USAA Continues to Rule

In all the the various shenanigans and nightmare-drenched, neo-Kafka retellings of financial institution experiences, one company swoops to the top among Consumerist readers.

USAA, we love you. You’re the shit.

Hell, you almost even make it worth joining the, military or marrying a member of the armed forces. or marrying a member of, the military.

Karl writes: In January my Ford Exploder caught fire and burned up…

    “I am insured by USAA and they have been nothing but helpful. I called them the next day about my car and they had someone out there in 24 hours. I received a check for the damages in less than a week and they were fairly generous with the amount.

    About two months ago I decided that I wanted to buy a 2007 Camry and they offered to negotiate the price for me. Going through a dealership in San Antonio they cut almost three thousand off the MSRP. The negotiator called me regularly during the waiting time to give me updates on the car and just to check in.

    USAA also managed to give me a great rate on the loan for the car and everyone I talked to was extremely helpful in getting me the best payment setup. All in all the customer service has been top notch and I could not be happier with my new car.

    Rock on USAA.

    Karl”

Comments

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  1. Paul D says:

    Tsk tsk.

    Not just the Armed Forces. I’m a former State Department brat and a lifelong USAA customer.

    I currently have a USAA credit card, a vehicle loan and vehicle insurance on 2 cars for my wife and I. We’re also planning on starting some long-term financial planning through them in the coming months.

    Couldn’t be a bit happier.

    (Well, to be honest, I wish they did motorcycle insurance. But in their defense they referred me to Progressive for my motorcycle needs and I’ve been satisfied there as well.)

  2. RandomHookup says:

    As a long-time USAA member, I am happy we don’t offer Paul D motorcycle insurance.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Didn’t mean to exclude the State Department.

    “Thank you for your interest. USAA is a member-owned insurance and financial services company.

    Who can apply?

    * Active duty officer and enlisted personnel
    * National Guard and Reserve officer and enlisted personnel
    * Officer candidates in commissioning programs
    * Former spouses and adult children of USAA members”

  4. hspirate says:

    I agree, I have been a member of USAA since graduating from college in 1999 (Army brat). They have been nothing but helpful. You even get a dividen on your auto insurance, if they take in too much money that year.

  5. Hawkins says:

    I have been a USAA member for 15 years. They provide the best customer service of any big company that I’ve ever been a client of. No exceptions.

    They were swell when my car got stolen, and the crooks couldn’t get the trunk open, and so the groceries rotted, and created a stench that eventually forced the evildoers to abandon the car: they paid for a week of ozone-generation in the trunk, and paid for the rental car I had to drive during the destenchification.

    They also offer a credit card that dispenses with lame points systems and simply writes me a check for 1 percent of what I’ve spent every few months.

    I’ve financed car purchases and home mortgages through them, too.

    Generally, they are efficient and NOT DOUCHEBAGS.

    Unlike most of the companies that we see written about here.

  6. thezippy says:

    Add my “ditto” to the dogpile. I’ve had USAA insurance for 20+ years and have never had a single bad experience.

    Over the years they’ve helped me deal with everything from car crashes to home burglary (insuring them, that is, not… you know… crashing cars or breaking into homes).

    USAA rocks.

  7. billhelm says:

    Agree wholehartedly. Best customer service in the industry, hands down. They have been getting an increasing share of my banking business on top of the insurance. I had to leave them for a few years as they were more expensive than some others when I was considered high risk, but I went back as soon as I was able and their prices were better than other insurance companies.

    They also have great deals on banking products – we got a home equity loan with a much better rate and with no fees, all through the mail.

  8. pudge44 says:

    Add me to the list. I have my auto, homeowners, personal property, life, checking, savings, mortgage, home equity line, brokerage accounts with them. They absolutely rule. Never long waits on hold. People are always friendly, helpful and knowledgable. They always give the customer the benefit of the doubt. They settle insurance matters quickly and with no hasles.

    I believe — but could be wrong — that the banking services are open to the general public. You will not be sorry if you bank with them. True “no fee” checking, free deposit envelopes, they rebate you all your monthly ATM fees, etc., etc. Every time I hear people complaining about the fees they pay their bank or searching for one of “their” ATMs to use, I laugh. Switch to USAA and avoid all of that.

  9. Elvisisdead says:

    I’m a former USAA employee and a lifelong member. I was insured with them at 16, and have never looked elsewhere.

    They do extend membership to certain other Federal employees (like the USSS), but it’s not published on that site.

    In addition to all that other stuff, they offer discounts on various services. For example, my ADT alarm system came at a huge discount for equipment, and a discounted monthly rate. They also have a gemstone purchasing service where you can buy loose and set gemstones at extremely competitive rates. They have a travel service for members with excellent deals on overseas packages, and upgrade coupons for car rental at the major chains.

    As an employee, the place was awesome. It’s one of the larger office buldings in the US. For almost all the jobs outside the call center, a 4/10 schedule is available with business casual dress. That’s right – every Friday off. There is a pahrmacy, dry cleaner, photo developer, and gym on site (fully staffed and equipped). There are several cafeterias, and the cost of meals is insanely low. It’s almost as cheap to eat there as it is to bring your lunch. The vending machines are pretty much set at cost for all the items. I could go on and on.

    Did I also mention that if their revenue exceeds claims that you get a refund? That’s right. At the end of the year, if they’ve charged you too much, they cut you a check for the difference!

  10. Paul D says:

    At the end of the year, if they’ve charged you too much, they cut you a check for the difference!

    Indeed. It’s always a pleasant surprise to get a tidy little check when this happens.

    I would like to add that “destenchification” would make a great band name.

  11. misskaz says:

    I’m a USAA member and big fan, but I’d just like to point out how funny “Ford Exploder” is. Hee!

  12. StWaldo says:

    I’ve been a USAA member for nigh on 6 years now, and have nothing but “props” and “mad love” for them. Their CSRs and agents are nothing but curteous and helpful. I bank with them, have my insurance (auto and property) with them, and have an auto loan through them. And frankly, no amount of money would get me to switch.

  13. doodlebug says:

    Everyone’s covered the service aspect well, but the rates, particularly for car insurance, are extremely competitive across the board. On more than a few occasions I’ve had cold-call insurance salespeople ask who I have insurance with. The conversation is usually very short after I tell them USAA.

  14. trixare4kids says:

    I’ve been coveting USAA for quite some time now. But alas, I cannot be in the club.

    My father was in the Navy in 1967-1969, but that doesn’t quite cover me because he was never a member and didn’t stay long enough to retire, dangit. ::sigh::

  15. Ben Popken says:

    Erin writes:

    “I’ve been a USAA member for as long as I’ve been insurable – almost 20 years. And my retired AF pilot dad’s been with them for almost 50. USAA’s been like a big, mean, tattooed big brother for me (god love my brother, but he’s neither big nor mean & that adorable gecko tat on his hip doesn’t cut it. but I digress). I have so many “Oh, how I love thee, USAA” stories, but this particular favorite includes them making a grown man weep.

    About 4 years ago, I was hit by a drunk driver at 45+ mph in a hit & run. I went Starsky & Hutch on the ass scab & got his plate # & make & model info – before I was pulled over by Atlanta’s finest. Once they finally nabbed him, the police pansied around with the guy. They claimed they couldn’t prove anything because he’d already gotten his car repaired by that time. However, they’d found all the damaged parts from his car at the body shop he’d chosen for his covert “my car was rear-ended in a grocery store parking lot” repair work. The front bumper of his late-model Accord was a veritable crushed PBR can – with my car’s paint all over it. “Wow,” I thought, “Now they can nail this scourge of humanity.” Nope.

    But USAA had already paid for all the repairs to my 240SX (one of the last Nissan made). Instead of hassling me, or making me do all the leg work while writing them fat monthly checks, USAA simply told me they were on it. They already had the police report. They had the name of the investigating officer. They knew the body shop. They went after that fucktard with guns a-blazin’. I actually felt a little bit bad for him at first. Then I laughed hysterically when the DUI cop called me & told me the prick was crying in a jail cell.

    USAA’s own relentless investigation was the only thing that kept that guy from walking free & clean. Ah, sweet, sweet justice.

    I was really sad when I moved to NYC & sold my car. No more roadside calls to try to explain some set of bizarre circumstances. But I refused to leave USAA, so I got hooked up with renter’s insurance while I plot my next use for their services. Being part of the military-industrial complex has paid off rather nicely.”

  16. Ben Popken says:

    Viva writes:

    “I’m more than a little disappointed about not having the opportunity to express a dissenting opinion on USAA on your site due to your registration process, so I’ll write what I would post here.

    I can’t argue that USAA provides excellent service to its members. However, God help you if you must make a claim with USAA because one of their members hit you because they are certainly not helpful, pleasant or easy to deal with. Three years ago, I was hit by a USAA-insured driver. He got tickets for two different offenses and I got a trip to the hospital. This was on a Friday night. By Monday morning, the hassling began. I was hardly able to pick up the phone when the USAA staff began calling me about my car and my claim (I opted not to pursue it through my insurance company, Progressive, which I love). Where was the car? Where was the title? When can it get signed over? Submit this, submit that, yada yada. I was on the phone with them several times a day for weeks haggling over the rental car (they would only pay for two weeks despite the fact I was in no condition to go car-shopping), the fact that they were having trouble getting my car off the lot where it had been towed by the city, and mostly, the dollar amount they would pay me for my beloved but smushed car. I even sent them numerous faxes to indicate that the amount they were offering was not enough to replace my car. They didn’t care. They just released the bulldogs on me and pounded me into submission. After about a month, I finally gave in and took slightly more than their first offer.

    Then came the hassling over my medical care and bills. They slyly asked me to submit the bills to them to pay. Fortunately, based on my awful experiences with them thus far in the process, I consulted an attorney who told me my right to future damages could be rendered nullified if I accepted money from them for my medical care. I was certainly happy to inform them that any further communication regarding my claim should be directed to my attorney. Over the course of the year following the accident, I had numerous doctor visits as well as physical therapy. Yet, their army of attorneys didn’t see it fit to even reimburse me for all the medical expenses, much less any future expense or pain and suffering. My legal battle went on for another year and a half before we finally settled two and a half years after the accident. Fortunately, I had good insurance and was financially sound enough to cover my own bills while waiting on the settlement. I’m sure other people aren’t so fortunate and are forced into settling for less than they deserve. They’re total bastards if you’re not the one with the policy. Which is, I suppose, why their customers like them so much, but why I will work through my own company should I ever be hit by someone with USAA.

    Had they been fair from the very beginning, had it not been clear that they were total bastards, I probably would not have sued the driver and his parents to get a decent (yet still not enough) settlement. Remember that, USAA members–hit somebody and suffer a greater risk of being sued since your insurance company is staffed with assholes.”

  17. kate says:

    Just wanted to join the USAA lovefest. Credit Cards have caused me some angst, but my card with usaa is my lowest apr and they don’t make you feel like a dumb jerk when you call and ask them a question. YAY USAA!

  18. Ben Popken says:

    John writes:

    “They’re not perfect, but they’re close.

    1) I’ve got $2000 in equity in the company built up from annual dividends plus I get about $200/year back from the equity account. Many elderly people sever their relationship with USAA since it is the only way to get the equity paid out — they can have 8-10K. Wow!

    2) Their quote on boat insurance was 1/3 the price of the leading insurer. With no survey required ($500 savings).

    3) When I wrecked my car last summer, they referred me to a wonderful repair shop and paid out 80% of my cars value in cosmetic and body repairs. In another incident, they paid out 3K fairly painlessly after I discovered damage several days later from a parking garage.

    4) While they’ve gotten much better at small claims (had a disastrous totalling of a 4K car 10 years ago), they fight like the devil against large claims. A good friend went in person and stood in their lobby until they could meet someone after months of argument over whether damage was caused by flooding (not covered) or sewer backup (covered). Another friend got “fired” as a customer after three small homeowners claims in a few years. But most insurance companies are pretty nasty on major claims. “