USAA is known for helping military members, veterans, and their families in countless ways.
They have a long and rich history of working with the armed forces.
What you might not know about is their auto insurance.
Sadly, USAA isn’t available to everyone.
They have a very niche market, but if you’re eligible for membership, we think they should be near the top of your list.
History of USAA
Let’s go back in time to the beginning of USAA. You have to travel back to 1922 when 25 officers in the Army decided to insure each other’s cars.
The first employee of USAA was William Garrison, who was elected as the president later in 1922.
The next year, in 1923, the decision to open up membership to Navy and Marine officers drastically increased how many people were under their protection.
During the Great Depression in 1931, they continued to grow.
Their membership even doubled to 30,000 in that period, a stark contrast to the hundreds of other carriers who were shutting down.
In 1934, they introduced their first woman to their management team, Stuart Gwyn.
As you can imagine, they were one of the first companies to do this.
By 1969, they had reached 1 million members.
Almost three decades later, they started allowing enlisted personnel to become members.
In 2009, they let any person who is serving or has served in the military or their families to apply for membership.
Membership Requirements for USAA
There are a few ways you can join USAA.
Their insurance coverage can be a great choice, but not everyone has the opportunity to join the program.
The most obvious way is to be a part of the military, either active, retired, or honorably discharged.
You are also eligible if you’re a spouse or immediate family member of one of the above people.
Adult children can also get coverage if their parents have a USAA auto insurance plan, and widows can buy a policy as well.
Anyone enrolled in commissioning programs like ROTC can enroll for membership as well.
Even if you’re not a member, you can still take advantage of some of their services, but you’re going to be limited.
Non-members can use their investment services and buy life insurance, but that’s it.
Auto Insurance from USAA
Of course, USAA offers the standard kind of coverage required by law.
To help you understand your car insurance, we are going to explain each portion.
Collision – This is the basic type of coverage. If your car is damaged because of an accident or rollover, this portion pays to get it fixed. It doesn’t matter who or what caused the crash.
Bodily Injury – Bodily injury is one type of liability protection. This part will pay for bills or expenses if you are at fault for an accident and someone is injured or killed.
Property Damage – This is the other part of liability insurance, paying for repairs or replacing any property damaged if you’re at fault.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – This portion will pay for funeral expenses, child care expenses, income replacement, and other expenses from the accident.
Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist – Sadly, millions of drivers don’t have auto insurance. If someone hits your car and they don’t have insurance, this portion will ensure you’re not left paying for the repairs out-of-pocket. This portion of the policy has two pieces: bodily injury and property damage.
Comprehensive – This element pays for any repairs or damages not caused by a collision, like fire, flooding, or theft.
For some people, the standard coverage isn’t enough.
USAA also sells three other kinds of additional protection:
Roadside Assistance – nothing ruins a day like getting a flat tire or being stranded on the side of the road. If you add this coverage to your auto insurance policy, you won’t have to pay for everything out of pocket. This will cover unlocking your car, having a tire changed, getting your vehicle towed, and more.
Accident Forgiveness – if you go 5 years without making a claim, then they won’t raise your rates when you do make a claim.
Rental Reimbursement – if your car is in the shop because of a claim, your USAA plan will pay for the cost of a rental car while it’s being repaired.
Auto Insurance Discounts for USAA
One of the benefits of buying an auto insurance policy from USAA is all of the discounts you can use.
They have three discount categories:
- Your Driving
- Your Vehicle
- Your Membership
Let’s look at the first category, your driving.
If you’re a safe driver (no accidents or violations for 5 years) or you take a defensive driving course, you could trim down your rates.
If you have a kid on your auto insurance policy, they can save you money by taking driver training classes or being a good student.
When it comes to your vehicle, there are four more discounts.
If you have a car which is less than 3 years old, you have more than one car, or you don’t drive much every year, then you can save some money.
The last category, membership, has some easy ways to save cash.
If you keep your plan with USAA for several years, you can use their Length of Membership discount.
Continue the plan from your parents, and you’ll save money through the Family Discount.
Other Insurance Products Sold by USAA
Auto insurance is how USAA started, but they’ve seriously expanded their insurance products.
Some of the other insurance plans they sell include:
- RV, Boat, Motorcycle
- Life Insurance
- And more
The more plans you have with USAA, the more money you’re going to save.
If you’re looking to have all of your insurance plans under one roof, and even some of your banking and investing, USAA could be the perfect way to do this.
Benefits of USAA
When you compare the price of USAA auto insurance protection to other carriers, you’ll see close to the same rates.
If USAA isn’t the cheapest, it’s going to be very close.
Another advantage of USAA is the selection of insurance products and financial products.
You can have all of your investments, banking, and insurance policies under one company.
When it comes to customer service, few insurance companies have better reviews.
In just about every customer satisfaction survey, they received top marks.
Drawbacks of USAA Auto Insurance Coverage
One of the serious disadvantages of using USAA is not being able to talk to an agent in person.
There are only a handful of offices across the United States.
If you happen to live near one of those offices, you can talk to agents face-to-face.
If you don’t mind discussing your insurance needs through email or over the phone, then USAA will be perfect.
The lack of physical offices is one of the few drawbacks you’ll find with regards to USAA.
If you look through all of the customer reviews, you’ll find some previous policyholders who have complaints about the customer service or the speed of the claims process. There weren’t any trends in these complaints.
When you’re reading through complaints about insurance carriers, take them with a grain of salt.
Each customer is going to have different experiences when dealing with insurance agents.
Just because those customers had poor service doesn’t mean you will.
Final Verdict on USAA
If you can’t tell by the rest of the article, we are huge fans of USAA.
When you’re comparing quotes of the top insurance carriers, USAA is always going to be near the top.
If you aren’t eligible to join USAA, or you don’t think they’ll work for you, then we can help.
We don’t only work with USAA.
We’ll give you quotes for dozens of carriers and compare them head-to-head.