Founded in 1922 the United Services Automobile Association quickly expanded to offer membership and auto insurance to all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Because it exclusively serves current and retired military members and their families, USAA car insurance policies are crafted to fit the needs of soldiers living on military bases and those deployed overseas. USAA has evolved to offer an impressive selection of financial products, including, insurance, investment vehicles and healthcare coverages. It’s a company with a sound financial footing and solid ratings.
- Pros and Cons
- Company Overview
Strong consumer ratings in overall satisfaction, claims, and the shopping experience
Insurance products tailored to the needs of active-duty servicemembers
Potential dividends for members
Accident forgiveness endorsement may be available for purchase
Better financial rating than some other insurers
Exclusive to military members, veterans, and their families
Cannot get an online quote without membership
Worse-than-average digital shopping scores
- Official Website www.usaa.com
- Insurance Offered Motorcycle, motorhome, boat, classic/collector car, home and property, life and health, small business, pet, travel, mobile phone
- Customer Service Available by phone (800-531-8722) Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern.
- Year Founded 1922
Policyholders struggling to make payments can call USAA at 1-800-531-8722 to make alternative payment arrangements.
USAA Car Insurance Coverage
USAA offers all the standard car insurance coverages you’d expect from a major provider, plus a few coverage options that are a good fit for servicemembers:
- Liability (bodily injury and physical damage, required in most states)
- Personal injury protection (PIP)
- Medical payments
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist
Optional coverages or endorsements that may be available to add to your policy, depending on your location:
- Rental car reimbursement
- Roadside assistance
- Non-owner coverage
- Overseas coverage
- Auto Touring Policy (covers you when borrowing or renting vehicles stateside while on personal leave or temporary military assignment)
- Accident forgiveness
USAA Car Insurance Costs
Insurers offer unique rates depending upon individual factors, including your driving record, location, age, your vehicle and how you use it (business, personal only), typical mileage, credit-based insurance score, and other factors that can vary between U.S. states. The amount of insurance coverage you want to purchase also impacts your premium.
Servicemembers stationed overseas can take advantage of reduced premiums for vehicles stored on base, and special plans designed for deployed military members.
USAA claims that those who switch to its car insurance save an average of more than $700 annually, but USAA only provides quotes to members.
USAA’s website does not offer options for self-selecting as transgender or non-binary when getting a quote.
USAA Car Insurance Discounts
USAA offers a notable selection of discounts to help reduce your auto insurance premium, although discounts may differ based upon your location:
- Youth discounts: Good student and driver training.
- Loyalty discounts: Bundled (up to 10%), multi-vehicle, family membership (up to 10%), and renewal.
- Safety discounts: Stored vehicle (up to 60%), mileage, good driving record, and defensive driving course.
- Other discounts: New car, and garaged at military base (up to 15% on comprehensive coverage).
USAA also offers car rental discounts of up to 25%, which may come in handy for servicemembers on leave or otherwise traveling internationally.
Your USAA coverage includes a “Subscriber Account” that may receive non-taxable dividends annually in December, depending on the company’s yearly performance. USAA policyholders can choose to apply the distribution to their auto bill, receive it as a check, or send it to a bank account. USAA Senior Bonuses provide an additional distribution for members who’ve been with USAA for 40 years or longer.
USAA Car Insurance Availability
USAA is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and is open to:
- Active Duty, Guard, or Reserve U.S. military members
- Separated or retired veterans with an honorable discharge
- Contracted cadets and midshipmen, and officer candidates
- Spouses, children, stepchildren, and in-laws of those currently serving or of an honorably-discharged veteran
- Widows and unmarried former spouses of qualified servicemembers and vets who joined before or during the marriage
USAA is authorized to provide auto insurance in select overseas destinations, or can assist you with arranging overseas insurance if you’re deploying internationally. As well, USAA’s international auto policy covers cars during shipment and allows you to register your car in an international destination.
How to Get a USAA Insurance Quote
USAA only offers quotes to its members. If you qualify for membership, you can obtain a quote at the USAA website or by calling the provider’s toll-free phone number, 800-531-8722, or 210-531-8722.
How to File a Claim with USAA
USAA car insurance policyholders can file a claim at the USAA website, using the mobile app, or by calling the insurer’s toll-free number, 800-531-8722. USAA states that by filing a claim in conjunction with the app’s photo estimation tool, you can receive a repair estimate within four hours.
USAA has a list of preferred collision repair shops it can provide. Repairs made at preferred shops include a lifetime warranty, and most shops can arrange for an Enterprise Rent-A-Car rental.
USAA Customer Service
Year after year, USAA consistently scores high marks in many consumer satisfaction studies.
|Study||How USAA Fared|
|2019 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study||Highest score among 25 insurers|
|2020 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study||Highest score in all 11 regions|
|2020 J.D. Power U.S. Insurance Shopping Study||Highest score among nine insurers|
|2020 J.D. Power Insurance Digital Experience Study||Highest score in digital service|
|NAIC Complaints Index||1.00 (Average)|
J.D. Power doesn’t rank USAA in its official rankings because of USAA’s membership requirements but it does score the insurer. In all four J.D. Power surveys listed above ranging from customer satisfaction to shopping experience USAA scored higher than any other insurer.
In the 2020 Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study, it scored an average of 890 points, which was well above average (833) and higher than any other insurer in all 11 regions.
USAA had the highest satisfaction score among all insurers, in the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.
USAA’s auto-insurance complaint rate with the National Association of Insurance Commissions was 1.00 in 2019, which is average for the industry. Most complaints concerned unsatisfactory settlements or offers and delays in claim handling. Its 1.00 score means it received fewer complaints in 2019 compared to 2018 (1.15) and 2017 (1.14).
Digital Service and Shopping Experience
The one exception to USAA’s top-tier scores is in digital shopping, where they scored below average and if ranked, would be in the lower tier. However, USAA did well in the overall quote-to-purchase shopping experience, so if you get frustrated with the digital shopping experience, try calling customer service.
In J.D. Power’s 2019 Insurance Digital Experience Study, USAA scored better than any other insurer for service. With USAA’s mobile app, you can access your ID card, request roadside assistance, and report claims.
An insurance provider’s financial stability determines its ability to meet its claims responsibility. AM Best, a leading insurance rating agency, gives USAA an A++ (Superior) rating, the highest available. The rating indicates USAA should have no problem paying your claim, even if your vehicle sustains damage in a widespread natural disaster.
Other Insurance Provided by USAA
USAA’s provides many types of insurance, including the following:
- Motorcycle, motorhome, boat, classic and collector cars
- Home and property
- Life and health
- Small business
- Pet insurance
- Travel insurance
- Mobile phone protection
Compare Other Auto Insurance Reviews
USAA car insurance isn’t for everyone. In fact, it’s membership requirements exclude a large portion of the population. If you don’t qualify for USAA membership or you want to shop around for a major provider that serves the military needs, compare quotes with GEICO, in particular. For those and more general needs, look into the following companies:
- State Farm
- USAA car insurance offers good special features designed specifically for military members, like discounts when your car is garaged at a military facility
- The company earns high marks in most J.D. Power insurance surveys and it enjoys AM Best’s top financial strength rating.
- Limited membership makes it off-limits for civilians without military family.
- Potential customers can’t get quotes without becoming a member.
The Balance strives to give consumers unbiased, comprehensive reviews of auto insurance providers. To ensure that our content helps you make the right insurance decision for your needs, we review each insurance provider’s coverage options, discounts, customer service and satisfaction, and financial stability.
USAA. “Auto Insurance Quotes.” Accessed Sept. 30, 2020.
USAA. "Auto Insurance: Car and Auto Insurance Quotes Online." Accessed Sept. 30, 2020.
NAIC. "USAA Cas Ins Co National Complaint Index Report." Accessed Sept. 30, 2020.
J.D. Power. "2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study." Accessed Sept. 30, 2020.
JD Power. “J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study”. Accessed Sept. 30, 2020.
J.D. Power. "2020 Insurance Digital Experience Study." Accessed Sept. 29, 2020.