USAA Insurance Review: A Great Insurance Company For Those Who are Eligible

USAA Insurance Review: A Great Insurance Company For Those Who are Eligible

 Pros

  • Young and new drivers
  • Eligible customers looking for top-notch customer service
  • Homeowners with more expensive houses

 Cons

  • Those who aren’t eligible—USAA is exclusive to veterans, military members and family members of USAA members
  • Drivers of leased vehicles

USAA's low rates and good customer service make it a sound choice for those who are eligible for USAA membership. It typically offers very low rates for both auto and home insurance, despite the lack of available discounts. Overall, USAA is a great choice for your insurance needs.

USAA Insurance: Our Thoughts

USAA offers great rates for its policyholders for both auto and homeowners insurance. According to our analysis, young drivers are able to save the most by selecting USAA for car insurance. And for homeowners insurance shoppers, people with more expensive homes are likely to find particularly low premiums with USAA.

USAA provides some of the best customer service in the insurance industry. High ratings for claims satisfaction and a low rate of complaints indicate that customers receive great customer service from USAA. In these categories USAA performed better than many of its competitors, making it a top choice.

On top of coverages, USAA affords its members access to additional benefits. These include access to the USAA Car Buying Service and discounted rates on rental cars—up to 35% off. And the company’s homeowners insurance provides above-and-beyond coverage for active service members—including waived deductibles and coverage for uniforms.

Auto Insurance Takeaway: USAA is a great option for auto insurance—especially for young drivers—considering its low prices. USAA is also particularly desirable for drivers who plan to store their cars, as they may be able to qualify for large discounts on their premiums.

Home Insurance Takeaway: Homeowners who are eligible for USAA home insurance should consider it a strong contender because of its highly competitive rates and special perks that cater to its military-specific clientele.

USAA Auto Insurance Coverages

USAA provides standard coverages, such as liability, comprehensive and collision insurance, that you would expect from an auto insurer or that might be required in your state. In terms of additional coverage options, USAA has a wide variety of insurance offerings but does not offer anything that you wouldn't likely be able to find with a similar national insurer.

Car Replacement Assistance Coverage: This is essentially what other insurers might call “new car replacement coverage.” Car Replacement Assistance (CRA) pays 20%—in addition to the actual cash value of the vehicle—if your car is totaled. This coverage is not available for leased cars. CRA is only available to vehicles with both comprehensive and collision coverage, and signing up for CRA could increase your premiums by 5%.

Accident Forgiveness: With Accident Forgiveness, USAA auto insurance customers will not see their rates go up after one at-fault accident. Similar to GEICO's accident forgiveness program, this coverage can either be earned or purchased. Qualifying drivers who have no at-fault accidents for five years while being insured with USAA will automatically receive this benefit. Purchasing this coverage could cost drivers an additional 4% in their auto insurance premiums, judging from the quotes we gathered.

Rental Reimbursement: In the event of a covered loss where your vehicle is in need of repair, USAA will pay for a rental vehicle. Unlike other insurers—which let you select a daily limit as well as a limit per claim—USAA lets customers select a type of vehicle: Economy, Standard, Multipassenger-Truck or Large SUV. The specific coverage limits for Rental Reimbursement will be spelled out in your insurance policy. According to the quotes we gathered, adding this coverage with an economy rental costs around $60 more per year.

Towing and Labor: If you are in need of roadside assistance, having this coverage will pay for the cost of towing to the nearest repair shop, the cost of gas delivery, a tire change and any labor performed where your car broke down. USAA will specify coverage limits on your individual policy. We found this coverage to cost an additional $18 on yearly auto insurance premiums for each driver profile we examined.

Rideshare Gap Protection: This coverage protects rideshare drivers during the times where they may not be covered by their personal auto insurance policy or the coverage provided by their rideshare service—such as Uber or Lyft.

Glass Coverage

Customers looking for full glass coverage—so they won't have to pay out of pocket for windshield or window repairs—might be disappointed with USAA's offerings. Unlike many other insurers, full glass coverage is only automatically included by USAA with comprehensive coverage only in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts and South Carolina. However, USAA customers may have the option to choose full glass coverage—for an additional charge—if they live Arizona, Connecticut, Minnesota or New York.

Gap Insurance

Gap insurance is designed for drivers who finance or lease their vehicles, and it covers the difference between what drivers owe and what their cars are worth in the event of a total loss. USAA does not offer gap insurance for leased vehicles, though it does provide similar products for purchased vehicles.

Drivers who get a car loan through USAA have the option to purchase Total Loss Protection, which functions similarly to gap insurance. This will cover the gap between what you owe and your car's actual cash value (ACV) up to $50,000, including $1,000 of your deductible.

Car Replacement Assistance (CRA)—which can cover the same costs as gap insurance—is available if you have either bought a car outright or have an auto loan through USAA or another lender. The main difference between gap insurance and CRA is that CRA will pay 20% more than the ACV of your car, whether this exceeds or is less than the amount you owe on a vehicle. For example, if you totaled your car and owed more than 20% over the ACV of your car, you would be left paying out of pocket for the remaining balance of your loan. While gap insurance is also limited on how much it will cover, in most cases the limit will be greater than 20% of your car’s ACV. On the other hand, if your car isn’t financed, CRA can play a valuable role in helping you to purchase a new vehicle in the case your car is totaled, not just pay off a loan as gap insurance does.

Keep in mind that, since CRA and Total Loss Protection provide a similar service to gap insurance, those with car loans will not see any added value with separate gap coverage. For example, if you totaled your car and the amount of your loan was 20% greater than the ACV of your vehicle, then all of the CRA funds will be used to pay off the loan and your gap insurance would be unused.

USAA Auto Insurance Discounts

In terms of discounts, USAA's offerings are, overall, pretty similar to what might be available to you with other insurers. Discounts that USAA provides include multipolicy discounts, multivehicle discounts, as well as discounts for vehicle equipment—such as anti-theft devices and daytime running lights. The discounts available can change based on your driving history and location.

DiscountDetails
Military InstallationIf you garage your vehicle on a military base, you can receive a discount on the comprehensive coverage portion of your premium of up to 15%.
Annual MileageUSAA will give you a discounted rate based on the number of miles that you drive in a year. This discount is only available to drivers over the age of 29.
USAA's Discount for Driving ResearchQualifying drivers can sign up and receive devices that they plug into ports on their cars. From there, all they have to do is drive normally—and help USAA with driving research. USAA will gather the information through the devices and send periodic email surveys. Enrolling in this program gives drivers a 5% auto insurance discount.
Premier Driver DiscountHaving a good driving record for over five years qualifies you for this discount. Additionally, you also qualify for accident forgiveness, which was mentioned previously.
Defensive Driving CourseTaking an approved defensive driving course can save you on your USAA auto insurance premiums.
Driver Training CourseCompleting a drivers education course—before turning 21—can earn drivers a discount on their car insurance.
New VehicleInsuring a vehicle with USAA that is less than 3 years old qualifies you for a discount on your auto insurance premiums.
Good StudentFull-time students who have a GPA of at least 3.0 are eligible to receive a discount. Drivers are also able to qualify if they are in the upper 20% of their class academically or by being on their schools’ scholastic achievement list—such as honor roll or dean's list.
Family DiscountHaving a family member who is also insured with USAA qualifies you for a discount.
Automatic PaymentsScheduling automatic payments can save drivers up to 3% with USAA.

Highlighted Discount: Stored-vehicle Discount

This is a very valuable discount that can mean up to 60% off your insurance premiums. Specifically this discount is extremely beneficial to members of the military who might be deployed for long periods of time. Drivers can qualify for this discount only if their vehicles are stored in secure locations and aren’t driven for at least 30 consecutive days.

Essentially, the savings that you get with this discount result from USAA changing or reducing coverages that you won't use when you aren't driving your vehicle, such as collision coverage. Other insurers might sell comprehensive-only insurance policies to protect a stored vehicle, but USAA's Stored Vehicle Discount makes it really easy for drivers to save on insurance if they need to store their cars.

USAA Auto Insurance Quotes

We gathered quotes from multiple auto insurers and concluded that USAA's rates were well below the average for almost every driver profile. The exception was for the quotes for families with multiple drivers. For these quotes, USAA's annual premiums were 11% above the average across all insurers.

USAA Annual Insurance Rates Comparison

Our study revealed that for drivers who have recent accidents on their records, USAA's rates were 12% below the mean. These profiles included drivers who have had an at-fault accident within the last five years. USAA's prices were especially good for the 18- and 60-year-olds with accidents, at 29% below the average, according to the quotes we examined.

USAA Rates for Drivers With Accidents Comparison

USAA Homeowners Insurance Coverages and Benefits

USAA homeowners insurance provides all the coverage you'd expect from a top national insurer. The policy includes coverage for the structure of your home, which includes your exterior walls, roof and frame; your belongings, including electronics and computers; liability protection; and loss of use coverage. And USAA provides hazard insurance for all the usual perils, including fire, theft, vandalism and most kinds of weather damage like wind and rain. In addition, USAA offers a few special benefits that many insurers don't offer.

Military-Specific Benefits: USAA provides several benefits and perks in its homeowners insurance policies that specifically cater to active service members and their families. For one, USAA covers your belongings worldwide, even in an active warzone—many insurers don't cover their policyholders' items in warzones. USAA waives your deductible while you are on active duty, and USAA homeowners insurance policies also cover your military uniforms.

Identity Theft: All USAA homeowners policies provide up to $5,000 of coverage for losses related to identity theft. USAA also offers identity protection services, and the least-expensive level of ID protection offered is free for USAA customers.

Full Replacement Cost to Home and Belongings: USAA homeowners policies cover the full replacement cost of your home and belongings. For example, if you buy a laptop for $1,000 and it's stolen after you own it for two years, USAA will pay you $1,000 to replace it, even if the laptop had only been worth $500 at the time of theft. Some insurers only provide the actual cash value (ACV) or charge extra for replacement cost coverage.

Landlord Coverage: USAA provides coverage for landlords renting out their homes, whether the properties are long-term investments or you're moving but not yet ready to sell. USAA provides coverage that protects you against liability claims and typical insurance perils like fire or weather damage. Plus, you'll be compensated for lost income if your property is damaged from a covered loss.

What USAA Doesn't Cover: Like most insurance companies, USAA doesn't cover damage due to earthquakes. And depending on where you live, you might not be covered for damage due to hurricanes, flooding or other windstorm damage. USAA may also not provide coverage for dogs with histories of bites or aggression. However, you may be able to supplement your homeowner policy with an endorsement, particularly in the case of earthquake or flood damage.

Homeowners Insurance Discounts

USAA typically has low rates across the board, but it doesn't offer much in the way of additional discounts to its homeowners insurance customers. Customers can save 10% on their annual premiums if they have been claim-free for five years on their homeowners or renters insurance policy, and they can save up to 10% for bundling home and auto insurance together. USAA also provides discounts for equipping your home with certain safety features, such as a centrally monitored home security system or fire alarm, or an active sprinkler system.

However, USAA's premiums are typically low enough that you'll likely find a great price on homeowners insurance even without a lot of extra reductions.

USAA Home Insurance Quotes

To understand how the cost of USAA homeowners insurance compared to other companies, we collected sample quotes for homes at four different levels of coverage from USAA, Amica, State Farm and Travelers Insurance. We found that USAA's rates were cheaper across the board and the company offers even better deals than its competitors as coverage amounts increase. For example, the owner of a $75,000 home can expect to save $121 over an average competitor—a savings of about 9%. But people who own a $350,000 home will find their bill is more than $1,200 cheaper per year—a savings of more than 34%.

We did come across rates from one competitor, Travelers Insurance, that were competitive with USAA. Its rates were sometimes even lower than USAA's for our sample house in Texas. We recommend customers looking for the best deal shop around to find the lowest rates for their home.

USAA Annual Homeowners Insurance Rates Comparison

Optional Additional Coverages From USAA

USAA offers a few other add-on coverages that are purchased separately from your homeowners and auto insurance policies, but they are only available if you're already getting at least one of the two from USAA.

Valuable Personal Property Insurance: Valuable Personal Property (VPP) insurance protects jewelry, guns, art, musical instruments, cameras, silverware, and collectible stamps and currency. Homeowners insurance policies usually have a maximum dollar amount they'll cover for valuable items such as wedding rings or diamonds—typically of a few thousand dollars. VPP insurance extends your coverage to include the full value of your precious items. Like standard USAA homeowners insurance coverage, items covered by VPP insurance are covered against theft worldwide. However, unlike homeowners insurance coverage, VPP insurance covers items that are lost or broken, and it does not have a deductible.

Umbrella Insurance: Umbrella insurance protects you from liability claims and lawsuits that go beyond the limits of your homeowners or auto liability coverages. For example, suppose you have homeowners liability coverage up to a limit of $100,000. If someone injured themselves on your property and successfully sued you for $200,000, umbrella coverage would cover the remaining $100,000. You might consider umbrella coverage if you have a significant at-risk assets or if you regularly participate in high-liability activities.

USAA Customer Reviews, Complaints and Ratings

USAA provides quality customer service that is better than most of its competitors. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) reported USAA as having fewer customer complaints—relative to company size—than the industry median. Moreover, USAA ranked extremely well for is claims satisfaction, receiving the highest possible score in J.D. Power's 2017 Claims Satisfaction Study.

People with USAA insurance do not need to worry about whether the insurance company will have the funds to pay out for a claim. USAA received top marks for its financial strength from A.M. Best Rating Services. A good rating here implies that the company will probably have the funds to pay out for the assets they insure.

Industry Reviewer

RatingValue
NAICComplaint Index Rating: Auto0.86
NAICComplaint Index Rating: Homeowners0.24
A.M. Best Rating ServicesFinancial Strength RatingA++ (Superior)
J.D. PowerClaims Satisfaction Rating5

USAA Online Tools

USAA's online tools are comparable in terms of features with what other insurers provide. Using USAA's website, customers can pay bills, access and change their policies, and get proof of insurance. For additional access to your auto insurance policy, USAA provides the USAA Mobile app, which is well-reviewed and offers comparable features to other insurance apps. With it, users can manage their auto insurance policies, report claims and connect with roadside assistance.

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