Comparing Military Car Insurance for Veterans and Their Families

May 26, 2015

U.S. military veterans deserve bigger thanks than a half-off hamburger on Veteran’s Day. We think they should get special consideration when they’re purchasing car insurance, too. However, only a handful of companies offer special discounts or benefits on car insurance for veterans. Here’s a closer look at the best military auto insurance options.

Is USAA the Best Auto Insurance for Veterans?

veteran car insuranceFounded 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). USAA also says one in four of its employees is a veteran, military spouse or active-duty member of the armed forces.

USAA has become synonymous with car insurance for veterans. The company offers special military discount car insurance benefits, such as a discount of up to 15 percent 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 combine your auto, life, home or renters’ insurance.

Comparing other options for car insurance for veterans

A few insurance companies have a track record of giving veterans special attention and service. These include:

  • GEICO: GEICO offers military discounts up to 15 percent, as well as 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 scores about average for auto claims satisfaction.
  • Armed Forces Insurance: Like USAA, Armed Forces Insurance is a military car insurance company that’s been around for a long time: since 1887. AFI operates in a limited number of states (and isn’t rated by J.D. Power) 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.

How can you choose the best car insurance for veterans?

If you’re a veteran or active-duty military, begin your search by getting quotes from USAA and GEICO. But despite those two companies’ focus on military car insurance, another insurer may be able to give you a better deal.

Keep in mind that car insurance rates are affected — sometimes dramatically — by where you live. For instance, the average car insurance premium in Texas is $1,001; in North Carolina, it’s $708. Your rates may also rise or fall because of the ZIP code in which your vehicle is kept. If you’re assigned 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.

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-priced insurance was unresponsive and unhelpful. Before buying a policy, check the company’s satisfaction ratings by J.D. Power. You can see how each company stacks up in its region for claims service, price and overall satisfaction. The easiest way to find the best insurance for veterans? Get multiple free quotes on Compare.com.

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