While better known for providing roadside assistance, AAA also offers auto insurance coverage to its members via its local auto clubs.
USAA is a large, nationwide insurance provider that has been operating for many years, but its focus is on the United States military personnel, both active and retired.
Both companies feature prominently in the U.S. auto insurance industry and serve customers all around the country, so we’ve compiled this comparison review to help you decide between USAA vs AAA.
With this guide’s assistance, you should be able to get the best car insurance rates possible and find out the right insurance provider for your situation.
AAA vs. USAA
We based the information inside this insurance review on the following key elements: equipment and monitoring, reputation, contract, price, and technological integration.
When you’re considering becoming a customer of any car insurance company, you should conduct research for rates in your state, and get insurance quotes from each of them to help you establish the best price.
For a clearer idea of what car insurance company is best suited to your requirements, we’ve summarized our comparisons under four headers:
Coverage & Benefits
USAA and AAA are large auto insurance companies offering coverage that’s essentially very similar. However, an important thing to consider when looking for the best car insurance policy is the type of coverage that you need.
After all, it makes no sense paying for coverage that includes features that simply don’t apply to your situation.
For instance, if your vehicle is old and of low value, then it may make sense to drop collision coverage from your insurance policy.
Both AAA and USAA car insurance provide bodily injury liability, property damage liability, collision, and comprehensive cover, personal injury, medical payments, and cover against uninsured/underinsured motorists.
As for additional coverage, both providers offer rental car reimbursement, meaning you won’t be out of pocket if your car is off the road for a period. AAA offers new car replacement coverage whereas USAA does not cover military members or their families with this particular type of coverage.
What’s the difference?
The only difference in the types of coverage offered by the companies is that USAA roadside assistance program provides coverage for towing and labor costs, but only to the nearest auto repair shop, which may not help if you break down on a long journey and are far from home.
AAA members get all the benefits from their very well known roadside service. Their road service comes in three tiers, Classic, Plus, and Premier. They all offer the following:
- extrication/winching service
- locksmith service
- emergency starting
- battery service
- flat tire assistance
- fuel delivery
- home lockout
The major difference between usaa and aaa is with aaa roadside assistance service, you can be in your car, a friend’s, or a rental anywhere in the United States and be covered.
USAA insurance only covers your car vs a roadside assistance program that covers you no matter who owns the vehicle you’re driving or riding inside. USAA roadside assistance is a policy add-on through USAA Towing and Labor.
What Do Their Customers Think?
Many factors influence a customer’s satisfaction with their insurance provider. Things such as the cost of their premium and the ease of getting a quote are often thought to be the most important things to a customer.
An often overlooked element not considered is the insurance claims servicing process.
Experts agree that this is one, if not the top driver of customer satisfaction with an insurance company, as it’s one of the primary ways in which a customer interacts with their service provider.
J.D. Power is an American-based global marketing information services company that surveys insurance providers in the U.S. for its Claims Satisfaction Study.
There are three key performance indicators related to the overall claims process that influence J.D. Power’s overall insurance ratings: communication, ease of service, and timeliness.
The AAA’s Californian subsidiary, the Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group, received a 3 out of 5 score for the following categories: overall satisfaction, the first loss of notice (FNOL), claim servicing, repair process, and settlement.
The estimation process and rental experience categories both received a 2 out of 5 rating.
USAA was awarded a perfect score of 5 out of 5 in the overall satisfaction, first loss of notice (FNOL), and repair process categories.
Finally, the claim servicing, estimation process, settlement, and rental experience categories were awarded an excellent 4 out of 5.
If USAA were ranked in each category, then it would have been among the highest rated providers in the study.
As it was, USAA did exceptionally well in this study and finished in second place, below Erie Insurance and above Auto-Owners Insurance and American Family, in third and fourth place respectively.
The AAA’s Californian subsidiary, the Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group, didn’t fare as well and finished in 13th place, just above Farmers, Progressive, and State Farm, but below Safeco, Auto Club Group, and Nationwide.
Overall Customer Experience
Many elements can affect the relationship between the customer and his or her provider, including the overall purchase experience and how simple it is to navigate the insurer’s website.
Some things to look at include how well the company answers questions—is there a local agent available to answer your queries or is there only a general FAQ on the website?
How the company communicates vital information, and how it handles complaints, also has a noticeable effect on the relationship between customer and provider and their overall satisfaction.
Insurance providers surveyed in the J.D. Power Shopping Study are ranked across six categories: overall satisfaction, policy offerings, pricing, local agent, call center representative, and insurer website.
USAA performed significantly better than AAA and received a rating of 5 out of 5 in all categories apart from local agents.
The AAA received a score of 3 out of 5 in the overall satisfaction, policy offerings, and pricing categories, a rating of 4 out of 5 in the local agent category, and 2 out of 5 in the call center representative and insurer website categories.
Since the AAA Auto club manages its insurance policies on a state by state basis, there is not a national complaint ratio (based on complaints vs. premium dollars).
As stated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, “Not all states provide complaint data to the Consumer Information Source.”
Two states that did provide data showed complaint ratios that are much lower than the national median of 1.00, Florida at 0.44 and Michigan at 0.22.
In California, the most populated U.S. state, it was reported that out of 650,000 active policies, the USAA received a total of 24 complaints.
With a ratio of only 3.7 complaints per 100,000 active policies, USAA ranked in the top 40 percent of Californian auto insurance providers.
Comparing Financial Strength
Financial strength might not cross your mind when choosing between two insurance companies, but it is something to consider.
You want to remain confident that your insurance provider will be there for you through thick and thin, able to fulfill all of their responsibilities, even in the face of a region-wide emergency with multiple claims.
Five independent rating agencies may provide information on your insurance company.
They are A.M. Best, Fitch, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s.
The insurance analysts at A.M. Best gave CSAA, one of the underwriters for AAA Auto Insurance, an “A+” for its financial strength.
USAA auto insurance ratings were equally strong.
The company boasts a “triple-A” rating from Moody’s which is its highest rating, and A.M. Best rates USAA as an “A++.
Pricing And Discounts
Just as there are factors that can increase the cost of your insurance premium, there are also elements that can help reduce it.
Companies don’t all offer the same discounts so it’s important to check and see what items are available that may be especially helpful to you.
Several companies will offer bundling your auto insurance policy with other types of insurance coverage like home insurance, life insurance, or renters insurance to save money. Other’s offer accident forgiveness and mobile app usage as incentives for members.
USAA’s discounts benefit those in the military while AAA has an anti-theft discount.
|Completed Driver Training Course||NO||YES|
|Completed Safe Driving Course||NO||YES|
|Vehicle in Storage||NO||YES|
|Length of Membership||NO||YES|
|Vehicle Garaged on Military Base||NO||YES|
|Pay in Full||YES||NO|
When it comes to comparing auto insurance companies, be sure to do your research and make all the necessary comparisons, so you’re pleased with your eventual purchase.
Remember, many factors affect the overall price of your premium, so gather quotes before signing on the dotted line.*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that "timely" information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.