USAA (United Services Automobile Association), similar to GEICO, started off as a insurance firm for government workers. Specifically, USAA was for U.S. Army Officers who were incapable of getting car insurance coverage because of their supposed “high-risk” status. In the subsequent years, USAA has extended from a corporation of self-insured U.S. military workers to include many other types of insurance coverage services and programs for other divisions of the military, that includes non-officers and reservists, and other federal agencies like the FBI.
Today, USAA auto insurance is still aimed towards members of the U.S. Military and their relatives. In addition, they have a members program that allows individuals to get additional discounts on things like banking and insurance. In fact, the USAA website claims that you can save an average of $461 on car insurance when compared to competitors. However, this is something that consumers will have to verify themselves through a quote.
Eligibility requirements to purchase USAA membership include:
- Active, retired and honorably separated officers and enlisted personnel of the U.S. military.
- Officer candidates in commissioning programs (Academy, ROTC, OCS/OTS).
- Adult children whose eligible parents have or had a USAA auto or property insurance product.
- Widows and widowers of USAA members who have or had a USAA auto or property insurance policy.
- Savings-oriented business procedures
- Substantial deals and incentives for qualified policyholders
Customer satisfaction & Claims Promptness (10/10)
Due to its customer-driven support and steamlined claims and maintenance procedures, USAA has become well known around the industry for its customer service. Compared to many other insurance companies, USAA is not a publicly-traded company. As a result, there are no investors who stand to benefit from low-ball estimates, corners being cut or awful customer support. This permits USAA car insurance policyholders to have the comfort of being assured that they will receive courteous and helpful customer service, timely claims adjustment and approval and guaranteed repairs. In fact, Business Week has ranked USSA in the top two for ‘Customer Service Champs’ numerous times in the past four years.
In terms of benefits and discounts, USAA has done enough to go toe-to-toe with non-reciprocal, open-enrollment auto insurance firm such as GEICO, eSurance, and Progressive. Not only are drivers with spotless records eligible for discounts, but individuals who have not been involved in an accident for a minimum of 5 years are eligible as well. USAA car insurance also has a good student discount for teenage drivers. Committing to multiple-vehicle and multiple-line policies will also give you some discounts. In addition, deductions are also available on new vehicles and automobiles with safety features such as anti-theft systems and daytime running lights.
In regards to benefits, very few car insurance rivals are able to top USAA, who manages to provide its customers automobile and travel-related discounts and benefits, along with savings on jewelry, flowers, shipping and home security products. Additionally, USAA provides its policyholders a quick and easy vehicle purchasing service that saves policyholders an average of $2600 off the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), manufacturer deals of $750 off on all GM brands and 20% discounts on CARFAX automobile history reports.
Repair & Response: 8/10
Motorists with USAA car insurance policies are able to use USAA’s Roadside Assist program, a program which works with Cross Country Motor Club to give initial vehicle first aid that includes jump starts, refuels and tows. Maintenance is only covered if it is part of your policy.
In terms of their claims process promptness, USAA has continued to impress with high marks. Their claims process is available 24/7 with phone and online monitoring accessible to policy holders. Tows can be requested with maintenance scheduling and follow up damage estimates taking place soon after. However, there are limited USAA-approved maintenance centers (less than 3,000). However, in their defense, these centers are comprehensively examined and all repairs are assured for as long as you own the automobile. For individuals with glass replacement plans, windshields can be replaced at the convenience of the policyholder (at work, home, or anywhere else that is most convenient).
Policy Flexibility: 8.5/10
USAA provides a wide array of coverage packages starting off on the cheap with Liability-Only and going up the scale to Collision and Comprehensive and coverages. In the middle of these two end points, qualified individuals can choose numerous insurance protections, such as labor and towing, glass replacement, rental reimbursement and even healthcare costs and extended benefits insurance.
Despite all this, USAA truly makes its mark is in its flexibility in terms of payments for insurance premiums. Originating as a risk-pool for and by “high-risk” U.S. Army officers, USAA has still managed to keep in mind the needs and lives of its customers, enabling payments to be made in accordance to the pay schedule of the military, toll free phone lines for deployed military employees and as high as 90% off storage space expenditures on automobiles of deployed U.S. Armed Forces workers.
Both off and on paper, USAA is amidst the top car insurance corporations in the country. In terms of benefits, discounts and services, no other insurance company tops USAA. Unfortunately for many people, individuals must be in the U.S. Armed Forces, certain government agencies such as the FBI and Foreign Service or Legacy status to be a member. Although it is improbable that policy qualifications will ease up anytime in the close future, lets hope that alternatives, like top-rated GEICO, eSurance and Progressive, do their best to learn something from USAA.