Comparing Car Insurance For Veterans and Active-Duty Military
U.S. military veterans deserve a bigger thanks than a hamburger on Veteran’s Day. We think they should get special consideration when they’re purchasing car insurance, too. A handful of companies offer special military car insurance discounts and benefits on car insurance for veterans. Here’s a closer look at the best military auto insurance options.
Is a USAA car insurance quote the best auto insurance for veterans?
Founded by 25 Army officers back in 1922, USAA now provides insurance, banking and financial services to some 9 million members. USAA membership is open to U.S. military service members, veterans with an honorable discharge and their eligible family members (as well as a few other groups). One in four of USAA’s employees are veterans, military spouses or active-duty members of the armed forces.
USAA has become synonymous with car insurance for veterans. The company offers special military insurance discounts, such as 15 percent off for vehicles garaged on base and up to 90 percent for vehicles stored while a member’s deployed (not available in all states). USAA also ranks highly for customer satisfaction. The company scored “among the best” in J.D. Power’s 2014 study of satisfaction with auto claims. What’s not to like?
Well, USAA can’t always compete on price. USAA says the average member saves $434 over his or her previous insurance. Some say USAA is the least expensive option they found for car insurance for veterans, while others say they paid half as much after switching to GEICO. You can save with USAA, however, if you bundle your auto, life, home or renters’ insurance.
Comparing other options for car insurance for veterans
A few companies have a track record of giving special attention and service on veteran car insurance. These include:
- GEICO: GEICO offers military car insurance discounts up to 15 percent, emergency deployment discounts and discounts for members of military organizations. Active-duty military customers who store their vehicle for an extended time may be able to suspend their insurance coverage. GEICO also has a dedicated military service team, staffed entirely by veterans, that can help with veterans’ car insurance questions. GEICO also scores about average for auto claims satisfaction.
- Armed Forces Auto Insurance: Like USAA, Armed Forces Auto Insurance is a military car insurance company that’s been around for a long time: since 1887. AFI operates in a select number of states (and has no J.D. Power rating), but partners with Progressive to insure customers in 48 states. AFI doesn’t provide details on what specific discounts it offers veterans. In 2014 it received a B++ (good) rating from A.M. Best, which measures insurance companies’ financial strength.
- Esurance: Esurance promises no-hassle car insurance for veterans and active-duty military personnel. The company waives cancellation fees for deployed customers and helps ensure their time overseas won’t be considered a gap in coverage. However, Esurance doesn’t specifically offer military discount car insurance, and it scores below average for claims satisfaction.
Military auto insurance discounts
Nearly every major car insurance company provides some level of discounts for military personnel. Here are some of the military discounts that are available:
- Active duty military car insurance discounts
- Retired military auto insurance discounts
- National Guard or Reserves auto insurance discounts
- Emergency deployment car insurance discounts
Military personnel who fit the bill – and their families – can save up to 15 – 25 percent depending on the company they choose and a host of other factors.
How can you choose the best auto insurance for veterans and active-duty military?
If you’re a veteran or active-duty military, begin your search by getting quotes from USAA and GEICO. Despite those two companies’ focus on military car insurance, another insurance company may still give you a better deal.
Where you live affects your car insurance rates — sometimes dramatically. For instance, the average car insurance premium in New York is double that of North Carolina. Your rates may also rise or fall because of the ZIP code in which your vehicle is kept. If you move to a new base or you move for some other reason, get a few quotes from different insurance companies to see if you can save more. We can help you compare car insurance prices quickly and all in one place.
Also remember that price isn’t everything. Five minutes of searching will turn up a hundred people complaining that when they got in an accident, their bargain-price insurance was unresponsive and unhelpful. Before buying a policy, check the company’s satisfaction ratings by J.D. Power or Consumer Affairs. You can see how each company stacks up in its region for claims service, price and overall satisfaction.
Managing military car insurance during deployments
Those in the military are often managing a constant state of flux. For example, family members may be moving between states and even overseas. In such cases, policyholders can cancel and reactivate coverage for these family members. In some cases, they can even put a temporary hold on policies.
Here are a few important notes regarding deployments and auto insurance:
- Contact your state licensing agency: You’ll need an affidavit of non-use from your state’s department of motor vehicles to own a car that’s not insured or registered — and maintain compliance.
- Be careful where you park: It’s illegal to park an uninsured, unregistered vehicle on a public street. Find a safe and secure location you can access at a moment’s notice if you’re someone who could potentially receive an emergency deployment. Some auto insurance companies, as well as your local base or other military resource, can help you secure such locations.
- Insuring vehicles overseas: If you’re looking to ship and drive a car overseas, some auto insurers will help expedite all of the paperwork that needs to be completed. Be sure to look for and ask about this feature up front.
While life in the military comes with many challenges that average civilians don’t need to manage, both the U.S. military and a number of auto insurance companies offer resources, special services and generous discounts to members of the armed services and their families.