US News says that about 1.4 million service men and women serve the country today. In addition to active-duty military service members, over 20 million veterans live in the United States. Even without adding in the families of these current or former military people, that’s over six percent of the population. Accounting for average family sizes of about three people, the number of Americans with military affiliation balloons to almost 20 percent.
No wonder many top car insurance companies design insurance policies for active-duty military members, veterans, and their families. These insurers understand that this population often has different coverage needs than the general population. Thus, auto insurance companies offer coverage options and auto insurance discounts to attract these groups as customers.
Which is the Best Military Car Insurance Company?
As with any insurance, the best choice for military, veterans, and families may depend upon location, unique needs, preferences, and budgets. Therefore, it’s impossible to name the best company for all service members, veterans, or family members.
For instance, the same insurer will have different rates in New York City than in Omaha. Also, active-duty soldiers experience different situations than veterans or military families. Thus, the best company for service members on active duty might change once they retire. That explains why consumers should compare a handful of high-quality car insurance companies to find the best match.
To get started, these well-known auto insurance companies often rank highest for coverage options, affordable premiums, and service:
- USAA car insurance: Most often, USAA car insurance earns top rankings for military car insurance. USAA insurance offers cheap rates, superior customer service, and coverage tailored to the needs of active-duty personnel, veterans, and military families. This company only accepts customers with a military affiliation and their immediate families.
- GEICO Insurance: This national insurer will offer military discounts, making its relatively low rates even cheaper. Current or honorably discharged military members qualify, and GEICO also offers steeper discounts for deployed personnel in active combat zones. GEICO also staffs its dedicated military customer service team with veterans.
- Esurance auto insurance policies: Esurance has earned an excellent reputation for competitive auto insurance rates but doesn’t have a specific military discount. The company lets military personnel cancel their policies without penalty in case of deployment and will reinstate the policy upon return. This feature can prove handy for service members with frequent or upcoming deployments.
- Liberty Mutual military discounts: Liberty Mutual offers military discounts for active-duty military, retired military, and reserve members. The company also offers other attractive discounts for safe drivers, good students, and students away at college. These price cuts can vary by state.
- State Farm: Like Esurance, State Farm doesn’t offer a specific military discount. The company does offer various other discounts for safe driving and has a reputation as an affordable provider. Also, State Farm offers homeowners insurance with bundling discounts, providing a good choice for military families needing multiple policies.
USAA Auto Insurance: Military Discounts and Low-Cost Rates
According to multiple studies, USAA offers military discounts and low average rates for people with military associations. For instance, a Value Penguin study found these yearly average rates for military members buying state-mandated policies:
- USAA: $1,053
- Geico: $1,154
- State Farm: $1,178
The US News survey found that USAA saved an average of 37 percent in premiums over other insurers in their study. Just as important, this company also earned the highest customer satisfaction scores for filing claims after accidents, ease of submitting claim forms, and claims handling. This company also offers military options that may help save hassles and money.
USAA also offers special discounts for deployments. Storing a vehicle in a relatively safe location, like a military base, also helps earn additional discounts. Other insurers, like Geico, may also offer deployment discounts, but USAA generally provides members with steeper price cuts.
Highlights of USAA auto insurance for military members, veterans, and military families include:
- The USAA website allows members convenient access to many services online. These include checking policies, filing claims, and making payments.
- The company provides its members with special programs for stored vehicles, deployment, moving, safe driving, and remaining active, loyal customers.
- Members who rent or own homes can obtain additional discounts for bundling in renters or homeowners insurance.
- USAA employs veterans to staff customer service and other departments. It maintains special customer service lines for active-duty personnel.
Who Can Enroll in USAA Auto Insurance?
USAA stands out because this company limits its customer base to people involved with the military. For example:
- Drivers with a current or past association with the military and specific professional organizations may enroll in USAA auto insurance.
- These policyholders can also make their spouses and children eligible for coverage.
For instance, the child of policyholders can enroll in coverage. These children can even keep their coverage after they leave home as adults. However, if the military member never purchased USAA car insurance, the children would not qualify. Thus, one attractive benefit of enrolling in this company includes the ability to pass on eligibility to other members of the immediate family, even if they have never served.
Pros and Cons of USAA Military Car Insurance
- The majority of USAA members report high customer service satisfaction.
- USAA hires veterans who understand the issues military people and their families face.
- USAA offers low rates for the military and their families.
- The company provides substantial discounts for keeping cars on base.
- The company doesn’t always offer customers the cheapest rates.
GEICO: A Good Option for Veterans and Families
GEICO offers some benefits that appeal to active-duty military members, like discounts for storing cars safely during deployment. Still, USAA appears to beat GEICO most of the time for these types of features.
Mainly, GEICO discounts apply universally if the customer is deployed, living on a military base, stationed in one place, living off-base, or even retired. Thus, this insurer might offer a better option for some individuals than USAA. It’s best to compare features and premiums to know for sure.
Pros and Cons of GEICO for Service Members
- GEICO gives current and discharged service members a discount of up to 15 percent.
- The company offers discounts for safely storing vehicles during deployment.
- Customers don’t review GEICO as favorably as USAA’s customers.
Esurance: Special Policy Features for the Armed Services
Esurance doesn’t offer a special military discount, but they have a feature for active-duty military people. The company lets members cancel their policy while they’re away on deployment and can’t drive. Then, they can reinstate it with no penalty after returning to their vehicles.
Many insurers reserve their best rates for drivers with continuous coverage. This practice might make sense for typical drivers but can penalize active-duty military. Esurance might offer a good choice for military members who expect deployment. Obviously, nobody else in the family should drive the car when it’s not covered.
Pros and Cons of Esurance for the military, veterans, and families
- Esurance lets military members start and stop coverage with no penalty.
- The company generally offers competitive insurance rates.
- Essurance doesn’t have specific military discounts or programs.
State Farm: Low Rates and Discount Opportunities
In many states, USAA offers the cheapest car insurance rates for people associated with the military. In other cases, State Farm or GEICO check in with cheaper rates. State Farm doesn’t offer customers special military discounts, but they have plenty of price cuts for safe driving and bundling multiple policies with one company.
For instance, the company has programs to offer lower rates for younger drivers, who are notoriously more challenging to ensure affordably. Young adults, families with teens, homeowners, and renters may find that State Farm helps them save money.
Pros and Cons of State Farm for Military Families
- State Farm offers many discount programs to give customers a chance to save money.
- State Farm has many types of insurance, like homeowners insurance, and customers can take advantage of bundling discounts.
- State Farm generally provides customers with competitive rates.
- The company doesn’t have specific military discounts or programs.
What to Consider if You Are Storing a Car During Deployment?
USAA offers a 15-percent discount on comprehensive insurance for keeping vehicles parked in an on-base garage for residents of most states. Comprehensive covers non-accident damage, like theft, vandalism, or hail.
This rule changes to a five-percent discount on collision and comprehensive coverage in California. Collision insurance covers damage to policy holders’ vehicles if they’re at fault in an accident or the other driver lacks liability insurance. In turn, liability covers damages to other property if an accident is the policy holder’s fault.
If the policy owner keeps the vehicle stored on the base and doesn’t drive it for at least 30 consecutive days, USAA increases this discount to 60 percent. Not driving and storing the car in a safe place reduces USAA’s risk, and the company passes savings back to its customers. The company does not offer this discount in HI, VA, or NC.
GEICO also offers this kind of military discount, though its plan works slightly differently. Customers who store their vehicles according to an approved storage plan and face deployment to a Department of Defense “Imminent Danger Pay Area” may enjoy a discount as high as 25 percent.
Who Offers Military Car Insurance Discounts?
This chart can help insurance shoppers understand military discounts and features from various well-rated auto insurance companies.
|Auto Insurance Company||Details for Specific Military Car Insurance Discounts|
|USAA||In most states, USAA offers discounts up to 60 percent for liability and 15 percent for comprehensive coverage on stored vehicles during deployment. Details vary for CA, HI, NC, and VA.|
|GEICO||GEICO offers 15-percent military discounts, and some details for qualification can vary by the state.|
|Liberty Mutual||Details for military car insurance discounts can vary by state, and the company doesn’t offer this deal to residents of all states.|
|Farmers||Farmers offers a three- to five-percent discount, depending upon the state of residence.|
|Arbella||This regional car insurance company offers a 10-percent military discount for MA residents.|
The Best Car Insurance for Veterans and Military Families
In particular, active military members have unique needs for coverage that the general population doesn’t typically share. Some examples may include frequent moves and rapid deployments. Thus, companies like USAA and GEICO frequently earn mentions because they have tailored customer service and insurance options to this population.
Note that USAA doesn’t always get listed in rankings of the best car insurance companies because it only accepts customers with a military affiliation. Many of these ranking publications want to appeal to the broadest audience possible. The most extensive member base or even cheap car insurance rates upon initial application won’t tell the entire story of which company will help military members save money.
Benefits of Armed Forces Insurance for Cars During Deployment
In particular, some insurers offer policies and programs with benefits tailored to make personal finances easier to handle for active-duty military personnel. Combined with reasonable rates, these extra benefits make these insurers particularly attractive, even if they’re not the cheapest upon initial enrollment.
These price breaks make sense from the insurer’s point of view because qualifying for these discounts means the customer won’t have access to their vehicle. If the vehicle owner safely stores their car, that reduces the chance of damage or the need to file a claim.
For example, GEICO offers an emergency deployment discount for members deployed to places the Department of Defense has declared “imminent danger areas.” Thus, armed forces members can keep coverage but pay less when they’re unlikely to have access to a personal vehicle.
USAA takes this discount further by cutting car insurance rates as much as 60 percent during deployments when the customer has their car stored. This benefit provides a good choice for military people who don’t have other family members who might use the vehicle during the member’s deployment. If service members choose to park their cars on a military base but not in storage, they can still save about 15 percent.
What is the Best Military Car Insurance Company?
The best car insurance for service members, veterans, and families will depend upon several unique factors. Thus, people shopping for coverage should spend some time thinking about their needs and what they’ve liked or disliked about their current or previous insurers. Write down the most critical factors and create a checklist to use when comparing various offers.
Compare a Handful of Car Insurance Quotes
For the same vehicle, deductible, and options, compare three to five local insurers. An agency or online quote system can make this task easy.
Ask About Discounts and Money-Saving Insurance Options
Explore various opportunities to save money based on the current situation. Also, consider future events, like deployment or young drivers in the family, to learn how these might impact rates.
Consider Bundling Multiple Policies With One Company
Most insurers offer discounts to encourage customers to place more policies with the company. In addition to auto insurance, most people need renters and homeowners insurance, but many insurers also offer discounts for adding motorcycle, boat, RV, or life insurance.
Compare Customer and Claims Service Reviews
Premium price matters. The insurer’s track record for filing and settling claims can matter much more when it’s time to repair or replace a damaged vehicle. Therefore, customers seldom regret paying a little more to enjoy good customer and claims service. Look online to determine how well the insurer satisfied previous and current customers.
Review Coverage After Various Life Events
Each insurer offers unique premiums, discounts, and policy benefits. Thus, various life events should signal that it’s time to compare coverage. Some examples of important life events include buying a new home, getting notice of deployment, retiring from the military, having a child, getting married, and moving to another county or state.
Besides life changes, the market also constantly changes. Insurance companies often add new programs and adjust rates to remain competitive and attract new customers. That’s why many insurance advisors suggest comparing insurance every year or so. Anybody who has kept the same policy for several years can benefit by shopping around.
How Active Military and Veterans Can Save Money on Car Insurance
Premiums and benefits from various insurers may vary by location, driving records, age, and even credit score. Also, members of the military, veterans, and their immediate families make every customer unique. Thus, it’s impossible to say which insurer will offer the best overall experience for everybody. As time passes, insurance needs also change. For instance, military people might retire, move, or buy a home, and teens in the family might qualify for their first driver’s license.
Thus, most insurance advisors suggest shopping around every year or so to ensure the best choice for military car insurance in the past still represents the right option for the future. While cheap rates matter to many drivers, customer service, special programs, and other factors can impact the customer’s experience with auto insurance.