Who’s USAA Auto Insurance For?
If you’re among the roughly 20 million U.S. households of active service members or veterans, or if you are a spouse or child of a USAA member, you may be eligible for an insurance policy with USAA.
Offering a wide selection of insurance products ranging from home and auto insurance to business insurance and even pet insurance, USAA has met the diverse insurance and financial services needs of its customers since 1922.
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USAA Vehicle Insurance Policy Types
USAA often offers a better selection of vehicle insurance than some of its competitors and brings a product lineup to the market that meets the needs of most families, even those households with several types of vehicles.
USAA offers these types of vehicle insurance:
- Auto (cars, vans, light trucks)
- Boat/personal watercraft
- Antique and collectible cars
USAA Auto Insurance Policy Options
Coverage options and costs were clearly itemized on our test quote with the ability to change coverage options and see the price difference if higher or lower coverage options are chosen, or declined altogether.
Liability: Required by law in most states, liability coverage pays toward two types of liability: bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Coverage amount options begin at $15,000 and go up to $1,000,000 for bodily injury liability in most states. Property damage liability options begin at $5,000 and go as high as $100,000. Most homeowners choose at least $100,000 per person for bodily injury liability and $50,000 for property damage liability coverage.
Collision: Auto insurance collision coverage is for damage caused to an insured vehicle due to impact with another vehicle or a stationary object, or for damage sustained in a vehicle rollover. This coverage pays toward repair or replacement of your vehicle based on actual cash value, which is a depreciating value as your car ages.
Comprehensive: Vehicles can be damaged in many ways besides a collision, including falling branches, broken glass, fire, theft, or vandalism. These perils, along with some others, fall under comprehensive coverage on an automobile policy.
Medical: Medical care for you and other drivers on your policy is usually covered in one of two ways, depending on your state of residence. The most common options will be med pay or personal injury protection, the latter of which provide some additional coverages in the states in which it’s available.
Car Replacement Assistance: In the event of a total loss due to a covered claim, if car replacement assistance coverage is chosen, USAA will pay an additional 20% above the actual cash value of the vehicle involved in the claim. This optional coverage is surprisingly affordable, quoted at a couple of dollars per month for an older vehicle, and helps to bridge the gap between the insurance payout in a claim and the real-world cost of replacing that vehicle.
Road service: As an option, USAA offers roadside assistance to policyholders. Coverages include towing, flat tire repair, jump-starts, and fuel delivery if you run out of gas.
Accident Forgiveness: USAA provides an option to add accident forgiveness to your auto insurance policy, which prevents rates from rising after an at-fault accident. The company also offers accident forgiveness free of charge after 5 years without an at-fault accident.
Rental Reimbursement: Consumers can choose the amount of coverage they want toward rental reimbursement if their vehicle is temporarily out of service due to a covered comprehensive or collision claim.
Rideshare Gap Protection: Drivers who use their personal vehicles for rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft may not be aware of gaps in coverage with many auto insurers. USAA provides an option to add coverage for individual vehicles that cover the gap in rideshare applications.
Policy Options Rating: 5 Stars
Homeowner Discount: Many insurers now provide a discount for being a homeowner. USAA also offers a discount for bundling home insurance or renters insurance with an auto insurance policy.
Multi-car discount: Adding vehicles to your policy creates a multi-car discount on all the vehicles on your policy.
Length of Membership: Staying with USAA for your auto insurance can earn an additional discount over time.
Safe Driver Discounts: USAA customers who have maintained a good driving record for over three years can earn a discount that rewards their safe driving.
Defensive Driving Safety Course: Completing an approved defensive driving course can reduce premiums through this discount.
Driver Training Discount: Students or young drivers who have completed an approved driver training course can help to reduce auto insurance costs with this discount through USAA.
Vehicle Storage: Vehicles that are kept in storage may be eligible for a discount of up to 60%.
Annual Mileage: USAA customers can earn a discount based on the number of miles they drive in a year. Lower mileage use can lead to savings on premiums.
Good Student Discount: In most states, discounts are available for good students, helping to reduce the cost of younger drivers on your policy.
Available Discount Rating: 5 Stars
USAA Auto Insurance Coverage Selections
Important Coverages and Considerations: The primary coverage areas for an auto insurance policy are generally standardized but rules and coverage options may vary by state.
Liability: Required by law in nearly every state, liability coverage pays toward two types of liability: bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Drivers have exposure to both of these types of liability and can help to protect themselves financially by choosing coverage levels that best protect their assets. However, an important thing to understand in regard to either of these driving-related liability types is that assets have no bearing on the amount awarded in a liability judgment.
If you can’t cover a liability judgment and don’t have adequate insurance to pay the judgment, you are still responsible for payment. With this in mind, common choices for liability coverage begin at $100,000 per person for bodily injury liability and $50,000 for property damage liability. These coverage limit options are higher than the state-required minimum levels in most states but provide better financial protection for customers.
Collision: Auto insurance collision coverage pays towards the repair of your vehicle is damaged due to an impact with another vehicle, a stationary object, or in vehicle rollovers. Collision coverage insures the actual cash value of your vehicle, which means how much your vehicle is worth as it depreciates.
Coverage is subject to a deductible amount that can be chosen by customers. The deductible is subtracted from any claim payments. The combination of a high-deductible with the constantly depreciating value of a vehicle can result in a claim payment much lower than expected. Generally, a deductible of $500 to $1,000 provides the best compromise between savings and managing financial exposure.
Comprehensive: Fire, theft, vandalism, impact with animals, other damage caused by animals, and glass breakage are covered perils under comprehensive auto insurance coverage. Sometimes consumers choose a high deductible for comprehensive coverage, matching the deductible they’ve chosen for collision coverage, but the savings on premiums generally don’t justify a higher deductible.
In a test quote, we raised the deductible for comprehensive coverage from $500 up to a maximum of $2,000 on an older vehicle. This change saved $8 per month. However, choosing $2,000 as a deductible also effectively prevents all smaller claims and takes a big chunk out of the payment on a larger claim. In a sense, choosing high deductibles is a form of self-insurance.
Medical: Medical payments, usually structured as med pay or as personal injury protection (depending on state), pay toward the medical payments for you or other drivers insured on your policy. While USAA has an excellent online form to quote and bind auto insurance, it may be best to discuss this option with one of their agents or to research your options prior to buying a policy. Alongside liability coverage, medical coverage can create the most financial exposure if not structured properly for your individual needs.
Testing for real-world savings: We put USAA to the test on price. In our example quote for auto insurance, we used a household with two cars and two drivers, one of which had an at-fault accident within the past five years. Using this example, we found a savings of over $100 per month with USAA auto insurance when compared with the rate quoted by a well-known competitor, among the largest auto insurers in the U.S.
However, when quoting homeowners insurance through USAA and comparing rates against the same nationally-known competitor, USAA’s homeowner’s insurance rates came in slightly higher. When looking at the combined overall rates and taking advantage of bundling discounts available from both insurers, USAA proved to have a meaningful price advantage, but the savings on auto insurance were particularly attractive on their own.
Other Types of Insurance Offered by USAA
USAA does offer a discount for bundling auto insurance with home insurance. However, in our quote tests, we found their auto insurance product to be priced more competitively than some other insurance products they offer. Rates differ for each individual or family and their individual insurance needs, so your rate quote experience may vary.
USAA also offers
- Home Insurance
- Rental Property Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Small Business Insurance
- Valuable Personal Articles
- Event Insurance
- Flood Insurance
Completeness of Line Rating: 4 Stars
Agencies: Customers doing business with USAA usually do so by phone, by mail, or online. The company does offer a select few physical locations but most customers should expect service by phone or through USAA’s website.
Website: We found USAA’s website to be very useful and its online quote process to be fast and informative. However, some important coverages weren’t explained in-depth on the form, creating a risk of uninformed decisions for customers buying coverage. Working with an agent allows the opportunity to ask questions as they arise and to better understand key coverages.
Mobile App: USAA offers a highly-rated mobile app, allowing customers to access their policies with USAA and make payments. Customers can also place claims or view Insurance ID cards through the company’s mobile app.
Customer Service Rating: 4 Stars
USAA’s claims support is among the best in the business, with its customers awarding the insurer five stars for overall satisfaction in JD Power’s 2017 Insurance shopping survey. This insurer is among the few that couple attractive rates with industry-leading customer service. The possibility of a claim is a primary reason that we buy insurance and it’s comforting to find insurers that take their commitment to claims satisfaction to heart.
Claims can be placed by phone, through USAA’s mobile app, or online. Claim status can also be monitored online for the mobile app.
Claims Support Rating: 5 Stars
Pricing and Value
USAA was awarded five stars for pricing by customer surveyed in JD Power’s 2017 Insurance Shopping Study. We found this rating to be well-justified based on our test quotes, which offered significant savings for auto insurance. Other insurance types may not be priced as competitively for some individuals, so it’s recommended to get a few quotes before making a buying decision.
While the price is an important consideration in many households, the overall value is the truest measure of an insurance policy. Choosing an insurer with a lower rate but which delays or denies valid claims isn’t particularly valuable. USAA’s consumer ratings provide testimony to the company’s overall value proposition, making it a top-rated choice with a strong product lineup.
Pricing & Value Rating: 5 Stars
USAA membership is limited to military personnel, veterans, and family members of these groups or family members of existing USAA members. While this means that not everyone can be a member of USAA or purchase their insurance products, the extension of membership eligibility to family members makes the eligible group much larger than might be expected. If you are among those eligible for USAA, this insurance company should be on your shopping list when collecting quotes and comparing rates.
For auto insurance, in particular, USAA is among our top picks, with its largest limitations being its lack of physical offices and its restrictions on membership which prevent some customers from taking advantage of the company’s offerings.
Customer satisfaction ratings are exceptional, rates were very competitive in our test quotes, and the policy options offered by USAA reached into a few areas other insurers overlook, such as rideshare coverage and car replacement assistance, which helps to make you financially whole in the event of a total loss.
Overall Rating: 4.67 Stars
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: By law, what types of car insurance do I have to have?
(almost all — not NH) All states require you to carry liability insurance on your vehicle. Your state may require additional auto insurance coverage. Limits are expressed: Amount for injuries per person/amount for injuries total per accident/amount for property damage per accident.
2) Q: Should I have just the minimum amount of car insurance required by my state?
It’s a good idea to purchase more than the state minimum of any type of insurance. State minimums are set relatively low to keep insurance affordable, but in the case of an accident, you can deplete your minimums quickly with expensive medical and property damage costs. Once your bills extend past the minimums, you’ll personally be liable for additional costs and damage. Get the coverage that makes sense for you here.
3) Q: How does my personal credit play a role?
Insurance carriers run credit scores to help determine policy premiums. Your insurance rates will likely be lower if you have an excellent credit score. On the other hand, your insurance rates may be higher if you have a poor credit score. Insurance companies believe credit scores are an indicator of whether you’ll make your insurance payments on time and credit scores combined with other data can be predictive of risk. Check out the best companies for all credit scores now.
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