USAA is one of the most well-known insurance providers in the country, and for good reason — it exclusively serves military service members and their families. The company has better rates than many competitors because of their limited customer base, but these limitations mean not everyone is eligible for coverage. However, if you are an active military member or the spouse or child of a USAA member, take a look at what the company has to offer. The rates, benefits, and advantages of being a member are worlds away from standard insurance companies.
USAA Insurance — History and Origin
"Service to the Services." If you've never heard this line before, we can't blame you — it was the USAA motto in 1924. The company was founded in 1922 when 25 active-service military officers came together to ensure each other's automobiles. That year, the company elected its first president, hired a general manager as its first employee, and obtained its first customer in Major Walter Moore.
Eligibility and Membership
What separates USAA from so many other companies is the strict limit on eligibility. The company only serves current and former military personnel and their families; civilians with no military ties aren't eligible for membership within the company. In addition, former military members must be honorably separated from the service. Those with dishonorable discharges do not qualify.
Others that qualify include Officer candidates in commissioning programs like ROTC or OCS, the adult children of USAA members with existing auto or property insurance policies, and widows and widowers of USAA members.
The USAA Community
The USAA Community is a collection of blog posts, forums, and other ways for members to communicate with one another, regardless of where they are in the world. The community not only helps members stay connected and in touch during deployments, but it provides a host of educational tools and resources. Example posts include, "Steps to Start Your Military Career on the Right Foot," and "5 Ways to Get Military Kids Excited About Moving Overseas."
Members can search the community for subjects they're interested in or view a list of potential topics. The most recent and most active topics can be found at the bottom of the page, making navigation to trending topics easy.
USAA Products and Services
Although USAA started out offering automotive insurance, the company has since expanded to a wide range of coverage.
The original purpose of USAA was for auto insurance. After all, USAA is an acronym for "United Services Automobile Association." There are multiple advantages to getting coverage through USAA, including potential discounts on purchasing a new vehicle through the USAA Auto Circle. The company also works with military families to find flexible payment schedules that line up with military pay schedules.
As any military family knows, life is rarely ever lived in one place. Renters insurance protects you and your family's rental home, wherever that may happen to be. Many apartment complexes require renters insurance in order to qualify for a lease.
If something were to happen to your home, you want to make sure you're protected. Homeowner insurance covers fire, theft, vandalism, liability, most weather-related events, and even identity theft.
Losing a loved one isn't something anyone wants to think about, but it's important to be prepared. Life insurance through USAA provides the necessary funding to pay for funerals and any outstanding debts that person might have had.
USAA covers a host of other areas that include motorcycle, RV, and boat insurance, small business insurance, flood insurance, valuable personal property insurance, and more. If you aren't sure what type of coverage you may need for a particular situation, your USAA agent will be able to help you determine what coverage type best works for you.
The Most Common USAA Product/Service
USAA's claim to fame was and still is, auto insurance. With thousands of customers across the country and consistently high ratings, USAA's auto insurance policies are some of the most recommended. The limited availability means the company is able to offer benefits and rates on its policies that competitors cannot.
USAA Auto Insurance
Let's take a look at why the auto insurance policies from USAA are so well-liked. To start, the company provides free quotes to potential customers, allowing you to see what your rate would be before you make any sort of commitment. USAA also provides educational resources like auto tips, the benefits of setting a higher deductible, and more.
Liability, Collision, and Comprehensive Coverage
Liability is the minimum insurance required by law that a driver must have. In the event of an accident, this insurance helps to pay for repairs to the other person's car if you're found at fault. If you're financing a vehicle through a lender, you're usually required to have full coverage until the vehicle is paid off — this means comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive coverage protects your car from damage not caused by a collision, such as weather or vandalism. Collision coverage protects your car from damage caused during an accident.
One of the major concerns in an accident following bodily injury and repairs to the vehicle are increased insurance rates. With accident forgiveness, your premiums won't increase after your first at-fault accident provided you have been accident-free for five years.
Getting estimated quotes for USAA insurance is difficult, as the service is only available to military members. That said, we've looked at sample rates across the internet, and USAA is about average. While the company is the cheapest, it certainly isn't the most expensive, especially for single female drivers — they qualify for some of the best rates out there. USAA also offers multiple incentives and discounts for drivers to reduce their premiums while still maintaining the same level of coverage as before.
Customers in general love USAA. After 5,054 reviews, the company has a 4.6 out of 5 rating. Here are what some of the customers have said.
USAA Homeowner and Renter's Insurance
Homeowners and renters insurance protect the same things, but for different lengths. When you're renting a home, you need to ensure it's protected against theft, fire, and other potential events...but only as long as you live there. Once you leave, it's the responsibility of the next tenant. However, one you purchase a home, the same concept applies over the long term. USAA offers both homeowners and renters insurance.
Homeowner insurance protects your home against the potential events you don't want to think about: a fire that destroys your home, a tornado that tears off your roof, burglaries, vandalism, and it also provides liability coverage if someone gets hurt while on your property. In certain cases, homeowner insurance might also provide protection against identity theft.
USAA sets itself apart by providing replacement cost coverage at today's value without considering depreciation. The policy is also geared toward military members, which means uniforms are covered. If you bundle your policy together with an auto insurance policy, you can save 10% on your premiums.
Because USAA only serves the military, it's impossible to obtain a quote if you aren't one of their target customers. That said, our research has revealed that USAA tends to be slightly more expensive on average, but still affordable. In addition, there are a number of discounts available to help lessen the expense of home insurance.
Renters insurance provides liability to you as a renter while also protecting your personal belongings. USAA also provides standard flood and earthquake coverage, something that the competition does not do. In addition, the replacement cost coverage means you'll receive enough to purchase a new television if yours is lost or stolen — even if the one you lost wasn't worth as much as a new one in today's market.
USAA's renters insurance is on par with the competition. The rates are affordable, but if you choose to pay more than your standard premium, you may be eligible for advanced coverage on your rental including flood, earthquake, and replacement cost coverage.
USAA renters insurance covers the following items:
- Military equipment
- Fine art
- Sports equipment
- Music equipment
- Hearing aids
USAA homeowner's insurance protects your home against the following:
- Most weather-related events
- Identity theft
USAA's Umbrella Policy
There are instances when your existing insurance isn't enough to cover all of the expenses. For example, if you have a party and a neighbor injuries themselves and seeks legal retribution, your home insurance liability might not be enough to cover all of their medical bills. In instances like this, you'll need an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy provides you with additional coverage, and you can get large amounts of coverage for relatively low prices. USAA's umbrella coverage begins at just $19 per month.
Curious about what other customers have to say about these two services? Only 55% of customers recommend USAA homeowners insurance, while 80% of customers recommend their renters insurance.
USAA Life Insurance
Funerals are expensive. End-of-life expenses can overwhelm even financially stable families. If something happens to you, the last thing you want to do is place an additional burden on your loved ones. Life insurance helps protect against this by providing the necessary funds to pay for a funeral, outstanding bills, and put your family in solid financial standing until they have time to grieve.
Life Insurance Policies
USAA offers four main types of life insurance policies.
Term life is a type of life insurance that is only in effect for a certain amount of time. It is best used in conjunction with another policy but can be a helpful addition when your family faces large expenses, such as a mortgage or car purchase.
Term life for Military is similar to term life but is catered specifically for soldiers and the risks they face. This policy also includes other benefits like an accelerated review time, military severe injury coverage, and more.
Whole life is the most common type of life insurance. This type of policy tends to be more expensive but is in effect for the entirety of your life. This is the type of policy people invest in for funeral expenses, and is often purchased for children by parents at a young age.
Universal life is a whole life policy that builds cash value over time and has flexible payments. Many universal life policies pay out dividends and actually grow in value over time. Purchasing a universal life policy for a young child means its value might have doubled or tripled by the end of their life.
Life Insurance Rates
Life insurance rates are determined by a variety of different factors including your health, employment, and age. Term life and term life for military policies start at $14.15 per month. Whole life policies start at $70.74 per month. Universal life policies start at $84.57 per month. The more coverage you want, the more expensive your premiums will be. If you aren't sure how much coverage you may need, USAA has a calculator to help you determine exactly how much you should invest in.
Life Insurance Reviews
What do customers think of USAA's life insurance?
The Most Common Complaints About USAA Life
The most common complaints about USAA life insurance deals with the increasing premiums. In recent years, insurance rates have increased across the board, not just with USAA; however, long-term customers are angry that their rates have gone up. Many cite a feeling of betrayal as a result. Another common complaint dealt with the cost of the insurance; compared to other life insurance companies, many customers feel that USAA is too expensive.
USAA provides coverage for events beyond the 'standard.' Valuable personal property insurance is used to insure expensive items like paintings or rare jewels. Flood insurance is an additional bit of insurance that most homeowners policies lack.
Recreational Vehicle Insurance
USAA also provides recreational vehicle insurance, which covers a wide range of nontraditional vehicles:
- Motorcycle/Moped/ATV insurance
- Boat and Jet Ski insurance
- Motor Home insurance
- Antique & Collectible Car insurance
- Aviation Insurance
The rates for these policies vary widely and are largely based on your personal needs.
Small Business Insurance
USAA also provides small business insurance which provides coverage for the things you need to keep your business running (like computers, offices, etc.) and even your employees. The policy combines business property insurance and liability insurance to ensure you're financially protected against all eventualities. Again, the rates are hard to estimate as each business will need different levels of coverage.
Additional Insurance Solutions
If the coverage you need can't be found under any of the other policies, consider one of these:
- Umbrella insurance
- Mobile phone protection
- Business insurance
- Special event insurance
- Travel insurance Pet insurance
- Personal and commercial bonds
USAA Insurance Discounts
One of the great benefits of USAA is their affordable, competitive rates. Another is the potential discounts available to customers:
- Safe driver discounts are available to those that maintain a good driving record for more than five years.
- Defensive driving discounts are available to those that take an approved course.
- Driver training discounts are available to those under 21 that complete a basic driver training course.
- Good student discounts are available to those who meet specific academic criteria.
- New vehicle discounts are available for those with a vehicle less than three years old.
- Annual mileage discounts are available based on the number of miles you travel in a year.
- Multi-vehicle discounts are available to those who extend their coverage to two ore more vehicles.
- Vehicle storage discounts of up to 60% are available to those you insure a vehicle in storage.
In addition, if you start your own policy after being on your parents' policy you could save as much as 10% on premiums. Combining multiple policies, such as home and auto, can also result in savings.
USAA Insurance Strengths
Here are the areas where USAA excels the most and sets itself apart from the competition.
- The customer reviews are very good overall.
- The complaints are few and far between.
- USAA offers one of the lowest rates for insurance out there.
- Potential members get accelerated review if they are set to deploy soon.
- The USAA website is full of resources and educational material.
- USAA offers a lifetime guaranteed renewal.
USAA Insurance Weaknesses
Despite its numerous strengths, there are a few places where USAA could stand to improve.
- Coverage is only available to members of the military and their families.
- There are no local representatives. To get in touch, you have to reach out via phone or online.
Cancelling USAA Insurance
USAA is a direct insurer, which means there are no middlemen to go through. This can make canceling your insurance policy easier than it might be from a company that underwrites your insurance via a third party. The first and easiest way to cancel your insurance is to log in to your USAA account on their website and request to cancel it there.
The next way is to call 1-800-531-8722 and speak to a representative to request cancellation. Finally, you can take the traditional route and mail a letter to USAA at 9800 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio, TX 78288 and request cancellation via paper.
You can cancel your policy at any time. Under certain circumstances, you'll even be refunded the pro-rated amount remaining on your coverage.
How to File a USAA Claim
Because there are no local representatives for USAA, you'll need to file either over the phone or online. The easiest way is via the app. Select the insurance icon, and from there tap claims. You can create a new claim or check the status of a current claim.
If you need to contact USAA by phone, the number is 1-800-531-8722. You can also file a claim on the USAA website at any time of day and a representative will be assigned to you immediately.
If you need to report damage or an accident, you would follow the same steps. Once you've entered the basic information, a representative of the company will contact you for more information and get the process started.
Do USAA services vary from state to state?
USAA serves its members across all fifty states. However, some states have legislation that prevents certain types of coverage. Depending on the type of insurance you seek and the state in which you live, you may not be eligible for certain coverage.
USAA Customer Service
To get in touch with USAA customer service, call 1-800-531-8722. Someone can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also reach a representative via online live chat.
USAA Customer Reviews
What are customers saying about USAA as a whole? The ratings vary based on the type of insurance. For example, USAA Life has a rating of four stars after 73 reviews on Consumer Affairs, but only one and one-half stars after 201 reviews for USAA Auto Insurance. USAA also scores a 3.8 out of 5 rating from the Better Business Bureau. Here are a few of the reviews we looked at:
The reviews are overwhelmingly positive but have begun a gradual shift towards lower ratings and dissatisfied customers in the past few years due to changes within the company.
These are some of the most frequently asked questions we've encountered concerning USAA.
How much does USAA Insurance go up after an accident and/or speeding ticket?
A ticket can affect your policy but is not always guaranteed to. If the rate does increase, the effect will last approximately three years from the date of the ticket. Rate increases from a single ticket are usually around 4%.
What does comprehensive insurance cover with USAA Insurance?
According to the USAA website, comprehensive coverage protects against damage that results from anything other than a collision or a rollover. This includes damage because of theft, vandalism, fire, hail, and flooding.
Does my USAA Insurance cover a rental car?
Your USAA auto insurance will cover a rental car, but only if you rent through the company's ASC car rental program. A more thorough breakdown of when USAA covers rental vehicles can be found here.
Does my USAA car insurance cover me in Canada or anywhere outside the USA?
Your USAA policy will extend to cover your vehicle while you're in Canada. However, Mexico requires visitors to get liability insurance through a Mexico-based insurance company.
Does USAA Insurance use credit scores?
USAA uses a credit-based insurance score, but will not deny someone based on credit. Your credit score is a small part of the overall determining factors that help USAA decide on your premiums.
What are USAA Insurance's financial strengths?
USAA has high financial strength ratings from the major companies:
- A.M. Best: A++
- S&P: AA+
- Moody's: Aaa
The company has been in business for almost 100 years, and the limited customer base means that USAA has more than enough financial backing to pay out any claims that might be made.
Does USAA offer insurance for motorcycles?
USAA offers recreational vehicle insurance that covers motorcycles, mopeds, and ATVs.
What is USAA's BBB accreditation?
USAA carries a B+ rating from the BBB.
Which life insurance plan is best suited for me?
The best life insurance plan for you is one that you work out with a representative. Consider your current health, obligations, and expenses, then determine whether you need term, whole life, universal life, or some combination of these.
What life policies are available for veterans and civil servants?
USAA offers term life, whole life, and universal life insurance policies regardless of your service status as long as you qualify for membership.
How to add someone to your car insurance? Which members of my family are eligible for the insurance?
All members of your household are eligible. You need to add all licensed drivers in your household to receive an accurate quote for your monthly premiums.
Does USAA offer burial insurance?
USAA offers whole life insurance, which can function as burial insurance.
Does USAA offer gap insurance?
USAA offers a form of gap insurance called "Total Loss Protection." This insurance helps pay the difference between the value of your vehicle and the remaining loan balance in the event your vehicle is totaled or stolen.
Can I still get a membership if I am not in the military?
If you are a former member of the military, enrolled in an eligible program like ROTC, or are the child or spouse of someone in the military, you are eligible for USAA membership.
What products can I get if I am not in the military but become a member?
If you are eligible for USAA, you can utilize almost all of the products and services the company offers except those specifically reserved for active service military.
What family members are eligible for the USAA insurance services?
Widows, widowers, and un-remarried former spouses of USAA members are eligible for membership, as are the children of USAA members.
Am I eligible if I had a family member who was in the military and is now retired?
You are only eligible if the family member was a parent, and if they are a member of USAA themselves.
Can I sign up if my military member is not insured with the USAA insurance?
No. Membership only extends to the family of existing USAA members.
How can I save on car insurance on USAA?
If you want to save money on car insurance, utilize some of USAA's various discounts in order to keep your premiums low. Taking a defensive driving course can reduce rates, as well.
Can a widow of a veteran sign up with USAA?
The widow of a veteran is only eligible to sign up with USAA if her husband joined USAA before or during the marriage.
How and where can I make my payments?
From the online account management page, select the "Pay Bill" option to see your current balance owed to USAA. From there, you can choose to make a one-time payment or set up automatic bill pay.
Does USAA insurance cover someone else if they are driving my car?
In most cases, yes — but only if they are using the car for a limited time. If someone will drive your car for longer than a few days, they will need insurance of their own. In addition, some states don't extend coverage to non-primary drivers.
Does USAA cover national guards?
Yes. The National Guard is a branch of the military and therefore eligible for USAA.
Do I get a discount for my home insurance if I have an alarm system?
At the present time, USAA offers savings for a centrally monitored security system.
Do I need to get a physical for the life insurance?
No. The majority of insurance companies no longer require you to get a physical before purchasing a life insurance policy.
Thinking of Going With USAA -- Our Verdict
USAA is a solid company with a number of benefits that other insurance companies just don't match. However, it's not for everyone — literally. A huge portion of the population doesn't qualify for coverage due to their civilian status, but if you do qualify for USAA, it is definitely worth considering. The company has routinely gotten great reviews from customers throughout the years, and only in recent years have some of the opinions began to shift. However, in our experience, USAA's benefits far outweigh any of the negatives that might arise. If you qualify, take the time to see what sort of coverage you need and speak to a representative to find out if USAA can help you.