USAA Auto Insurance Overview
USAA insurance was founded on the principles of people helping people, when 25 military men agreed to insure each other’s vehicles when no one else would. Memberships are open to U.S. military service members, veterans with an honorable discharge and their eligible family members, with some policy types available to the public. USAA Insurance began under the name United States Army Automobile Association in 1922. When a group of U.S. Army officers were unable to acquire auto insurance for themselves because they were considered a high risk, they decided to provide insurance for themselves, and the company was born. Since then, USAA has expanded the services they offer to include other types of insurance as well as banking for all Armed Forces members, past and present, and their families.
Before 1996, membership was limited to commissioned officers, cadets and midshipmen, and college graduate officers. However, these restrictions were subsequently loosened, and USAA began offering membership to all enlisted personnel. Limited membership was offered to civilians between 2009 and 2013, allowing access to certain banking services, investment products, and life insurance. Benefits of the auto coverage include:
All policies are custom-created to meet the insured’s needs, budget and state minimums. Additional coverages can be added into the policy.
- Property damage – Yes
- Bodily injury liability – Yes
- Uninsured motorist – Yes
- Personal injury – Yes
- Collision – Yes
- Comprehensive – Yes
- Medical payments – Yes
- Rental – Yes
- Emergency road service – Yes
USAA provides insurance at truly impressive rates. In fact, the quotes we got for their various types of insurance are among the lowest rates out there, considerably lower than many of their competitors. This might have something to do with the fact that the company is a specialized provider, focusing on a target market. For people looking to get their insurance at an affordable rate, it is hard to find any provider more affordable than USAA.
The company provides their products and services in all 50 states, which can only be said about a handful of the largest insurance companies. This availability is somewhat tempered by the fact that only service members and their immediate family have access to their services. USAA also offers a great opportunity for members who want to add a policy to their home, with up to 75 percent of the home’s insured value with no depreciation factored for all members.
- Safe driver – Yes
- Accident forgiveness – No
- Good student – Yes
- Multi-vehicle – Yes
- Pay in full – No
Membership savings include discounts for family members, multi-product savings, long-term customer rewards and discounts for vehicles stored in military installation garages. A free mobile phone app for iPhone, iPad, Android and even Windows Phone provides access to insurance, banking and investment services. Members can check balances, pay bills, access auto ID cards and do many other essential things.
Agents and reps of USAA are exceptionally friendly and helpful. Based on our experience and hundreds of online reviews from numerous websites, USAA employees tend to be highly professional, compassionate, understanding and willing to assist members in expediting claims based on individual needs.
The claims process appears to be efficient and fair, and claims can be filed either over the phone or online at the USAA website. Claims can be tracked online, or a USAA rep can guide members through the process step by step. They provide a lot of help throughout the claims process, including locating a repair facility, renting a replacement vehicle, and facilitating replacement of stolen or damaged electronic equipment.
USAA has been providing automobile insurance to service members since 1922.
The USAA website has an Advice Center that provides a vast amount of information on topics that range from retirement planning to disaster recovery and military life. Dozens of topics provide important guidelines and expert opinions, all of which are geared toward improving the quality of life for members and helping people avoid common pitfalls that they might experience at work and at home. The breadth of topics covered and the depth of advice given are truly impressive and show a real commitment to the wellbeing of members, with a particular focus on the needs of military families. You can find more information about USAA in our reviews on the following products: Life Insurance, Car Loans, Health Insurance, and Mortgages.
Today, membership is open to all U.S. military service members, veterans with honorable discharges, and eligible immediate family members. The company has over 10.7 million members and $24 billion in revenue, employing 26, 276 people. While servicing a large community and helping service members, there are limitations to the platform:
Service Coverage – Limitations:
USAA doesn’t have as much policy flexibility as other major insurance companies. Some optional coverages are only available in limited areas. For example, accident forgiveness in not available to members in North Carolina, California, New York, Maine or Delaware.
Roadside assistance is provided through USAA towing and labor coverage at a super low rate, but the coverage is fairly limited. For example, they will only tow to a local repair shop within 14 miles. If a customer needs to go farther than that, they will have to pay for it. Compare that to AAA, which tows up to 100 miles.
Limited Discounts Available:
They don’t have the widest range of auto insurance discounts. Some of their competitors offers dozens of discounts, covering far more members and situations. Even if the premium turns out to be more affordable than many other companies, some customers might feel better having access to more possible discounts.
For some reason, USAA has limited service hours for their claims office, which can be frustrating for members trying to get hold of a rep during off hours. The website can be used to file a claim 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but some people prefer to call and speak to an actual human being. For those individuals, the limited hours will be especially annoying.
Of course, the biggest negative that can be said about USAA is that they only offer their services to military personnel and their qualifying family members. This means most people cannot take advantage of their affordable rates, even though the company operates in all 50 states. Though they have flirted with offering limited services to non-military customers over the years, it is doubtful that this will ever be the norm.
Though customer service seems to be really good on the whole, there have been a number of complaints from members who have had trouble with the claims process. Most of these complaints have to do with response times. However, a number of people have noted a tendency to declare a damaged vehicle a total loss even when the damage is not severe.
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