AAA vs. USAA: Which Is the Best? (2024)

USAA wins out against AAA as the better insurance company, but USAA’s restrictive membership means more drivers may qualify for AAA auto coverage.

Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarco
  • 13+ years writing insurance and personal finance content

  • Insurance, lending, and retirement expert

Jacqueline has contributed content, and her personal finance passion, to dozens of noteworthy financial brands, including Credit Karma, Bankrate, and MagnifyMoney.

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Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

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Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin Halachev
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

Updated June 16, 2024

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USAA and AAA are two membership-based car insurance companies. While almost anyone can purchase an AAA membership to access its auto insurance products, USAA is more restrictive: You must be part of the U.S. military community to be eligible.

Here’s what you need to know about USAA and AAA, including how to compare quotes, discounts, coverages, and other key factors.

Quick Facts
  • USAA car insurance costs an average of $46 per month for liability coverage; AAA car insurance costs an average of $88 per month for liability coverage.

  • AAA doesn’t underwrite its own policies. Instead, various insurers like CSAA underwrite car insurance policies for AAA drivers.

  • USAA offers exclusive benefits and discounts for military members, veterans, and their families.

AAA vs. USAA: The verdict

USAA wins out against AAA because it’s one of the best and cheapest car insurance companies available. It has affordable average rates and top customer satisfaction ratings across the country. However, its restrictive membership requirements make many drivers ineligible for its coverage.

On the other hand, AAA is available nationwide, and while it requires membership, almost anyone can apply and become an AAA member. It’s not as cheap as USAA, according to Insurify data, but its insurance partner, CSAA, scored above average in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction study.

Here’s how AAA and USAA stack up against each other.

FactorAAAUSAA
Insurify Quality (IQ) Score3.84.7
Customer satisfaction score3.64.2
Average quote: liability only$46$46
Number of available discounts1010
Number of states where it operates5050
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.
  • Our editorial team spent more than 350 hours developing the Insurify Quality (IQ) Score and scoring insurance companies. The IQ Score objectively analyzes and calculates a score for insurers using more than 15 crucial criteria. The team weighted criteria by importance to the consumer — factors such as customer reviews and affordability influence the score more than availability and third-party ratings.

    We rate each company on a 1-to-5 scale based on five categories: financial ratings, customer satisfaction, affordability, customer support and transparency, and availability. Insurify updates ratings once a year or as more recent information becomes available.

    • Third-party financial ratings: Insurify uses data from AM Best, S&P, Moody’s, and more to compare insurance companies’ credit and ability to pay out future claims.
    • Customer satisfaction: To calculate this score, Insurify analyzed more than 28,000 customer reviews across 155 car insurance companies. We also consider third-party ratings from J.D. Power, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and Trustpilot.
    • Affordability: Our data scientists analyzed more than 90 million real-time auto insurance rates from our partners across the U.S., as well as available discounts, to calculate an affordability score.
    • Customer support and transparency: This measures coverage options, ease of claims filing, and the insurer's transparency surrounding discounts, coverages, and claims process.
    • Availability and reach: Insurify scores availability and reach by identifying the number of states in which insurers offer coverage and company size by market share.

AAA

With more than a century of industry experience, AAA offers automotive, insurance, financial, and travel services to more than 61 million members. It has more than 1,000 branch offices in North America, making it a very accessible insurance option. Its insurance partner, CSAA, earned an AM Best financial strength rating of A (Excellent), which indicates its financial security.[1]

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IQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
JD Power
J.D. Power data measures overall customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction based on a 1,000-point scale.
830
A.M. Best
A.M. Best analyzes an insurer’s financials, operating performance, business profile, and other factors to generate an opinion-based rating of a company’s financial and credit strength. Ratings range from A++ (exceptional) to D (poor).
Not rated

USAA

USAA earned an AM Best financial strength rating of A++ (Superior), which is a great sign this company is financially stable enough to pay out future claims.[2] Founded in 1922 by Army officers to insure each other’s cars, USAA still serves military members, veterans, and their families.

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IQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
4.7
JD Power
J.D. Power data measures overall customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction based on a 1,000-point scale.
880
Liability Only
Liability-only insurance, sometimes called minimum-coverage insurance, pays for bodily injury and property damage to others in an accident the policyholder causes. It does not pay for the insured’s own damages.
$46/mo
Full Coverage
Full-coverage car insurance generally includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, and may include other optional coverages such as uninsured motorist coverage. Collision covers a policyholder’s repair or replacement costs in case of an accident. Comprehensive covers damages caused by non-accident events. The average quote displayed here reflects policies with the following coverage limits: $50,000 bodily injury liability per person; $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident; $50,00 property damage liability per accident; $1,000 collision deductible; and a $1,000 comprehensive deductible.
$99/mo

In business for more than 100 years, USAA exclusively serves members of the military and their immediate families. The company offers multiple types of insurance products, as well as banking, investing, and retirement services. Auto insurance customers have access to a number of discounts, including for bundling, insuring multiple vehicles, living on a military base, and more. A.M. Best gives USAA an A++ rating for financial strength, and the company had the highest or second-highest rating of all insurers in every region in J.D. Power’s Overall Customer Satisfaction Index. Customer reviews are mixed for service and claims processing.

Pros
  • Low premiums

  • SafePilot program rewards good driving with up to 30% discount

Cons
  • Only available to active-duty military, veterans, military spouses, or children of service members or veterans

  • No 24/7 customer phone support

Read our USAA review
Gerald - June 16, 2024
Verified

Unhappy

They keep raising the price.

Gerald - June 16, 2024
Verified

My Insurance Rates Have Gotten Very High

They are quick to raise their rates.

Kenneth - June 15, 2024
Verified

Not Good

They're not too good at relating to customers.

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AAA SMARTtrek vs. USAA SafePilot

Both USAA and AAA offer auto insurance customers telematics programs that can help them save on their policies.

AAA’s SMARTtrek can save drivers up to 10% by participating in the program, which rewards drivers for their safe behavior. You can use the mobile app to see how to improve your driving and develop safer skills behind the wheel.

With USAA’s SafePilot program, you get a 10% discount just for signing up and can save up to 30% if you demonstrate consistent, safe driving habits. This app also monitors how you drive and gives suggestions for driving safely. At the end of each policy period, USAA applies discounts based on your driving behavior and resets your driver score to start fresh for the next policy term.

See Next: How Does Usage-Based Insurance Work?

See Next: How Does Usage-Based Insurance Work?

AAA vs. USAA: Which is the cheapest?

It’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes to see what car insurance company can offer you the best price. The discounts you qualify for, ZIP code, car type, and many other factors can influence how much you spend on car insurance.[3]

USAA: Cheapest for drivers with a clean driving record

Overall, USAA is the cheaper car insurance company for drivers with a clean record. However, due to its restrictive membership requirements, you may not be eligible for coverage.

Driver TypeAAAUSAA
Clean driving record$88$46
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

USAA: Cheapest for drivers with a speeding ticket

Speeding tickets typically cause an increase in car insurance rates, but USAA’s average liability rates are still less than $100 per month for someone with a ticket. It’s cheaper than AAA’s rates after a speeding ticket.

Driver TypeAAAUSAA
Drivers with a speeding ticket$114$52
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

USAA: Cheapest for teen drivers

Teen drivers usually pay more for car insurance because they have less experience behind the wheel and are more likely to get in an accident than other age groups.[4] USAA has cheaper average rates than AAA for teenagers.

Driver TypeAAAUSAA
18-year-old$130$70
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

USAA: Cheapest for drivers with bad credit

In many states, it’s legal for auto insurance companies to use your credit score when determining premiums.[5] Insurance companies believe that drivers’ credit history indicates their likelihood of filing a claim; drivers with good credit pay cheaper rates than drivers with bad credit.

USAA is cheaper than AAA for drivers with bad credit, according to Insurify’s proprietary data.

Driver TypeAAAUSAA
Drivers with bad credit$106$56
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

USAA: Cheapest for senior drivers

Senior drivers tend to pay lower-than-average car insurance rates, likely because they drive less frequently and shorter distances than other age groups. However, their rates can still spike around age 70 due to age-related issues that can affect driving capabilities.[6]

USAA has the cheapest rates for senior drivers compared to AAA’s car insurance rates.

Driver TypeAAAUSAA
Senior drivers$65$35
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Compare coverages: AAA vs. USAA

AAA and USAA offer standard car insurance coverages like comprehensive, collision, liability, and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. However, both insurers also have a suite of supplementary coverages that you can add to round out your policy.

For example, AAA offers gap insurance, which pays the difference between your insurance settlement and auto loan in case of a total loss. But USAA doesn’t offer gap insurance.

USAA offers a roadside assistance service as a coverage option, whereas AAA sells this as a product separate from your auto insurance policy. Anyone can purchase a AAA membership for roadside assistance services, even if they don’t buy an insurance policy.

Here’s how AAA and USAA’s coverages compare.

CoverageAAAUSAA
Gap insuranceYesNo
Personal injury protectionNoYes
Medical paymentsYesYes
New car replacementYesNo
Roadside assistanceNoYes

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Compare discounts: AAA vs. USAA

When shopping for car insurance, it’s always helpful to ask the insurance agents you’re working with about potential discounts you may be eligible for. Many car insurance companies offer their own sets of discounts.

For example, AAA offers a low-mileage discount, but USAA doesn’t. On the other hand, with USAA, you can qualify for a new-car discount, but AAA doesn’t offer a similar discount.

The table below shows AAA’s versus USAA’s car insurance discounts.

DiscountAAAUSAA
Clean driving recordYesYes
Defensive driving courseNoNo
Multi-policyYesYes
Multi-carYesYes
Low mileageNoYes
Telematics (safe driving app)NoNo
Anti-theft deviceNoYes
New carNoYes
Military/affiliationNoNo
Good studentYesYes
LoyaltyYesYes
Auto payNoNo
Student away at schoolNoNo
HomeownerNoNo
Alternative fuelNoNo

AAA vs. USAA FAQs

To better understand if AAA or USAA is the best option for you, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions about both insurers.

  • Does USAA have better rates than AAA?

    Yes. USAA’s average rates are cheaper than AAA’s average rates, according to Insurify’s proprietary data. However, the best way to find the cheapest car insurance for you is to compare quotes from multiple insurers.

  • What are the disadvantages of USAA?

    The main disadvantage of USAA as an auto insurance company is that it isn’t available for everyone. USAA has limited eligibility available only to military personnel, veterans, and their families.

  • Is USAA insurance really worth it?

    USAA insurance is often worth it for its special benefits for military members. Do some research on pricing, coverage types, and what the customer service experience is like for USAA members to get an idea if USAA is right for you.

  • What company is AAA’s biggest competitor?

    AAA has no standout competitor, but any auto insurance company like Allstate or State Farm offering roadside assistance services can compete with AAA.

Sources

  1. CSAA Insurance Exchange. "AM Best."
  2. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of United Services Automobile Association."
  3. III. "What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?."
  4. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Teenagers."
  5. District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities & Banking. "How an Insurance Company Can Use Your Credit Score to Determine Your Premium."
  6. III. "Senior driving safety and insurance tips."
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarco

During college, Jacqueline DeMarco interned at a retirement plan advisory firm and was tasked with creating a presentation on the importance of financial wellness. During her research into how money can affect our health, relationships and career, Jacqueline realized just how important financial education is. Jacqueline is a contributor for Insurify and has worked with more than a dozen financial brands, including LendingTree, Capital One, Credit Karma, Fundera, Chime, Bankrate, Student Loan Hero, ValuePenguin, SoFi, and Northwestern Mutual, providing thoughtful content to give readers insight into complex topics that they likely didn’t learn in school.

Courtney Mikulski
Edited byCourtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

Featured in

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Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

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