If you're in the military, reviews say you've got the best auto insurance option anywhere. The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) tops just about every auto insurance ratings chart there is. It's financially strong, earning the highest possible scores at all five ratings services (Moody's, Standard & Poor's, A.M. Best, Fitch Ratings and Weiss Ratings). Customers say USAA reps are extremely helpful, and most report no problems with claims, although a few claimants say they've gotten a runaround from USAA. Reviews praise USAA's low prices, but it's also a favorite among wealthy military and former military clients. However, only current or former military personnel are eligible, as are the children of policyholders.
J.D. Power and Associates provides the most thorough analysis of USAA, ranking it against 33 other insurers based on 15 criteria (including price and overall claims experience) from thousands of owner surveys. ConsumerReports.org does similar rankings, but you must be a subscriber to read them. The New York State Insurance Department ranks USAA against 39 other auto insurers based on customer complaints filed there. Weiss Ratings lists USAA among the top auto insurers based on its financial strength. Epinions.com has lots of consumer reviews for USAA, positive and negative.
1. J.D. Power & Associates
USAA earns the highest possible ratings in nearly every category in J.D. Power and Associates' latest insurance survey of more than 25,000 policyholders. However, USAA is only open to military families.
Review: Insurance Ratings, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates
USAA is among the 22 car-insurance companies ranked in ConsumerReports.org's most recent survey. Editors surveyed 28,241 people who filed claims with their auto insurers between January 2006 and June 2009. Each company is rated on claims problems, non-claims problems and timely payment.
Review: Auto Insurer Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Oct. 2010
3. New York State Insurance Department
USAA is one of three auto insurers that have topped this chart for four years in a row. The review ranks 40 auto-insurance companies according to their "complaint ratios" -- the number of complaints that New York regulators have upheld against them, relative to company size.
Review: 2010 Annual Ranking of Automobile Insurance Complaints, Editors of New York State Insurance Department
4. Weiss Ratings
USAA is one of the four financially strongest auto insurance companies in America, according to Weiss Ratings, which is owned by TheStreet.com. ConsumerReports.org says TheStreet.com's financial ratings are more stringent than Standard & Poor's, Moody's or A.M. Best's.
Review: Property and Casualty Insurers, Editors of Weiss Ratings
5. Insurance Journal
USAA is the favorite property/casualty insurer of the wealthy, according to this report on a survey by the Luxury Institute market-research firm. More than 2,100 households with at least $200,000 in gross yearly income and a minimum net worth of $750,000 were surveyed.
Review: High Net Worth Consumers Rank USAA, Chubb, and American Family Top Three P/C Insurers, Editors of Insurance Journal, May 19, 2006
USAA is the most consistently top-rated auto insurer at Epinions.com, earning an average of 4.5 stars (out of 5) from more than 180 consumers. However, a few say they've had bad claims experiences.
Review: USAA Group -- Auto, Contributors to Epinions.com