If you are in the military, served in the military, or have a spouse or family member who was in or part of the military, you may qualify for some of best car insurance deals in the U.S. This guide will go over the best options for consumers who may qualify for these special auto insurance policies.
What is the Best Military Car Insurance Company?
We found USAA is usually the best option for those who are currently deployed or are an active duty member living on a military base. Through a combination of great discounts and cheap base rates, those currently serving should give USAA the first look. If you are done serving however, GEICO may be just as good, if not better than USAA due to their lower ongoing rates. Read on to know which will be best for your circumstances.
USAA Auto Insurance: Discounts and Low Cost Rates
USAA is the best military car insurance for those who are currently active military members and may be deployed. When deployed, you are unlikely to use your car, and therefore may not want to pay for the car insurance during that time. USAA offers discounts of up to 90% for members whom are deployed, provided the car is in a safe location. Also, if you live on a military base and park your car there, USAA can provide you an additional 15% discount. The discounts, in combination with low yearly rates, means deployed and active members will likely end up paying the least for their car insurance with USAA. You can see this yourself by examining the example below. Here are sample auto insurance rates, before discounts, from three states: California, New Jersey and Delaware.
And here is how the four companies compare across their averages:
USAA is on average 59% cheaper than most other major insurance carriers we surveyed, including State Farm, Allstate and MetLife. The only exception to this was GEICO, which tends to offer rates better or about equal to USAA, but as we say above, GEICO is also a good company for military personnel. With a 90% discount, you may only be paying a little over $100 per year, which is cheaper than the alternative of letting your car insurance lapse.
USAA Car Insurance Also Excels When it Comes to Customer Satisfaction
According to the J.D. Power 2016 survey of car insurance companies, USAA scored 5/5 stars when it came to the claims handling process as well as customer satisfaction. According to the survey, customers of USAA are particularly satisfied by how easy it is to file a claim with USAA, as well as the settlement given to them by the company. USAA members also find the website to be very easy to use, and are generally satisfied with the flexibility of policies offered by the company.
GEICO: A Good Car Insurance Option For Retired Service Members and Those Not Being Deployed
GEICO may be the cheaper option if you are not being deployed or are retired from the military. As you can see in the graph above, GEICO provides rates cheaper than USAA in the states we surveyed. Overall, GEICO was the most affordable insurer in 37% of the 27,000 cities we have surveyed in the past year. Then in addition to providing the cheapest auto insurance rates, GEICO is also pro-military in terms of the discounts it offers to active duty and retired members. GEICO offers up to a 15% discount for those who were or are in the military, regardless of their active status. In California, that discount comes out to an average savings of about $200 per year. You also can receive an additional discounts through GEICO if you are part of any of the following organizations:
- Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA)
- Fleet Reserve Association (FRA)
- National Infantry Association (NIA)
The reason GEICO is not as great for deployed members is because the discount is only for 25% off your comprehensive insurance. Also unlike USAA, it only offers the discount if you are deployed to a imminent danger pay area (as defined by the Department of Defense). The danger pay areas are only a subset of the countries you may be deployed to, so if you were asked to be stationed in Japan (not an imminent danger area) for a year, you won't be eligible for the discount from GEICO.
One last thing worth noting is that the military insurance program at GEICO is very accommodating to military members. All the staff at GEICO Military are ex-military members themselves, so they understand what their customers may be going through. The site also has several valuable resources for military members to read regarding the process of leaving and returning from deployment.
USAA vs GEICO Auto Insurance for Military Members
Both GEICO and USAA provide great options for former or current military members, but we would have to say USAA has a slight advantage -- especially if you are being deployed. GEICO also scores significantly lower for customer satisfaction when compared to USAA. As we mentioned above, J.D. Power. gives USAA 5/5 stars for claims handling and customer satisfaction. GEICO scored just 3/5 stars for both categories nationwide. GEICO keeps is able to keep prices low by having mostly everything take place online, with few actual agents. This tends to make their claims handling and customer satisfaction not as great as companies with stronger agent networks, like USAA.
We got our rates for California, New Jersey and Delaware USAA through those states' government websites which list auto insurance rates for different companies. Our driver, in each case was a single 30 to 35 year old male who drove a Ford Taurus and opted for standard coverage ($100k/$300k liability, collision and comprehensive coverage).