle and the amount left on your loan or lease. While USAA does not offer this coverage, it provides Total Loss Protection for drivers who got a car loan through USAA, which functions in the same way. The limit can go up to $50,000.

Rental Reimbursement – While you are waiting for your car to be repaired, USAA will pay the expenses of the vehicle you are renting to get around. USAA car rental service cooperates with many big rental companies such as Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and Hertz, meaning your expenses may be billed directly to USAA if you opt for one of these companies.

Financial Strength

A company’s financial strength tells you if you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth if an accident happens. If a company is financially weak, it will not have the resources to pay some claims.

The USAA insurance company rating from A. M. best is the highest possible: A++ or “Superior.” Additionally, the company holds the 100th place in the 2018 Fortune 500 list, further confirming its strong financial state. This indicates that you have no need to worry whether or not USAA will have you covered in case of a car crash.

Customer Service

We found that the company excels in the customer service department, and most USAA insurance reviews agree.

In J.D. Power’s 2018 ranking, the most authoritative study on the quality of customer service in the car insurance industry, the company placed first in both claims satisfaction and insurance shopping categories. Additionally, USAA is ranked first in every single region in J.D. Power’s 2018 regional rankings. This is quite the achievement!

USAA customer service has about the average NAIC ratio for a company of its size, equal to 0.94. This is not the best result since the competition usually scores better. Geico, Travelers, and State Farm score 0.62, 0.40, and 0.44, respectively, while the companies that get excellent scores in J.D. Power’s study, like Amica and Erie, scored 0.46 and 0.64.Rating of USAA auto insurance in various customer service categories.


USAA reviews on Yelp and Consumer Affairs are slightly better than those of the competition. For example, on Yelp, most of the US insurance companies have a one-star average. In comparison, USAA has a two-star average.

The complaints you find there are typical for such sites, citing low settlements, slow handling of USAA claims, and refusal to pay expenses for vehicles damaged by the company’s drivers, etc. However, these types of complaints are standard for the industry, meaning they are no reason to discredit USAA’s company.

The company is not accredited on the Better Business Bureau’s website, though there are reviews on the site that are a bit worse than the competition. Of the USAA insurance reviews with the BBB, the company averages a B- score and 1.5 stars out of 5. Again, these results should not compromise the company in any way.

In the end, we would put our trust in the J.D. Power ratings, meaning our conclusion is that the majority of customers will have a pleasant experience if they choose USAA for their car insurance.

Discounts

We agree with the majority of USAA auto insurance reviews that highlight how the company offers a significant number of discounts that can lower the premium substantially. Some of the discounts’ descriptions show the exact reduction in percentages, however, for the majority, it just explains how the discount works.

We wish more information was present on the company’s website, but we understand that many discounts depend on factors such as your location and driving profile. With this in mind, you may have to call the USAA customer service number to find the exact reduction. The discounts available are as follows:

Safe Driver – If you have a good driving record for more than five years, you can get a discount. You will get Accident Forgiveness too!

Defensive Driving – If you have completed an accredited driving course, a discount is available.

Driver Training – This discount is for drivers younger than 21 years, and they can obtain it by completing a basic driver training course.

Good Student – Students who maintain excellent grades can get a discount. Usually, the requirement for the GPA is 3.0 or higher. Since the exact details were not available, it is best to call USAA insurance number for more information.

New Vehicle – If the insured vehicle is less than three years old, a discount is available on your car insurance.

Multi-Vehicle – If you are insuring two or more cars with USAA, you can get a discount.

Annual Mileage – If you drive a low number of miles on a yearly basis, you are eligible for a discount.

Length of Membership Savings – If you stick with USAA, after a couple of years, you will get even lower rates.

Family Discount – If your parents had their insurance with USAA, you could save up to 10% by continuing their tradition. Reviews on USAA insurance note that this can be especially useful given the fact that only military personnel and their families can purchase their insurance.

Military Installation Discount – If you garage your vehicle on a base where you are dispatched, you can save up to 15% on comprehensive coverage.

Bundle and Save – Save up to 10% on your premium if you buy homeowners or renters insurance with USAA as well.

About Insurance Rates

We were unable to conduct our USAA auto insurance rate comparison since we are not eligible to apply for a quote—only army members and their families can do that. Fortunately, we found enough information in other reviews, where the company is compared with other insurers that we have full data on.

ValuePenguin picked USAA over Geico, Progressive, and State Farm. If you’ve been following our reviews, you probably know that Geico and Progressive are the two most affordable options on the market. However, some USAA home insurance reviews note that the company offers solid rates, especially for high-value homes.

Both for drivers with or without previous violations, USAA offers similar prices to these two companies in all categories except for a family of three, where it was more expensive. This indicates that the company’s rates are among the lowest. Those looking for a bargain should definitely put USAA at the top of their list.

USAA vs Their Top Competitors

USAA vs Allstate

When comparing these two companies, it should be noted that USAA car insurance is not available for everyone. However, if you have an option to choose between USAA and Allstate, the former is the way to go. They offer lower prices, better customer service and those additional benefits of being a USAA member should not be taken for granted. Allstate gets some momentum with their Guaranteed Claims Satisfaction, but they quickly wane when all other parameters are considered. You can buy USAA auto insurance with confidence.

USAA vs State Farm

We were able to find a direct comparison between the prices of these two companies, and USAA comes as a more affordable option in every single scenario. Add to that the top-notch customer service, USAA club members’ perks, and polished online tools, and we have a clear winner. Those with newer vehicles should check State Farm, but in the end, if you are eligible, USAA auto insurance reviews show the company winning by a landslide.

USAA vs Travelers Insurance

Travelers manages to at least put up a fight against USAA by offering discounts for electric/hybrid vehicles and excellent options for new car owners. It has a wider network of local agents and decent online tools as well. However, USAA scores better where it matters most, by offering more affordable policies and better customer service. If you qualify to be a member of USAA,  you can proceed freely, knowing that you are buying auto insurance that’s among the best in the market.

Best Alternatives

For those who can get insurance through USAA, there are only a couple of solid alternatives. Geico and Progressive are the cheapest options in the market, according to the best auto insurance reviews; however, both companies score lower in the customer service department. If you do not want to make that compromise, Erie, Amica, and Auto-Owners are the way to go, since they all offer reasonable rates and score near the top in all respectable customer satisfaction studies.

The Hartford is also a terrific choice for senior customers, while American Family is the right place to go if you are looking for many discounts. Nonetheless, if we had the opportunity to apply for USAA insurance, we would certainly would, since the company is among the best overall in the market, and the USAA membership only comes as a bonus.

Expert Thoughts

We studied many USAA auto insurance reviews, and we must say that the consensus is that the company is an excellent option for those eligible. The reviews praised affordable rates for auto and homeowners insurance and excellent customer service. We wholeheartedly agree with the assessments that USAA excels in these two departments.

On the other hand, some comments complained about the low number of optional discounts; however, these particular USAA auto insurance customer reviews seem to be over-critical, since the company is average in this section according to our research.

The highest praises come from J.D. Power, the industry expert on cars and auto insurance. It puts USAA on top in its insurance shopping and claims satisfaction studies, and it even rates the company as the best in all US regions. This is indeed a stellar result.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is USAA Good Insurance for Cars?

This company is among the best choices according to the USAA car insurance reviews we checked alongside our own detailed analysis. They offer top of the line customer service, affordable prices and being a member of USAA comes with added benefits like car rental and travel discounts. The biggest downside is that only former and current US army members and their families can apply for USAA insurance. However, if you are eligible, we highly recommend getting a USAA insurance quote.

2. How do I switch to USAA?

If you would like to switch to USAA, you first need to check if you are eligible for their auto insurance. Only former and current US army members and their eligible family members can buy USAA products. If you qualify, you can easily join on the company’s website, and then purchase all the insurance and banking products that you need.

3. Who qualifies for USAA?

You can purchase USAA insurance if you are a former or current US army member or a close family member.

4. What do I need to open an account with USAA?

You need to be either a current or former US military personnel or a close family member to open an account on the company’s website and buy their insurance.

5. Is USAA’s customer service 24 hours?

USAA insurance reviews confirm that the company’s line operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Their number is 800-531-8722, in case you have any questions.

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