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USAA Auto Insurance Review
If you qualify for USAA auto insurance, we highly recommend it thanks to the best customer service in the industry, good financial strength, and great online resources. However, USAA only offers coverage to current and former members of the military and their families, so it won’t work for everyone. While we always recommend getting quotes from multiple providers, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than USAA, particularly if you’re already a member and/or buy your homeowners insurance from USAA (which qualifies you for a 10% discount on both home and auto policies).
For its auto insurance customers, USAA promises “superior service and discounts designed for those who serve.”
Is it true?
Absolutely. USAA is not exaggerating when it brags about its customer service. Year after year, USAA ranks either first or second in the three major auto insurance customer surveys — two by J.D. Power and one by Consumer Reports. Plus, USAA supplements its agent-based customer service with a unique online resource called the USAA Community. As for the second half of the claim, USAA does offer several discounts on auto insurance, including a few tailored to meet the needs of military members and their families, like a 15% discount on comprehensive coverage when you garage your vehicle on a military base.
USAA Auto Insurance Pros
✓ Solid choice for current and former military members and their families.
✓ Stellar customer service
✓ Excellent online support community
USAA Auto Insurance Cons
✗ Not the best option for eligible customers looking for cheaper options.
✗ Only available to active-duty and retired service members and their families.
Stellar customer service
USAA consistently ranks No. 1 in customer service when compared to other auto insurance providers in the United States. In J.D. Power’s 2018 auto insurance customer satisfaction survey, USAA earns the highest score of 894 out of 1,000, beating the next-best option (Ameriprise) by a wide margin of 32 points. Meanwhile, in J.D. Power’s 2018 claims satisfaction survey, USAA again has the highest score of 903 out of 1,000, a full 12 points better than the next company. Finally, in Consumer Reports’ survey of more than 23,000 auto insurance customers, USAA was rated “Excellent” in every possible category, and the only national provider with a better score (barely) was Amica. In addition to customer service in person and over the phone, USAA offers an online forum called the USAA Community and a great mobile app with claims and support functionality.
Excellent financial strength
Why should you care about an insurance provider’s financial strength ratings? Because they’re the best estimate of how financially secure your provider will be in the future. You don’t want an auto insurance provider that fails to pay your claims on time, files for bankruptcy, or closes down completely. USAA’s financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s, and S&P Global are among the highest in the insurance industry.
Online support community
Some insurance companies provide more online resources than others to augment their customer service experience (Allstate has a lot, Amica has very few). No provider does it better than USAA thanks to the USAA Community portal, a combination forum, resource center, newsroom, and support system. You can ask detailed questions about your home insurance options, seek financial advice, search for relevant conversations, and keep up with news and events that are relevant for military members, veterans, and their families.
Cost of premiums
As we noted in our review of USAA’s homeowner insurance, great customer service usually isn’t cheap. The price of your premium will vary, but it’s possible you might find similar coverage for less money at another provider — especially if you qualify for multiple discounts. Then again, USAA provides quite a few discounts, including 10% off for bundling your auto insurance with your home insurance, and savings for new vehicles, safe drivers, good students, families, member loyalty, and other circumstances. Still, we recommend comparing quotes from several companies, starting with our picks for the best car insurance companies.
USAA vs. Amica
The only insurance provider that even comes close to USAA’s customer service is Amica. The two companies alternate for first place atop J.D. Power’s and Consumer Reports’ rankings every year. USAA and Amica also offer a similar number of discounts on auto insurance. However, Amica’s website is a dinosaur, whereas USAA offers the fantastic USAA Community resource. Even if you qualify for USAA, it’s worth getting a quote from Amica before making a decision.
USAA vs. Allstate
As we mentioned in our USAA’s homeowner insurance, “because Allstate offers more discounts and more coverage options than the average provider, it’s entirely possible that Allstate may provide some military members and their families with more affordable and more flexible policies.” The same thing could be said for USAA and Allstate’s auto insurance. But USAA’s customer service ranks much higher than Allstate’s, and USAA’s financial strength ratings are slightly higher as well. As always, we recommend getting quotes from both companies and weighing your priorities before making a decision.
USAA Auto Insurance FAQ
Do I have to be in the military to qualify for USAA auto insurance?
To become a USAA member, you must be “active military, former military, an eligible family member, or a cadet or midshipman,” according to the USAA website. Eligible family members include “spouses, widows, widowers and un-remarried former spouses of USAA members who joined USAA prior to or during the marriage, as well as individuals whose parents joined USAA.” The fine print also notes that “separated military personnel must have received a discharge type of ‘Honorable,’” and that “eligible former dependents of USAA members may join USAA.”
Does USAA cover Uber/Lyft drivers?
Yes, USAA offers supplemental rideshare coverage as an add-on endorsement “for as little as $6 a month.”
The Bottom Line
For eligible customers, USAA is most likely the best choice for auto insurance, thanks to its stellar customer service, financial strength, military-based discounts, and online resources. However, an alternative provider could still offer more affordable or more customizable coverage. Even if you qualify for USAA membership, we recommend all customers compare quotes from several different providers, beginning with our picks for the best car insurance companies.