Compare Car Insurance Options for Military
Welcome to the fold the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) and Geico. Both of these unique organizations offer car insurance for military members, but there are some striking differences in how they do this and what benefits they offer.
Introduction to the USAA
The USAA is a “member-owned Fortune 500 company” dedicated to providing military personnel and their families access to the best banking, insurance, financial and investment services and products. What’s interesting is that it was originally started by U.S. Army officers in an attempt to “self-insure” themselves. It’s basically an organization run by and for members of the military.
Introduction to GEICO
Geico is a standard auto insurance company. It’s far larger and more powerful than the USAA, and it shows in its profits and customer loyalty. It’s a powerhouse in the United States because it frankly provides top-of-the-line insurance services to the consumer. Plus, it caters to everybody, regardless of career choice.
The Battle Begins
Now we get to the crux of this piece — a comparison of these two services.
First up, military personnel who’ve tried both insurance providers report that USAA provides better claim coverage. This makes sense, as Geico functions more as a conventional business while USAA is an organization dedicated to its military members. Suffice it to say, USAA cares more than Geico, which is out to make a profit. This translates to better customer service and faster response times.
In addition, you’re more likely to get a better settlement with USAA. Geico will try to lowball you at every turn, while USAA will make a sincere effort to make you what you deserve.
Added to this is the fact that most members end up with better rates through USAA. Again, this makes sense. The company provides services to a very small, select audience. As a result, it is able to provide more competitive rates.
Unfortunately, USAA is not as forgiving about mistakes and accidents. Tickets and other pesky annoyances send rates skyrocketing. Furthermore, they take longer to recover than they do with Geico.
Realistically, if you have a shoddy record, you would be better off with Geico if you need short-term savings. However, for long-term savings, your better bet would be to go with USAA.
Things get a bit more complicated for those individuals who have been with Geico for an extended period of time. Geico likes to hand out very sweet discounts to its more loyal customers. If you have been with Geico for 15 to 30 years, for instance, then your rates will by default be better than anything USAA could offer you.
The lesson here is that you should pick a provider and stick with it. If you’ve made it just fine with Geico for so long, there’s no reason to switch all of a sudden — none at all.
USAA happens to be one of a very few providers that offers free automatic billing. Other companies like Geico charge you an added premium for this service. With USAA, the premium is instead applied to your bank, which means you pay nothing extra.
If you are a military member and you’ve never worked with either Geico or USAA before, then your best bet is to go with USAA. They will take care of your needs and bill you fairly. You will therefore save money in the long run. If however you are a Geico customer and you’ve been with them for a long time, your best bet is to stick it out instead of switching. USAA provides an extraordinary service, but loyalty means a lot these days.