The United Services Automobile Association (USA) is now offering great deals on car insurance. However, the company is known for more than its premium pricing. One of the highest rated insurers in terms of customer satisfaction. There is one problem with registration. Only active or retired military personnel and their immediate relatives are eligible to join the USAA.
This auto insurance provider is a financial services company that provides auto insurance as well as banking, insurance, investment and retirement services in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. USAA started in 1922 when 25 army officers decided to insure each other when they couldn’t get auto insurance anywhere else.
With a full-featured website and mobile app, USAA Insurance ranks high in customer satisfaction and service ratings, offering additional welcome features like emergency assistance and rental car refunds, plus perks and discounts designed specifically for military families. .
Although membership is limited, its low rates and strong features helped USAA auto insurance earn the award for “best military perks” in our collection ofbest car insurance companies . Read on for our full review of USAA car insurance for 2022.
USAA Auto Insurance
Pros of using USAA
It’s hard to beat the lowest auto insurance rates, and right now USAA has them — at least among major car insurers. Both its full and minimum annual coverage rates are hundreds of dollars less than the industry average, per Bankrate.
Another benefit of USAA is the ability to combine your banking, investments and car insurance in one place. USAA offers a wide range of financial products from checking and savings accounts to IRAs and 529 college funds . USAA can even help finance your car with an auto loan .
USAA can insure any other vehicle you’ve got, from mobile homes, motorcycles and ATVs to boats and airplanes. It will also give you a 10% discount if you bundle home or renter’s insurance.
Cons of using USAA
USAA’s exclusive membership rules are its biggest downside. It’s limited to current US military members, military veterans or their immediate family members.
USAA auto insurance also doesn’t provide gap insurance, which helps pay off your auto loan if your car is totaled or stolen. For those with car loans from USAA, however, a feature called Total Loss Protection can give similar coverage.
Though the standard premiums are low, USAA’s rates for adding teenage drivers to your account are actually higher than competitors, which could end up costing some families more overall.
USAA insurance cost
USAA offers some of the most competitive auto insurance rates on the market right now. At an annual average of $1,209, its full coverage rate for drivers with clean histories is at least $500 less per year than the industry average, per Bankrate. USAA’s minimum coverage per year costs $354, far below the industry baseline of $545.
As mentioned above, be sure to consider the impact of teenage drivers on your monthly bill. It will cost an average of $2,186 more on your overall annual premium to add full coverage for a 16-year-old driver with USAA, compared with $1,897 for Geico (both of these rates are from 2021, not 2022). But USAA isn’t the most expensive out there, as the cost for adding a teen driver at Progressive and Travelers is north of $3,000.
*Rates from 2021
USAA coverage options
Although it doesn’t offer conventional gap insurance, USAA offers all of the other major coverage types generally provided by auto insurers. Here’s a list of its available protections:
USAA’s discounts can help reduce the cost of your auto insurance bill. Unique to USAA is a military installation discount, which offers up to 15% off your premium for storing your vehicle at a military base.
Here’s a list of notable discounts at USAA, though the company does not advertise the value of most of them:
Customer satisfaction and complaints
USAA is excluded from J.D. Power rankings because its features aren’t available to everyone, but its ratings for auto claims satisfaction for 2021 are the highest among major car insurers. USAA scored 909 out of 1,000 for claims satisfaction, while the industry baseline sits at 808, according to a J.D. Power Survey.
Although USAA scores high in J.D. Power customer surveys, the company also receives a higher than average number of complaints. USAA’s NAIC complaint index rating of 1.21 indicates the company gets more than double the industry’s average.
SafePilot telematics program
Telematics describes systems that monitor driver and automobile behavior over long distances using GPS and on-board diagnostics. Like other auto insurance telematic programs, USAA SafePilot monitors how, where and when you drive your automobile. The company claims that you can save up to 30% — if you drive safely — by registering for the program and using the SafePilot mobile app.
SafePilot tracks data about your automobile usage, including location, time of day, who’s driving, phone calls, braking and the total amount of hours driven. USAA promises not to share any information from SafePilot with any third parties.
Other USAA features we like
USAA’s free mobile app for iOS and Android lets users pay their insurance bills, review their policies, display or download their insurance cards, file claims or call roadside assistance. The app is also integrated with banking services like checking accounts and retirement services like IRAs.
USAA offers additional roadside assistance benefits that cover tows up to 50 miles, tire changes, jump starts and unlocking for no charge at all. Even if you don’t have roadside assistance included with your USAA policy, you can access these services at reduced rates.
If you’re a good driver who avoids accidents for five years, USAA will automatically enroll you in its accident forgiveness program, meaning that one at-fault accident won’t raise your premium. The program is not available in California, Connecticut, Delaware, New York or North Carolina.
Although USAA doesn’t have conventional gap insurance, it does offer car replacement assistance for an additional price. If your automobile is totaled, the program provides an additional 20% of the vehicle’s cost in the claims settlement to help you buy a new car.
SBR reviews insurance carriers and products by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria. For auto insurance, we examine average annual premium rates for full coverage, consumer complaints, collision repair scores, the carrier’s financial strength, auto claims satisfaction and overall customer satisfaction. Our data comes from a multitude of sources.
Auto insurance rates come fromBankrate, which gathers data using Quadrant Information Services. We also use both J.D. Power annual surveys that collect data on customer auto claims satisfaction and overall customer satisfaction.
Consumer complaints are taken from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which collects consumer complaints across states, indexing complaints on a scale that takes into account the industry average. We collect the financial strength rating of each carrier from the A.M. Best Rating. Lastly, we collected collision repair scores from the Crash Network Insurer Report Card, which collects data from collision repair professionals, including mechanics, to gauge the quality of collision claims service from insurance carriers.
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