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USAA auto insurance review 2021

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    Article Highlights

    USAA is well-known as the best auto insurance provider for military personnel and other drivers who meet eligibility requirements. The provider offers some of the best rates and customer service in the industry, though coverage is only available to drivers who are eligible through military affiliation. USAA policyholders benefit from a variety of discounts, on top of competitive rates, and enjoy ease of use through digital services. 

    • Average full coverage premium: $1,484
    • Region offered: All 50 states and Washington, D.C.
    • Market share: 6.01%
    • AM Best rating/financial strength profile: A++ (Superior)
    • J.D. Power claims satisfaction rating: 5/5
    • Specialty coverages: Collector and Classic Car Insurance, Rideshare Insurance
    • Caveats for eligibility: Must qualify for USAA membership through being an active, retired or honorably separated U.S. military officer. Eligibility also extends to officers in commissioning programs, children and widowers of eligible USAA members and second-generation descendants of military personnel.

    USAA customer satisfaction and complaints

    USAA receives a 5/5 claims satisfaction rating according to the 2019 J.D. Power study. The high rating lands USAA among the best in comparison to other major auto insurance providers such as Geico and State Farm. 

    USAA also receives high marks for overall customer satisfaction, consistently rating 5/5 in every U.S. region. USAA is a small-to-medium provider since eligibility is limited, and it ranks among similar-sized providers for customer satisfaction. The Hartford, Erie and American Family have similarly high rankings for customer satisfaction

    When it comes to claims and customer satisfaction, different variables can affect agency scores. Most customers report lower satisfaction when they have to deal with frustrating pricing and negative customer service experiences. 

    How factors affect USAA’s auto insurance rates

    USAA offers a range of coverage that starts at $539 a year for minimum liability policies, and full coverage policies averaging $1,484 a year. Numerous factors will affect your specific auto insurance costs. The table below demonstrates the impact to USAA full coverage rates with specific factors added for comparison. 

    Average ratesAccidentSpeeding ticketPoor credit
    $1,484$2,006$1,735$2,284

    How driving record affects USAA car insurance rates 

    Accidents

    Accidents affect auto insurance rates because they are an indication to insurers of how risky your driving is. If you’ve been in one or more car accidents, providers will typically raise your premium to help cover costs and offset future claims. 

    USAA states that most customers won’t experience higher premiums if they’re in an accident that wasn’t their fault. Your USAA insurance rates will only rise if you caused an accident; as indicated in the chart above, USAA will increase annual full coverage rates about $600 on average. 

    To help keep costs low for good drivers, USAA also offers accident forgiveness. If you haven’t been in an accident for five years, USAA won’t raise your premium for one at-fault accident. 

    Speeding ticket

    Speeding tickets fall into the same category as accidents. USAA considers both as part of your driving history to determine your annual premium. If you have accident forgiveness, USAA won’t mark a speeding ticket against you if you haven’t had an incident in at least five years. 

    Outside of accident forgiveness, if you do see a rate increase due to a speeding ticket, it may take up to 3 years for USAA to lower the rate. 

    How poor credit affects rates

    Most states allow use of credit scores to help determine insurance premiums, except California, Massachusetts and Hawaii. While the proprietary analysis of your credit score varies by provider and state, studies show that the score can be a predictor of individual risk. In other words, a lower credit score has a correlation to the likelihood you will file claims.

    USAA’s average full coverage premiums saw an increase of about $800 with poor credit as a variable. Thankfully credit scores can be improved over time, so you can effectively reduce your premiums with better credit. According to the Insurance Information Institute, about 50% of policyholders can pay lower premiums because of good credit. 

    USAA auto insurance discounts

    USAA offers discounts consistent with other insurance providers in the industry. In general, you can get discounts for driving safe and owning newer or safer vehicles. USAA also offers discounts for good students and for customers who insure multiple cars or family members through USAA. Discounts specific to its military customer base are also available. 

    Unique discounts offered by USAA

    Military installation discount

    The USAA military installation discount is available for active military personnel who store their vehicle on a base. Customers can enjoy up to 15% off their annual premium in all states except New York. This discount is distinctly unique to USAA. 

    USAA auto insurance premium length

    USAA offers both 6-month and 12-month insurance policies. The premium length impacts how much you pay as well as how long your policy lasts. A 12-month policy is beneficial since you won’t have to worry about renewal for a year, but you may miss out on discounts that you could use after six months. For example, improvements in your credit won’t impact your rate until after your 12-month policy ends and is up for renewal. 

    USAA vs. other insurance companies

    CompanyJ.D. Power Score (Overall)J.D. Power Score (claims satisfaction)AM BestAverage rate full coverage
    USAA9045/5A++ (Superior)$1,484
    AAA8693/5A- (Excellent$1,948
    Allstate8584/5A+ (Superior)$1,896
    American Family8783/5A (Excellent)$1,218
    Amica8615/5A+ (Superior)$1,449
    Auto-owners8695/5A++ (Superior)$1,308
    Erie8805/5A+ (Superior)$1,141
    Farmers8492/5A- (Excellent)$1,540
    GEICO8673/5A++ (Superior)$1,260
    The Hartford8954/5A- (Excellent)$1,572
    Met Life8612/5A+ (Superior)$1,923
    Nationwide8622/5A+ (Superior)$1,533

    USAA mobile app and digital experience

    USAA offers the USAA Mobile App for free through the Apple App Store and Google Play. Through the app, customers can take advantage of the following digital options for policy management:

    • Mobile auto ID
    • Mobile roadside assistance request
    • Report claims
    • Accident checklist
    • Integration with banking

    Alternative insurance products offered by USAA

    ProductDiscountsJ.D. Power rating
    Auto InsuranceSafe Driver
    Defensive Driving
    Driver Training
    Good Student
    New Vehicle
    Multi-Vehicle
    Annual Mileage
    Vehicle Storage
    Family Discount
    Length of Membership
    Military Installation
    5/5
    Property InsuranceBundle and save with auto insurance
    Discount for no claims within at least 5 years
    5/5
    Life InsuranceN/AN/A

    In the spotlight

    • Custom insurance products specific to military needs
    • High claims satisfaction and overall customer satisfaction in every region
    • Superior financial strength ratings
    • Corporate dedication to supporting the military community through financial readiness, career assistance and caregiving
    • Multiple insurance products available for auto, home and life

    Methodology

    Coverage Utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze quoted rates from thousands of zip codes across all 50 states, using USAA’s premiums written. Quoted rates are based around the profiles of a 30-year-old male and female with clean driving records, good credit and the following full coverage details:

    • $100k bodily injury liability per person
    • $300k bodily injury liability coverage per crash
    • $100k property damage liability coverage per crash
    • $500 collision coverage deductible
    • $500 comprehensive coverage deductible

    Minimum coverages were applied to match state requirements. Both drivers used a new, financed 2018 Toyota Camry, commuting 5 days a week and driving 12,000 miles per year.

    An accident was defined as an at-fault accident with $3k in property damage. A speeding incident was defined as speeding 16-20 MPH over the limit.

    These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only – your own quotes may be different.

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