The vast majority of customers report positive experiences with USAA car insurance, but there's a catch -- it's open only to active military personnel, veterans and their families. Policyholders say they're happy with customer service and the claims process, and the company notches strong ratings for its financial strength. Those who would prefer local agents should note that USAA does virtually all its business online or over the phone.
Good reviews for fair appraisals and settlements. USAA scores well in customer surveys of satisfaction with claims, getting particularly high marks for appraisals, the repair process, settlements and rental car coverage; its lowest ratings come in the area of interaction with representatives during claims. Though USAA maintains a list of approved repair shops for which they guarantee a high standard of work, customers may also select their own facility. USAA does not require the use of parts made by the vehicle's original manufacturer, and some claim that replacement parts might not be of the same quality. Rental-car reimbursement coverage is available, and the company will pay for tow trucks for customers who have physical damage coverage or towing and labor coverage. USAA is membership-based, and members will get rebates during years when claim volume is low.
No sudden rate hikes. Most USAA customers say they're satisfied with their premiums, and few report the sudden rate hikes that seem to plague many other companies. There are a variety of discounts, including lower rates for safe drivers, good students, customer loyalty, multiple policies and newer vehicles. The company is rated highly for speedy service, purchase experience and a wide range of flexible plans, but some customers wish agents were available in person -- USAA conducts business online and over the phone only. Policyholders may report claims 24 hours a day.
Twenty-four national and regional auto insurers are rated and ranked by the editors of ConsumerReports.org. Ratings are based on consumer surveys that focus on satisfaction with speed of service, the claims process, estimates and premiums.
Review: Car Insurance Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
USAA is one of the top-rated car insurance companies in this roundup, which is based upon customer surveys. The company receives 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. Ninety-one percent of customers would recommend USAA to a friend, while 92 percent say they will renew their policies.
Review: USAA Car Insurance Ratings, Editors of Insure.com, Not Dated
Alex Glenn names USAA the best cheap auto insurance for those with military ties. He also notes that, in addition to having good rates upfront, there are other paths to even more discounts.
Review: Find the Best Cheap Car Insurance, Alex Glenn, May 3, 2016
USAA ranks number four overall, after a review of 175 insurance companies. What keeps it out of the top two spots is that it is limited to military families, However, Alan Seeley names it the best option for those in the military. Seeley is the Chief Actuary at the New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance.
Review: The Best Auto Insurance, Alan Seeley, Nov. 24, 2015
5. J.D. Power & Associates
USAA is one of just a few companies that receive 5 circles out of 5 for overall customer satisfaction. It also receives 5 circles for first notice of loss, appraisal, settlement and the rental car experience. The company receives 4 circles for the repair process and 3 circles, or an average ranking, for service interaction.
Review: U.S. Auto Insurance Claims Satisfaction Study (2015), Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Oct. 26, 2015
6. J.D. Power & Associates
USAA receives an overall score of 893 out of a possible 1,000, and a perfect 5-circle rating for overall purchase experience in J.D. Power and Associates' auto insurance shopping study. However, while it is the highest-rated company, since it is available only to military families it is not officially included in the ratings.
Review: Insurance Shopping Study (2016), Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, April 29, 2016
USAA earns 4.3 stars out of 5 points in more than 555 reviews, taking the top spot among auto insurance companies. Eighty-four percent of reviewers would recommend USAA to a friend. Ratings also include home and life insurance.
Review: USAA Insurance Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of July 2016