If you’re a veteran or active member of the military, you and your family might be eligible for some of the best car insurance rates around.
Some insurance companies, such as USAA, offer insurance exclusively for veterans, active-duty military and their families. Others provide special discounts and services targeted at the military market.
Military car insurance considerations
Car insurance companies that market to service members are aware of the special circumstances those customers might face, such as an overseas deployment, which might necessitate storing a vehicle and suspending or canceling coverage.
If you’re facing deployment and trying to decide what to do about car insurance, consider factors such as your location, your military car insurance provider, your reason for needing coverage and the length of time you’ll be away. Check with your agent or insurance company to determine the best strategy.
Remember to shop around
If you’re a veteran or active member of the military looking to compare car insurance, take advantage of discounts available to you. Shop for the best deals, get quotes and compare rates before deciding on the military car insurance policy that’s the best for you.
Don’t stop looking for savings just because you’re getting a special military or veterans discount. Other savings available to all drivers who qualify are also available to you, such as discounts for safe drivers and for customers who bundle home and auto insurance policies.
USAA, for example, offers discounts if you’ve maintained a clean driving record for five years or if your vehicle is 3 years old or less. You might qualify for more savings if you complete a defensive driving course or if you cover two or more vehicles with your policy, for example. And some insurance providers offer loyalty discounts.
You can get quotes instantly using NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool.
What is the Best Military Car Insurance Company?
USAA is a very strong option for those who are currently deployed or are active-duty service members living on a military base. Through a combination of cheap rates and great service tailored to the military lifestyle, people currently serving should give USAA a good look. If you are a veteran retired from the military, GEICO may be comparable to USAA due to its low rates and available discounts. Read on to know which will be best for your circumstances.
USAA Auto Insurance: Discounts and Low Cost Rates
USAA is the best car insurance for active members of the military, including people who are deployed. Since USAA only offers insurance to people associated with the armed forces, it doesn’t explicitly offer a military discount, but its rates are nevertheless among the best available to military families. In addition, USAA offers discounts of up to 15% if you keep your vehicle on a military base. And it reduces your rate by 60% if you are deployed and store your car in a safe location. These discounts, in combination with low yearly rates, mean deployed and active service members will likely end up paying the least for car insurance with USAA. You can see this yourself by examining our sample quotes below: We collected quotes for drivers in four states: Delaware, Kansas, Massachusetts and Texas.
State USAA GEICO Allstate State Farm
Delaware $953 $1,274 $2,918 $2,126
Kansas $678 $611 $864 $1,302
Massachusetts $414 $396 $767 $346
Texas $496 $643 $813 $1,053
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Here is how the four companies compare overall:
USAA is generally cheaper than other car insurers like State farm and Allstate, though GEICO has comparable pricing
For our sample driver of a single man in his early 30s, USAA is 35% cheaper than the average cost of insurance for the carriers we surveyed. The only exception to this striking difference was GEICO, which tends to offer rates nearly equal to USAA.
And if you’re storing your car while deployed, USAA is the clear winner: You may only be paying a little over $250 per year, which is cheaper than the alternative of letting your car insurance lapse.
USAA Car Insurance Also Excels When it Comes to Customer Satisfaction
According to the most recent J.D. Power survey of car insurance companies, USAA scored a perfect 5/5 for shopping experience, claims processing and overall satisfaction. It’s consistently among the very best-rated insurance companies in America. According to the survey, customers of USAA are particularly satisfied by how easy it is to file a claim with USAA, as well as the settlement amounts given to them by the company. USAA members also find the website to be very easy to use, and are generally satisfied with the flexibility of policies offered by the company. Plus, as the company only sells insurance to people connected to the military, its services and perks are all geared toward veterans and their families.
GEICO: A Good Car Insurance Option For Retired Service Members and Those Not Being Deployed
GEICO may ultimately be the cheapest option if you are not being deployed or are retired from the military. GEICO provides military auto insurance rates comparable to USAA in the states we surveyed. Overall, GEICO was among the most affordable insurance companies in the U.S. And GEICO offers up to a 15% discount for those who were or are in the military, regardless of their active status. When you factor in GEICO’s 15% savings for people in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, it may offer you the best rates overall. You’re eligible for GEICO’s military discounts if you are a member of any of the following organizations:
Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA)
Fleet Reserve Association (FRA)
National Infantry Association (NIA)
GEICO’s biggest shortcoming compared to USAA is its discount for soldiers who are deployed. Both companies reduce your bill when you’re overseas and your car is in storage, but GEICO’s discount is substantially smaller: only 25% off your premium. Also unlike USAA, the discount is only available if you are deployed to an “imminent danger pay” area (as defined by the Department of Defense).The danger pay areas are only a subset of the countries you may be deployed to, so if you are stationed in Japan, which is not an imminent danger area, you won’t be eligible for the discount from GEICO.
One last thing worth noting is that the military insurance program at GEICO is very accommodating to military members. The staff at GEICO Military are ex-military members themselves, so they understand what their customers may be going through. The site also has several valuable resources for military members to read regarding the process of leaving and returning from deployment.
USAA vs. GEICO Auto Insurance for Military Members
Both GEICO and USAA are great options for former or current members of the military and their dependents, but ultimately USAA has a slight advantage—especially if you are serving in active duty. GEICO also scores significantly lower for customer satisfaction when compared to USAA. As we mentioned above, J.D. Power gives USAA 5/5 for claims handling and customer satisfaction. GEICO didn’t fare as well, scoring 4/5 and 3/5 for each category, respectively. And most of GEICO’s interaction with customers occurs online, with relatively little person-to-person communication.