State Farm and USAA are two of the most recognizable car insurance companies in the nation, ranking as first and fifth largest auto insurers by market share, respectively. With so many insurance options out there, we've made it easy to compare and contrast these two providers with our one-on-one analysis.
Below, we compare USAA and State Farm for affordability, customer experience and coverages and discounts. Shoppers should note, however, that USAA is only available to current and former military members and their families, so you'll only be able to buy a policy from USAA if you qualify.
USAA vs. State Farm auto insurance: Which offers cheaper policies?
On average, USAA offers much cheaper car insurance policies than State Farm, especially for young drivers. In fact, USAA ranks as the cheapest major insurance company in the country, according to our research. So it's generally cheaper than almost every big insurance company, not just State Farm.
Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes in Your Area
Below, we broke down the average annual auto insurance premiums for USAA and State Farm for three sample drivers: a 30-year-old male with a safe driving history, a 30-year-old male with an accident on his record and an 18-year-old male. USAA was the cheapest insurer across all three profiles by an average of 25%.
We always recommend that those seeking the cheapest rates compare insurance prices from three companies (at least) using equivalent coverage levels.
Cheapest for a 30-year-old male with a clean driving record: USAA
For a 30-year-old male driver with a spotless record, USAA is 25% cheaper than State Farm.
Average annual rate
Safer drivers are generally rewarded with lower rates. And at an age of 30 years, our driver is old enough that he won't be quoted at some of the elevated premiums that drivers in their teens and early twenties are.
Cheapest for a 30-year-old male with an accident history: USAA
Drivers who have been at fault for an accident are generally charged a higher rate by insurers. USAA and State Farm are no exception, charging our sample driver 35% and 19% more per year, respectively.
Annual rate before accident
Annual rate after accident
Sample at-fault accident caused $2,000 in property damage
Although USAA is still cheaper for our sample driver on average, it raised rates by $459 per year, while State Farm raised rates by only $338. The different formulas insurers use to adjust prices are yet another reason to shop around among multiple reputable insurers.
Cheapest for young drivers: USAA
Younger and less experienced drivers are considered to be higher risk policyholders by auto insurance companies. Although our sample 18-year-old driver will pay much more than his 30-year-old counterpart, he gets a clear discount going with USAA over State Farm. At $3,254 per year, a USAA policy costs 36% less than an equivalent policy with State Farm.
Average annual rate
USAA vs. State Farm: Which has more satisfied customers?
According to a ValuePenguin survey of current insurance company customers, USAA customers rank among the most satisfied in the country and a tier above State Farm.
% of customers extremely satisfied
% of customers who received excellent customer service
Whereas almost 70% of USAA policyholders are extremely satisfied, only 60% of State Farm customers are. Our survey also found:
- 62% of USAA customers have never switched auto insurance providers, as opposed to 52% with State Farm.
- 64% of USAA customers are extremely unlikely to switch auto providers in the next year, compared to 50% of State Farm customers.
Our research indicates that the strong customer service experience has bred consumer loyalty to USAA, so if customer service is your top priority, and you're deciding between State Farm and USAA, our survey suggests USAA is your best bet.
USAA vs. State Farm: Which offers standout coverages and discounts?
USAA and State Farm offer all of the standard coverages and discounts that most auto insurance companies do. Below, we've chosen to highlight some of the unique features of these insurers that may stand out to particular types of customers. Finally, we also list the availability of standard coverages and discounts with both USAA and State Farm so you know whether you'll find the features you expect with auto insurance.
- two standout discounts catered to active military members: vehicle storage and military installation
- accident forgiveness coverage — though not unique in the industry — distinguishes it from State Farm, which does not have accident forgiveness
- Drive Safe and Save discount, which utilizes your smartphone to reward you for safe driving habits
- rideshare drivers may be interested in the company's rideshare insurance
USAA: Discounts for active military members and accident forgiveness coverage
We've chosen to highlight the vehicle storage and military installation discounts with USAA, as these discounts offer unique benefits for active service members.
In terms of features, we're highlighting USAA's accident forgiveness, which can help save drivers — who are loyal customers — keep rates low in the long-run.
Vehicle storage and military installation discounts
Only active or former military members are eligible for a USAA policy, and the insurer provides discounts catering to these customers.
The vehicle storage discount allows you to save up to 60% off your premium if your car is unused and stored in a secure location, meaning if you're deployed, you'll be able to maintain insurance coverage at a much cheaper rate.
And if you garage your vehicle on a military base, you can save up to 15% off the comprehensive insurance portion of your premium with the military installation discount.
Both of these discounts are quite unique in the insurance industry and allow USAA customers to get situation-specific savings on the provider's already cheap rates.
If you have a USAA policy for at least five years and remain accident free during that time period, you will automatically qualify for accident forgiveness. This means that even if you get into an at-fault accident, that single accident can't result in a premium hike. In certain states, accident forgiveness may not be available or may function as an add-on coverage at additional cost, rather than an acquired benefit.
State Farm: The Drive Safe and Save discount utilizes technology to give you savings, while rideshare insurance can complement rideshare employees' existing policy
With State Farm we've focused on a technology-based discount and the opportunity to get rideshare coverage if you work for a company like Uber or Lyft.
Drive Safe and Save
Drive Safe and Save is a discount program offered by State Farm that can save you anywhere from 5% to 30% off your premium. And you'll get a 5% discount just for signing up, but potentially more with good driving behavior. The program works as follows:
- You can download the Drive Safe and Save app, or if you have an OnStar-enabled vehicle, you can use OnStar to deliver your information to State Farm.
- State Farm will track driver behavior such as your speed, acceleration and breaking, turning, the time of day you're driving and phone usage.
- Each time your policy is renewed (every six months for most customers), you will receive an updated discount based on your driving behavior.
Since you cannot be penalized for your behavior as part of the Drive Safe and Save program, drivers should definitely consider signing up to be rewarded for safe driving behavior.
If you use your personal car when acting as a driver for a ridesharing company (Uber, Lyft or others), it's possible you'll need rideshare insurance. Rideshare companies offer their drivers commercial policies, but those policies may not cover all stages of the ridesharing experience.
With State Farm rideshare insurance, you'll be covered:
- When your rideshare app is on and you're available to pick up customers
- When you're matched with a customer who needs a ride
- While you're transporting a customer
Other companies may only cover specific moments in the ridesharing experience. For example, USAA only offers what is called rideshare gap protection, which covers the first bullet listed above: the time in which you're on duty and waiting to pick up customers. But USAA does not cover the time after you've accepted a rideshare request.
Depending on the commercial policies offered by your employer, and the price at which those are offered, rideshare drivers should look at State Farm as a way to fill potential insurance gaps. State Farm estimates that rideshare insurance will add approximately 15% to 20% to your auto insurance premium, depending on the coverages you select.
Standard coverages offered by both USAA and State Farm
Wherever you buy auto insurance, drivers have come to expect a standard level of coverage available from their insurer. As two of the biggest insurers in the country, USAA and State Farm offer all the base coverages you would typically see in an auto insurance policy including:
|Bodily injury liability|
|Property damage liability|
|Comprehensive and collision insurance|
|Personal injury protection|
|Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage|
Standard discounts offered by both USAA and State Farm
If you've shopped with insurance companies before, you've probably noticed that many offer similar types of discounts that reward policyholders for driving safely, having safer cars and purchasing multiple insurance products. Below are some of the discounts offered by both State Farm and USAA.
|Defensive driving course|
|Multiple vehicle policies|
|Bundling discounts (such as buying homeowners insurance with the same company)|
This list is not exhaustive, as available discounts may differ depending on where you live. Whether you shop with USAA or State Farm, always talk to your insurance agent about what discounts you could qualify for and take advantage of all of them if you do purchase a policy.
Shoppers looking for State Farm or USAA home insurance, too, should definitely consider bundling their policies together, as bundling discounts can provide some of the biggest savings in the market.
We researched car insurance quotes from across the entire country for all the states in which data for USAA and State Farm were available.
Our sample driver was a 30-year-old man driving a 2015 Honda Civic EX with a clean driving record, but when driver profiles were adjusted, they were noted above. All other variables were kept consistent. Coverage levels for the policy were:
|Bodily injury liability||$50,000 per person / $100,000 per accident|
|Property damage||$25,000 per accident|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury||$50,000 per person / $100,000 per accident|
|Comprehensive and collision||$500 deductible|
|Personal injury protection (PIP)||Minimum when required by state|
ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.
For its consumer survey, ValuePenguin commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 866 Americans who have home and/or auto insurance, with the sample base proportioned to represent the general population.