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USAA, short for United Services Automobile Association, has a good reputation as a provider of insurance and other financial services. USAA, which considers its customers “members,” has strict qualifications for its insurance policies and other products. To qualify for membership with USAA, you must be an active duty member of the United States military, a retired veteran or honorably separated former service member, a member’s spouse, or the son or daughter (including stepchildren) of a member. USAA is based in San Antonio, and as of 2016, had 11.9 million members and a net worth of $29 billion.

The company offers its products and services to current members of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard and Reserves, as well as retired veterans and former military members with an honorable discharge. Widows and widowers may retain USAA membership, and so may former spouses who have not remarried and have had a USAA insurance policy during the marriage to a service member. Children and stepchildren of USAA members also qualify. Furthermore, USAA also extends membership to cadets and midshipmen at U.S. service academies, individuals in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship, and officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning.

The military connection is a key aspect of the USAA organization. According to the company website, “With roots grounded in the military, we bring its methods to your finances, and its values to our service through an exclusive suite of financial products, tools and advice.” USAA’s representatives understand the military life and its challenges, so customers get the right product for their circumstances.

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USAA was founded in 1922 in San Antonio, Texas. A group of 25 Army officers created an organization to insure each other’s vehicles. William Garrison became the company’s first president, and Harold Dunston became the first employee. A year later, USAA expanded to offer membership to the Navy and Marines as well as the Army. By 1931, the company’s membership hit the 30,000 mark. In 1941, USAA started automatically renewing insurance policies for members who were deployed, and in 1948, membership opened up to members of the newly created Air Force. In 1961, USAA changed the policy requiring customers to leave the company upon separating from the military. In 1968, USAA welcomed its millionth member. Banking services started rolling out in 1983. In 2008 and 2009, USAA membership expanded again to include all active duty, former military members with honorable discharges, and their families.

In addition to auto insurance, USAA also provides homeowners, renters, life, health and long-term, Medicare, business, and disaster recovery insurance.

Unlike most insurance companies, USAA also provides select banking services, such as checking and savings accounts, vehicle loans, home loans, personal loans, and credit cards. Additional financial services include financial planning, investing, retirement planning, and retirement accounts. The company also has planning guides and advice to help customers manage various aspects of military life.

The Best Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Our Car Insurance Ranking

  1.     USAA
  2.     Geico
  3.     Allstate
  4.     State Farm
  5.     Farmers
  6.     Progressive
  7.     American Family
  8.     Nationwide
  9.     Travelers

USAA Rating and Review

Rating: 4.41/5

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The study shows that USAA’s claims of customer friendliness are based in fact. USAA ranked in the top spot of the nine major auto insurance companies evaluated in the study, ahead of Travelers, State Farm, Geico, Farmers, Nationwide, Allstate, and American Family.

In this survey, respondents answered questions about their experiences with USAA, using a 5-point scale. Respondents were also given the opportunity to add comments to clarify their responses or provide additional information.

More than 70% of USAA customers were completely satisfied with the ease of filing a claim, while 73% report being completely satisfied with USAA’s customer service during the claim process. More than 65% were completely satisfied with the status updates USAA gave them about their claim, and just less than 73% were completely satisfied with how their claim was resolved. More than 65% were completely satisfied with the value they got from USAA auto insurance. USAA did better on every measure in the survey than any other company. One satisfied respondent described USAA's claims resolution process as "fast, efficient, and fair."

What’s most telling is how likely USAA customers are to recommend USAA and renew their policy. Nearly 85% of respondents said they are likely or very likely to recommend USAA to someone looking for car insurance, and 84% said they are likely or very likely to renew their policy with USAA. 

The only real downside to using USAA for car insurance is that there are strict requirements in place to qualify. The criticisms provided by survey respondents are both typical of the insurance industry and less common for USAA than they were for any other company in the study. Anyone who qualifies to join USAA based on the company’s main qualification of current or past military service should consider taking advantage of USAA’s auto insurance offerings.

USAA Pros and Cons

Pros

    • USAA offers the lowest average representative rate of all companies included in our study. 

    • When it comes to customer friendliness, this insurance company ranked in the top spot among all the companies that participated in our study.

    • More than 70 percent of USAA customers reported being completely satisfied with the company’s ease of filing a claim and customer service during the claim process. 

    • About 85% of respondents said they are likely to recommend USAA, and 84% said they are likely to renew their policy with the company. 

Cons

    • USAA has strict qualification requirements; current or past military service is required for eligibility. 

How We Created This USAA Car Insurance Review

At U.S. News, we’re all about helping people make life’s important decisions. Our college rankings, launched in 1983, set the standard in educational rankings. Our ranking in other fields, like healthcare, government, and the automotive sphere, help people and thought leaders make choices that make lives better. Now we’re continuing to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices for your life with our Best Car Insurance Rankings. 

We surveyed 2,732 consumers who filed a car insurance claim in the last five years, asking questions about their car insurance company. Of the survey respondents, 288 filed a claim with USAA. These questions covered satisfaction with the ease of filing a claim, customer service, claim status communication, claim resolution, and overall value. We also asked whether they’d recommend the company and if they planned to renew their policy. We used their responses to build our Best Car Insurance Companies ranking and this head-to-head comparison.

Our Study Rates

To get comparative insurance rates for this study, U.S. News also worked with Quadrant Information Services to analyze a report of insurance rates in all 50 states from the nine largest national car insurance companies, though not every company operates in every state. Quadrant obtained publicly available rate data that car insurers file with state regulators. Our study rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage ranging from 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations of certain driver archetypes. 

To get the study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers ages 25, 35, and 60 who drive 12,000 miles per year, have medium coverage, good credit, and a clean driving record. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Because car insurance rates are based on individual factors, your car insurance rates will differ from the rates shown here.

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USAA Car Insurance Costs

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According to our study, USAA’s national average representative rate is $885. What you pay will depend on several factors, including how much coverage you choose to buy, your age, where you live, your driving record, and much more. Representative auto insurance rates amongst the companies in our study vary widely.

USAA’s national average representative rate is $885, which is the least expensive of the companies in the survey by far, according to our study data and driver profiles; it’s $531 less than the average representative rate across all the companies in our study. USAA is followed by average representative rates for Geico at $1,168, State Farm at $1,234, Travelers at $1,267, Progressive at $1,373, American Family at $1,391, Farmers at $1,682, Nationwide at $1,864, and Allstate at $1,880.

The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Average Annual Rates:

USAA Car Insurance Rates by Age

Group

National Average Rate

Single 25-year-old female

$1,037.67

Single 25-year-old male

$1,094.44

Married 35-year-old female

$823.10

Married 35-year-old male

$817.91

Married 60-year-old female

$767.97

Married 60-year-old male

$767.08

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Our single 25-year-old representative driver profiles have the highest representative USAA premiums in our analysis, which is typical among the auto insurers we studied. The male driver profile in this age range pays $1,094, which was the highest average representative premium rate our study data showed for USAA, and our female driver profile of the same age showed a representative rate of $1,038. For the 25-year-old driver profiles, the male's representative rate is $56 higher than the female's representative rate. However, with older demographics, female profiles face representative rates that are slightly higher than those faced by male profiles. 

The married 35-year-old female driver profile has an average representative rate of $823, which is $5 higher than the study rate given to the married male driver profile of that age. The married 60-year-old driver profiles had USAA’s lowest average representative rates: $767 for male profiles and $768 for female profiles.

To find the average rates in our study based on gender and age, we created driver profiles for males and females in each of the following ages: 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. The profiles also have a clean driving record, 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

USAA Car Insurance Rates by Annual Mileage

Annual Mileage

National Average Rate

6,000 miles

$829.27

12,000 miles

$884.69

With USAA, the driver profile for the 6,000-mile group showed an average representative rate of $829. The driver profile for the 12,000-mile group paid an average representative rate that is just $56 higher than the rate paid by a profile that puts 6,000 miles on the odometer each year. This shows that with USAA, mileage doesn’t have a huge impact on average representative rates.

To find the average rates in our study based on annual mileage, we created driver profiles for customers who drove 6,000 miles per year and customers who drove twice that amount. The profiles also have a clean driving record, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

USAA Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type

Coverage Type

National Average Rate

Low

$829.82

Medium

$884.69

High

$939.52

The driver profile with low coverage has an average representative rate of $830. For medium coverage, the representative rate goes up by $55. A driver profile with high coverage pays an average representative rate that’s $110 higher than the rate paid by a profile with low coverage. That's an increase of less than $12 per month to have significantly more coverage.

To find the average rates in our study based on coverage type, we created driver profiles for low, medium, and high coverage. The profiles also have a clean driving record, insurance coverage for 12,000 miles per year, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

USAA Car Insurance Rates by Credit Score

Credit Score

National Average Rate

Good

$869.53

Fair

$1,041.64

Poor

$1,653.19

Auto insurance customers with good credit can generally expect to get the lowest rates, and USAA is no exception here. The driver profiles with a good credit history had a representative rate of $870. For driver profiles with fair credit history, that rate rises by $172, according to study data. Driver profiles with poor credit history showed representative insurance premiums of about $1,653 – a rate that’s $783 higher than the representative rate paid by a driver profile with good credit history.

Our study reviewed the effects of credit score on car insurance rates using male and female driver profiles with ages of 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. We created a profile for each level of credit score (good, fair, and poor) and assigned the profiles a clean driving record, a medium level of insurance coverage, and 12,000 miles of annual mileage. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are the vehicles used in our analysis. 

USAA Car Insurance Rates by Driving Record

Driving Record

National Average Rate

Clean record

$884.69

With 1 speeding violation

$1,040.78

With 1 accident

$1,228.98

With 1 DUI

$1,683.36

It should come as no surprise that drivers with a clean record pay the lowest rates – USAA is no different than every other auto insurance company in that regard. A driver profile with a clean record pays a representative rate of $885. According to study data, a speeding violation causes this representative rate to increase by $156. A profile with one accident pays a rate that’s $344 higher than the rate paid by a profile with a clean record. Driver profiles with one DUI pay the highest representative premiums, at about $1,683 – $798 more than the rate paid by a profile with a clean record, according to our study data.

To find out just how much of an affect a person's driving record has on insurance rates, we compared driver profiles including those with a clean record, those with one speeding violation, those with one accident, and those with one instance of driving under the influence (DUI). These driving record representative profiles included 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles of mileage per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150. 

Who Should Get USAA Car Insurance?

USAA is a clear leader in the auto insurance industry in just about every way, unless you’re a consumer who does not qualify to join USAA due to lack of military affiliation. If you do qualify for a USAA membership, you should at least consider it by investigating the options offered by this insurance company. Ask the representative how much you could potentially save over what you’re currently paying for insurance, and consider the other benefits USAA offers to military families. USAA has some of the lowest representative rates and best reviews of any major auto insurance company in our study, so making the switch is worth consideration.

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USAA vs. Other Insurance Companies

USAA Auto Insurance vs. Geico Auto Insurance

Geico earns the second spot in our ranking of the best auto insurance companies, and USAA’s scores are higher than Geico for every question in the study, although the scores for some questions are closer than others. USAA narrowly beat Geico when it comes to the ease of filing a claim, and USAA’s customers are much more likely to renew their policies than Geico’s, though Geico’s performance on that measure is better than most other insurance companies.

Rates are another area where USAA has a significant advantage over Geico. USAA’s average representative annual rate is $885, and Geico’s is $1,168, according to study data. USAA also beats Geico in every age breakdown.

The story is much the same when you look at the breakdowns for annual mileage, coverage type, credit history, and driving record. According to study data, in every case, USAA’s average representative rates are less expensive than Geico’s. Sometimes the difference between these two insurance providers' study rates is just a couple hundred dollars. In other cases, the difference exceeds a thousand dollars, as is the case when comparing driver profiles with one DUI. 

Read more in our USAA vs. Geico Head to Head »

USAA vs. State Farm Auto Insurance

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State Farm is the next company up against USAA in our closer look at key rivals in the auto insurance industry. State Farm is the fourth-ranked company in our list of the best car insurance companies.

USAA scored higher than State Farm on every question in the study. The narrowest gap between the two companies’ scores was on how happy consumers were with the ease of filing a claim.  However, USAA customers are much more likely to recommend USAA than State Farm customers are to recommend State Farm.

We’ve already established that USAA’s average representative rate of $885 is the lowest in the study. State Farm’s average representative rate of $1,234 is the third lowest. USAA also beats State Farm in every breakdown of age and gender.

USAA’s pricing also beats State Farm’s every time when you’re looking at different scenarios regarding annual mileage, coverage type, or credit history. State Farm has a lower representative rate than USAA for the profile with a DUI, but the price difference is only $2.

Read more in our USAA vs. State Farm Head to Head »

Types of Coverage From USAA Car Insurance

USAA’s auto insurance offerings are, for the most part, basic and straightforward. When you’re shopping for a USAA policy, you’ll first need to consider your requirements for full coverage car insurance, which usually includes comprehensive and collision coverage. Then, consider your state’s requirements for liability coverage, which consists of bodily injury and property damage coverage. USAA can help you find liability coverage to meet your state’s minimum requirements, if applicable, and can help you decide if you’d like to increase your liability coverage for better protection.

USAA also offers car insurance coverage for personal injury protection, extended benefits coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, and uninsured and underinsured motorist property damage coverage. Different states have different requirements for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and USAA can help you figure out how to meet the minimums where you live and decide which level of risk is right for you.

Additional products from USAA include roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, and accident forgiveness. Furthermore, USAA offers coverage to rideshare drivers in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

USAA Car Insurance Complaints

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Complaints about USAA fell into a few general categories. First, there were some customers who believed that USAA’s insurance is too expensive. 

“Quality has fallen drastically, now it is all about making money.”

"They are expensive."

Several other customers were not happy about their experiences dealing with USAA during the claims process or the actual resolution of the claim in question. A selection of those responses is below.

“We were left by the side of the road for 4 hours because USAA reps kept cancelling our tow, after we were rear-ended.”

“Worst service I have received from an insurance company.  Been dealing with them for over a month trying to get a claim resolved. Agent assigned to my claim can never be reached and does not return calls. So thankful this is not my insurance carrier.”

USAA Car Insurance Discounts

USAA is known for having pretty low rates on car insurance, but it doesn’t hurt to see if you can lower your premiums through common car insurance discounts. If you are a USAA customer or potential customer, the best way to learn about discounts is to talk to a representative. USAA is proactive about finding ways to save money for members, so it doesn’t hurt to ask about discounts to see if you qualify for any. Many of USAA’s available discounts are common in the auto insurance industry, though some of their discount policies are a result of the company’s mission to help military families.

USAA offers discounts for safe drivers, those who take a defensive driving course or driver training, and good students. There are also discounts for having a new vehicle, low annual mileage, multiple vehicles, a vehicle in storage, loyalty to the company, and multiple policies with the same insurer. There are even family and military installation discounts. Some of these discounts are self-explanatory, while others require a little more clarification.

For example, the new vehicle discount is really for late-model vehicles that have certain equipment or features that make the vehicle safer or more likely to be recovered if it is stolen. Examples include anti-lock brakes, passive restraints, VIN etching, or telematics systems. USAA customers should talk to their representative to find out what specific features qualify a vehicle to receive such a discount.

Even though married, middle-age drivers are typically offered the best insurance rates, there are usually ways to lower the costs for drivers who fall outside of those demographics. Discounts are available to younger drivers, in the form of the good student discount or driver training course discount, and older drivers who have a clean driving record. USAA's discount for safe drivers is known as the premier driver discount. However, this discount is not available in the state of Hawaii.

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Some of USAA’s discounts are designed specifically to make life easier for military families and help them save a little money while dealing with the circumstances of their jobs. These include discounts for a vehicle that is stored during a deployment or a vehicle that isn’t driven very often (due to the demands of the job or the customer’s lifestyle).

USAA, along with many other insurers, offers savings if you have more than one policy or a long-running loyalty to the insurer. You can save up to 10 percent on an existing USAA homeowners or renters insurance policy by adding an auto insurance policy. And, if your parents are members of USAA, you’ll get a discount of up to 10 percent.

Other Types of Policies From USAA

USAA got its start providing car insurance, though the company has since expanded to provide other insurance products, financial services, and forms of assistance to military members and their families. USAA offers homeowners, renters, life, health, long-term, Medicare, business, and disaster recovery insurance to its members. USAA’s banking services include checking and savings accounts, vehicle loans, home loans, personal loans, and credit cards. For additional financial security, check out USAA’s planning, investing, and retirement planning and account services.

USAA Financial Fitness

USAA is in pretty good financial shape as compared to the rest of the insurance industry. As of 2017, USAA had a net worth of $30.6 billion. The company’s operating expense ratio is 22 percent, compared to the industry average of 39 percent. In this case, a lower percentage is a good thing, because this ratio measures how effectively the company operates. In other words, USAA’s efficiency is considerably better than the industry average. In 2017, USAA distributed $1.6 billion to its members, though this figure includes dividends, bank rebates, and rewards in addition to distributions.

USAA has a number of subsidiaries in the insurance, investment, and banking industries.

United Services Automobile Association and USAA General Indemnity Company operate in all 50 states and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. USAA Casualty Insurance Company operates in the 50 states, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Company operates in every state except Massachusetts. USAA County Mutual Insurance Company and USAA Texas Lloyd’s Company operate in Texas. USAA Limited is for European customers.

USAA Life Insurance Company, USAA Life Insurance Company of New York, and USAA Life General Agency, Inc. are subsidiaries in the life insurance and annuities industries.

For investment products, advice, and services from USAA, your options are USAA Investment Management Company, USAA Asset Management Company, USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. (which is known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California), and USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer.

Banking services are available through USAA Federal Savings Bank Member FDIC, USAA Savings Bank (USAA Credit Cards) Member FDIC, USAA Residential Real Estate Services, Inc., USAA Acceptance, LLC, USAA Acceptance III, LLC, and USAA Mortgage Solutions.

USAA provides shopping and discount information through USAA Alliance Services.

Contact USAA

There are a bunch of ways to contact USAA. The main phone numbers are 210-531-USAA and 800-531-USAA. The mailing address is 9800 Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, TX 78288. The website, at www.usaa.com, offers messaging and numerous forms. Twitter users can contact customer support at @USAA_Help.

The Best Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Our Car Insurance Ranking

  1.     USAA
  2.     Geico
  3.     Allstate
  4.     State Farm
  5.     Farmers
  6.     Progressive
  7.     American Family
  8.     Nationwide
  9.     Travelers

The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Average Annual Rates:

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