Why Is Progressive Using "Recent Military Service" To Determine Rates And Eligibility?

[Update: Progressive responded and clarified that the fine print does NOT mean they will use military service to give you a higher rate.] We got this email tonight from Ceaser, who wants to know why his military service would negatively affect his car insurance:

While searching for new car insurance on progressive and sadly other insurance carriers, figuring what the rate check would be I answered a few questions. Some questions asked were if I was currently in the military and in college, I am both. As an Iraq war Army vet I am currently going to school with the GI bill, and tuition assistance from the Air national guard, so I put that I am both a student and national guard.

Well before I used to call and verify information and just to see if anything was available if there was any sort of military discount available. As always I get told that the prices were low enough that not to require a discount, or that military discounts weren’t available from the company, as in Progressive. Geico does give a military discount but their rates are so jacked up that there really isn’t a discount, actually $300+ w/ military discount over my progressive, state farm, and sad to say allstate. Anyhow I come to the final page and in the fine print I see this:

  Your rate may vary, or you may not be offered a quote, due to eligibility requirements (you may not qualify for that program), credit history, recent military service, or driving record (if your actual record is different than what you told us). If you have been assigned to your recent automobile insurance policy by the state, or if any of the drivers you listed requires proof of financial responsibility, your rate may be higher than those provided by this comparison service. [emphasis ours -Editor]

Now my question is this. With news that 1 in 5 soldiers coming back from Iraq have mental, health, PTSD issues, not to mention the suicide rate climbing among periods of deployments. Long term deployments having stress issues and coping when coming back. Could these news be used to proclaim that Military might be a higher risk therefore lets bend you over and take your money? I hope not but then again most of these companies don’t care other than the bottom line. Any insight or help would greatly be appreciated.

Any Progressive lurkers out there who can chime in on the “recent military service” fine print and just how it’s used to determine your eligibility and rate?


Edit Your Comment

  1. whatdoyoucare says:

    Is this even legal? If it is, it shouldn’t be. Shame on Progressive. I will happy participate in a EECB if you provide the addresses.

    And thanks for serving, Ceaser.

  2. lukeroberts says:

    Ceaser should look into USAA. period.

  3. mgy says:

    I wonder if

    Section 402, Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974 – prohibits discrimination based on Vietnam-era veteran status or special disabled veteran status in federally assisted programs and requires affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified special disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era.

    would set any sort of precedent for this situation?

  4. mgy says:

    @mgy: By the way, I understand that it specifically mentions federally assisted programs and employment practices, but it was the only snippet I could find about this sort of thing.

  5. civicmon says:

    YES, look into USAA! My friend’s a service member and swears by them.

    Naturally, another corporation trying to screw our servicemen/women who are out protecting us and doing what they’re ordered to do. Someone should tell the “Progressive” scumbags who came up with this idea to go spend a day on the field.

    Thanks Ceasar for bringing this to our attention. I can typically forgive easily but singling out military as a reason to jack rates is pathetic. Another thanks for serving brother.

  6. crackalacker says:

    I have never served but I highly respect those who have and after this I will never go with progressive (or shall I say regressive?)

    Btw thank you very much Caesar

  7. Crrusherr says:


    I agree with reccomending USAA

  8. timmus says:

    Needs the headline: Progressive Insurance does not support the troops.

  9. renilyn says:

    @mgy: @mgy: I couldnt agree more. I have USAA and LOVE them. I would not purchase insurance from any other company on the planet.

    Ceaser, thank you very much for your service and protecting the country I love.

    Please, do yourself a favor and contact USAA.

  10. ShortBus says:

    Off with their heads! We have no idea if this has any affect on rates at all. In fact, Progressive could be giving recent vets a break… but, but… who cares if we don’t have all the facts? Down with Progressive! They don’t support the troops!

  11. FrankReality says:

    JD Power rates USAA highest both in customer service and in rates.

    BTW, I dropped Progressive recently for other reasons. If I could, I’d drop them again.

  12. krunk4ever says:

    Did anyone even READ the article? Nowhere does Ceasar claim he got a higher quote by checking that he was in military service. He just made some guesses on why it could possibly be there.

    What in that statement shows that it won’t actually be a discount?!?!

    If you really want to know if Progressive is charging higher or lower if you’ve been in military service, do 2 quotes yourself, one stating you’re in military and one stating you’re not and see what the difference is before making these flaming accusations.

    Everyday, I find the Consumerist crowd’s ability to reason and think logically drop lower and lower…

  13. lesbiansayswhat says:

    Well that’s it. Not staying with Progressive once my half a year with them is over.

  14. wtrwlkr says:

    I agree with switching to USAA. I switched over to them from Progressive when I graduated boot camp. I was 18 years old with one ticket and one non-fault accident, their rate was $100/month cheaper than progressive.

  15. Shadowfire says:

    @ShortBus: Yes. A thousand times this.

    Many car insurance companies give breaks to military vets (or current servicemen/women), as well as to college students, particularly those with good grades.

    But hey, evil corporation, internet, hur hur hur pitchforks and torches.

  16. bobpence says:

    I am opposed to Progressive’s politics, but I have to give them the benefit of the doubt here. Recall that cell phone companies are (supposed to) provide flexibility to deployed military, perhaps there are requirements that Progressive bends for the troops (e.g. moving every two years would be a bad sign for a civilian!). They may do this by law; they may even be the exception that proves the rule, a liberal entity that actually DOES support the troops rather than just insisting they do.

  17. Bungus Aurelius says:

    @ShortBus:, @krunk4ever: Amen. I read and re-read that trying to figure out how someone could conclude that recent military service was definitely a negative factor, but I can’t figure it out. The very next factor listed is “driving record,” and I hope we all know that your driving record can have either a negative or a positive effect on your insurance rates.

    Might help to follow krunk’s advice and do some research before hanging Progressive for treason.

  18. JimAg says:

    The disclaimer doesn’t even appear to apply to Progressive’s quote, but to the comparison quote they offer.

  19. Katharine says:

    I know insurance can also vary for military members because their cars often sit for long periods of time so you can change the type for coverage you. I don’t think they are doing anything bad by asking for recent military status.

  20. faust1200 says:

    Actually I just called Progressive and asked them because I was curious. They said your military status could affect your rate because they might be able to count your time in service as time you were insured, thus lowering your rate. The more time anyone has spent uninsured, apparently, increases your rate.

  21. krunk4ever says:

    @faust1200: Thanks for find this out for us. :)

  22. dragonfire81 says:

    Who needs to be Patriotic when there’s money to be made?

  23. t325 says:

    @faust1200: How DARE you do research about an issue and get both sides of the story and actually get to the bottom of it before commenting on it! We’re supposed to believe sensationalist articles, not fair, unbiased reporting. Shame on you!


  24. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Thank you for your service, Ceasar.

    Please consider USAA. I’m sure you’d qualify, they treat their customers well, and the rates are good.

  25. mikelotus says:

    Have you not seen the NY Times and Washington Post reports on 25% of returning soldiers having mental issues? Not that its their fault versus too long deployments in asymmetric warfare situations. If I was at Progressive or any insurance company, I would want their rates priced just like anyone else’s — on actuarial data. The discriminate against men too, especially single men, and even more so on single men that are young with fast cars. Did the customers at Progressive or any insurace company for that matter volunteer to pay higher rates to cover vets? Of course not. If there is an issue here, the the DoD needs to step in and assure that this is handled as a benefit to the Vets. This is not illegal discrimination. And most importantly, why are they being discharged in such a state to cause this? Why are they even being allowed to get into such a state? When will this madness stop? Is it really necessary to burn out these guys for Iraq? And all of you that want to support the troops? Well let me point you to the nearest recruiting office or vote and make your voice heard to get out of Iraq. Either option will help.

  26. BlackFlag55 says:

    Notwithstanding the above CSR explanation …

    Peter Lewis, Progressive Chairman named Progressive Insurance ‘progressive’ because his politics are ‘progressivism’. He is a large contributor to the DNC, he is an associate of George Soros, Herb and Marion Sandler and has directed large sums towards ‘investment in the intellectual future of the Left’.

    Mr. Lewis is using capitalism to fund his utopian socialist ideas for our society, a not altogether unique hypocrisy. Mr. Lewis is also on record as opposed not only to eradicating international stateless terror, but also on record that this nation must move so far to the Left that we should resemble other socialist utopias such as Cuba, East Germany and the old Soviet model … all of which have failed, according to this form of thinking because the world was not ready for the reign of Administrators.

    Progressivism is professional administrators; centralized decision making; the poorly defined issue of social justice; unremitting support of organized labor against capital; and abolishment of any meaningful military amongst their many and varied platforms of the day.

    Well known progressives, by their own stated description are Noam Chomsky, John Dewey, Margaret Sanger, Al Franken, George McGovern, Ralph Nader, Bernie Sanders and Barrack Obama.

    It’s not in the least surprising that an insurance company with progressive ideals has found a weasel worded way to undermine the work and sacrifice of men and women serving in our military. But then, not many people understand that your car insurance policy is a financial instrument which increases in value as it ages, and that even a slight interruption in the age of the policy effectively eradicates its value. You, the driver, are not part of the equation. How you affect the value of the policy as a financial instrument in secondary markets is their issue.

    Which our military men and women are defending. Amazing what insults they must bear.

  27. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Some insurance companies think people in certain professions are better drivers than others. Last time I was with 21st Century, they offered discounts for people with engineering, math, and computer science degrees.

    Almost all insurance companies use the CLUE report to determine your rate. Ideally, any bad marks on your driving record are supposed to be “hidden” from your public DMV records after 3 years of the incident. However, CLUE collects and maintains a comprehensive history of your accidents/tickets. So rather than looking at your squeaky clean current DMV driving history, the insurance companies look at your CLUE report and see all the accidents and tickets you had 4, 5, 6 years ago.

    I’ve had Progressive for over a year now and no real complaints yet. Their rates are cheaper than my previous insurance provider. And they have a pretty good website where you can administer your own account. My only complaint is that if you sign up online, they ask for your SSN to verify your identity. But I’m fairly positive they do a soft pull on your credit history.. even though they state that they don’t.

    Also, they sell your personal info to marketing agencies. When I opened my Progressive policy, I only used my first initial and last name. About a week later, I started receiving junk mail addressed to: my first initial and last name.

  28. t325 says:

    @BlackFlag55: Oh noes, quick, to the bomb shelter! Those evil left wing liberals are running insurance companies to spread their evil communism throughout the world!

    The crap people believe these days…..Seriously, can someone explain to me how a CAR INSURANCE COMPANY, a company that, at the end of the day, does nothing more than give policyholders money when they have an accident, can actually push some sort of agenda through and change the economic system in the world. They’re not the federal reserve. They’re not some huge bank. They’re not the government. They’re a fucking car insurance company. The only thing a car insurance company can do to spread socialism is to stipulate that any payouts for totaled cars must be spent on a Volvo or Saab with the hopes that once everyone is driving a Swedish car, we’ll all want to have the same type of economic system as Sweden. Of course, that can only happen once they turn all of the Progressive offices into Ikeas.

    And the only insults the military men and women are bearing are from people like you who must use their dedication and service to this country to push some bullshit conspiracy theorist political agenda.

  29. ChuckECheese says:

    @krunk4ever: Having recently shopped online for auto insurance, I have to sorta recommend against your idea of trying to get multiple quotes from the same company, unless you obtain the quotes one right after the other (within moments of each other). Why? When I did this recently, with each successive quote (and company), after a day or so, the quoted rates started going up, with the same insurer.

    My recommendation for shopping online for auto insurance are to wait until you are within a few days of buying, get the quotes quickly, and jump on the one you want. Be sure to get emailed confirmations of quotes you receive. Or, like me, you’ll return to some of these companies a few days to a week or 2 later, and the new quotes will be $50 or more than they were the first time around.

    I could make a black-humor jokey comment about this guy’s situation, but I just don’t think Iraq’s funny. I’m quite concerned about what will happen when the troops do finally get to come home.

  30. ShortBus says:

    @BlackFlag55: See, the problem with all the “vast Left Wing conspiracy” stories I always hear is that the “Left” isn’t as nearly organized as their opposition seems to believe it is. The “Right” has always been much more organized, focused, and funded compared to their Big Tent brethren. This is especially true nowadays because the only well-organized, left-leaning voting blocs worth mentioning–labor unions–have seen their membership numbers and influence implode since the 80’s.

    But please don’t let reality get in the way of your imagination–that wouldn’t be much fun.

  31. Blaaaah says:

    I’m a CSR for another insurance company. The only thing that pops to my mind is if they’re returning from active duty- they get a free waive into the preferred line. I’m guessing that’s what it is, because prior insurance is weighted heavily into determining rates, and that wouldn’t be fair the penalize the returning soldiers for not having insurance while they were being shot at?

    My best guess, at least.

    Oh- quick note.
    ALMOST all insurance companies pull a credit report. It’s not technically a hit, because it’s coded different, so they can get away with saying it’s not a credit check. It’s called the Insurance Financial Score (IS Score). You can find out more about it via wikipedia.com

    Although I and my coworkers use it on a daily basis, the higher ups don’t make much of an effort to explain it other than, the higher it is, the more you pay. We have to use it, otherwise, we can’t bind the policy and if we don’t bind policies, we are promptly fired.

    It’s provided by CLUE Choicepoint as well- and depending on which company you’re being quoted at, a big or not-so-big factor in your rate. Some companies are more credit intensive then others. Some companies will drop the credit check after you’ve been with a company a certain amount of years. And in some states (West Virginia) the insurance commissioner requires the insurance company to recheck the IS score on a rolling 36 month basis, and if it’s gotten worse, your premium will reflect a higher rate.

    Oh yeah, the ‘bad incidents’ that are supposed to be hidden after three years isn’t true. They’re still there. They usually hang around on the Motor Vehicle Report for about 7 years. Most things (pretty much everything except a DUI) stop being extra 3 years after the fact. Depending on the company, the bad incidents can still mess you up by eating up good driver discounts and whatnot.

    Since I know it’s going to come up, and folks don’t realize it- going uninsured, even if you don’t have a vehicle messes with your rates. The thought there, which has been passed to me by my superiors, is that you could have been driving uninsured because you have license, not all accidents get reported as well.

    In essence, I suppose it boils down to a matter of traceability.

    Oh yeah, if you carry higher limits such as 100/300 and you have been with a company for 5 or more years, insurance companies will give you a preferential rate to leave (depending on driving and credit history).

    Any other general questions I’d be glad to take a crack at. I’m a cog at a call center, but I like to think that the people I help get insurance know a lot more, and can better handle themselves after I sell them insurance. It’s kind of my penance for selling my soul, to pay my bills.

    If you hit a deer or something else fuzzy – you didn’t hit the fuzzy animal. That statement is indicative of fault as well that a collision took place, and the adjuster may be tempted to pay it out as a collision claim, rather then a comprehensive claim.
    The poor fuzzy animal darted out into traffic or something along those lines would work- but not “It came out of no where!” because that’s indicative that you weren’t paying attention, thus at fault, thus making it a collision claim that hurts your insurance rate.

  32. Sensisnow says:

    I have no idea how the Progressive direct website operates, but I am an independent insurance agent licensed with Progressive. I use a Progressive website dedicated to insurance agents and I can say that there is NO question on that site pertaining to military employment.

  33. dh86sj says:

    the way i’m reading this, they are only checking to make sure what you told them is factual. so, if you tried to get a service member’s discount, and it turns out you’re not in the service, they can adjust your rate.

    i don’t think it’s anything nefarious.

  34. alhypo says:

    It could be referring to the specific program he applied for. For example, if you did not actually have any recent military service, you would not qualify for the plan that offers special rates to those with recent military service.

    Also, if suggests nothing about the quality of recent military service. We all realize that soldiers can be discharged from the military in any number of ways, right? Someone who was dishonorably discharged might be considered a higher risk.

    All the quote suggests to me is that if you lie to them, and they find out, you will not receive the policy as quoted during the application process.

  35. Uriel says:

    Perhaps this has to do with being dishonorably discharged from service, going AWOL, refusing to serve, or not registering once you turn 18. I am to understand that any of these disallows you from applying for a credit card at all.

  36. captainleah says:

    military discounts?

  37. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Hilarious, you asked for a military discount and they told you that military service is bad based on their information. So it’s ok to offer you a cheaper rate for being in the military, but it is not ok to offer a higher rate? You cannot have it both ways. If military service is allowed in a decision it can go bad or good. Anything else should be illegal.

  38. deb35802 says:

    I agree about using USAA. I’ve had them for almost 10 years and have filed 2 claims (1 homeowners / 1 auto) with no problems or increase in rates whatsoever. I didn’t even know I was eligible for them until a friend told me I was (my late father was retired Army).

  39. Astos says:

    Progressive probably has a bunch of statistics that show war veterans to do their experience and possibly psychological trauma, are much higher risk than civilians.

    A case of putting unreliable numbers above patriotism.

    Astos Green lasers rulz

  40. fredmertz says:

    Consumerist — how about a correction or retraction here? People continue to bash Progressive when they haven’t read the posts that indicate that there is nothing negative here at all. Stop this before it becomes the next idiotic e-mail forward.

  41. wesrubix says:

    @krunk4ever: amen.

  42. katylostherart says:

    i like how faust actually CALLS and finds out why, and then the next several comments are how much progressive is doing evil to those in the military when it’s actually used to help discount rates.

    way to pay attention people.

  43. weakdome says:

    Is it Badvertising week or something?
    Between this article and the “apple support that might not really be apple support” article, we seem to just be throwing accusations all around!
    Who can we surmise is being a bag of dicks next?

  44. squikysquiken says:

    Wow… this article is asinine. “I want a military discount” but let me complain when the disclaimer say “your military record may affect your rate” . And the comments reek of knee-jerk patriotism. Not one of consumerist’s highest point.

  45. KogeLiz says:

    @t325: Yeah, I was gonna say… I can’t believe the OP nor the consumerist didn’t call and just find out before posting.

  46. GearheadGeek says:

    @faust1200: This was going to be my guess, though for a slightly different reason. The military is actually quite picky about the driving habits of active-duty personnel. Friends in the military have told me it’s not good to have any sort of civilian legal problems (even things as trivial as a speeding ticket) or any credit problems, especially if you have or might ever need a security clearance. I’d guess (without any hard data to support my guess) that in general drivers in the military would be a better risk than an otherwise similar group of civilians.

  47. wolfpackskankboi says:

    I have to agree 100% with everyone that has recommended USAA. I have been using them for all of my insurance needs since 1996, and now I use them for banking services too. USAA has excellent rates and has the best customer service I have ever dealt with.

  48. olegna says:

    I’m going to take a bit of a counter-stance on this issue. I hate the insurance industry and the fact that politicians in Ameirca are beholden to this industry, as well as the greater financial services industry.

    I am going to argue that you get what you vote for. The insurance industry discriminates against all kinds of people. Health insurance only insures healthy people and fights covering people who have a greater risk of needing to file claims.

    I have worked abroad twice in my life. And each time I returned to the USA I had to pay extra for my car insurances based on the fact I had not owned a car in the previous couple of years. This discrimination cost me hundreds of dollars. Both times it took a year for the extra I had to pay to be removed.

    The insurance industry argues that it is involved in determining risk, so it discriminates against people on the slightest evidence that they fit a demographic greater risk of having to file a claim.

    By this logic, returning vets would be considered at a greater statistical risk of filing a claim if their population is at a greater chance of, say, reckless driving, alcoholism, etc. So if the typical returning war vet has a greater chance of, say, drinking and driving, or driving recklessly and getting into an accident, then the insurance industry leverages this risk.

    I don’t like this.

    If you don’t like this then stop complaining about those wicked, evil big government regulations. If you want more corporate responsibility, you can’t expect the corporations to do it out of altruism. If a returning war vet is statistically more likely than the Average Schlub (esp. considering they are often younger) to get into a vehicular accident they why wouldn’t the insurance industry leverage against this if it isn’t told not to do that by “big guv-mint”?

    I don’t know if vets are statistically more likely to file claims, but I’m sure that’s what the logic is, according to the insurance industry. But in any case, if they penalize people for not owning a car for a year or two, then OF COURSE their going to penalize people who have been in a war zone for a year.

    It’s ironic, because a lot of people who might be outraged over this probably expect the corporations to be more altruistic and compassionate to war veterans. But why should they? It’s the government’s job to ORDER them to do that — but then that’s big, evil big government regulations.

    Like I said: you get what you vote for.

  49. salguod_senrab says:

    Folks, try READING THE ACTUAL RULE quoted above.

    It says: “if your actual record is different than what you told us”

    Setting aside all the b.s. about Left- and Right-wing conspiracies, I think we can all agree that if you MISREPRESENT YOUR MILITARY EXPERIENCE that it would be entirely justified to give you a higher rate.

  50. CarlR says:


    Why would we want to actually READ the text. It’s much more fun to get all upset about a problem that doesn’t exist.

    I rarely post a “blame the poster” comment, but I can’t even fault the web site for confusing text – it’s pretty clear to me that this part of the text refers to false statements about credit history, military service, or driving history.

    Repeat after me “Read, then Comment”

  51. llcooljabe says:

    First off, let me echo those posters above who have recommended USAA for veterans.

    Secondly, I wish people would really think about things before saying stuff like “all they care about is their bottom line”

    All corporations care about their bottom line. why should insurers be exempt? Why should they abandon all aspects of sound business practice because you may feel something is repugnant.

    Auto insurance companies have huge databases of claims history and premium history. They run complex data mining exercises to compute which factors have the most correlation with risk. Why wouldn’t a company in the business of risk try to minimize such risk?

  52. PinkBox says:

    Shame on Progressive. I’m glad I didn’t switch to them.

    Ironically, I’ve gotten quotes from both Progressive and State Farm, to see if they could beat my Geico bill.

    Both were considerably higher than Geico.

  53. evarga says:

    It’s been said before, but I have to say it again…..if you have access to USAA, use USAA!

  54. t325 says:

    @NameGoesHere: Shame on Progressive? DID YOU NOT READ THE ARTICLE? The likely reason military service may determine rates is because if you went a couple years without insurance, because you were serving overseas, they will not hold that against you, like they would with civilians, thus, not giving you a higher rate due to the period where you were uninsured. Yes, shame on Progressive for giving them a break when it comes to car insurance.

  55. Benny says:

    This is on the comparison rate page. Shame on State Farm, instead.

  56. Nick1693 says:

    I would think its to confirm one is actually in the Military, because, sadly, a few bad people are taking advantage of Military discounts without serving in the Military.

  57. AT203 says:

    Sigh. Reading wins. Knee-jerk reaction loses. The quoted language says that your “rate may vary” based on a bunch of factors. Things may of course vary UP or DOWN. There is nothing here that weighs against the common sense presumption that they would vary DOWN (cheaper) for veterans….

  58. Hawk07 says:

    USAA is NOT the cheapest in every situation.

    My family, 0 accidents, 0 claims, 0 moving violations after 25 years with USAA. IOW, their dream customers. We send in check for every premium, they deposit it, and then they never hear from us again.

    We decided to shop around one day and are saving between $350-$400 on every 6 month premium with MORE insurance than what USAA ever gave us. Unless you think $400 more semi-annually is worth their friendly customer service, all you USAA kool-aid sippers would drop them like the plague like we did.

    If USAA had competitive auto insurance rates, we’d go back in a heartbeat.

    So, I recommend to all my USAA friends that they shop around b/c while USAA used to be the cheapest around, that’s not always the case anymore. If anything, checking out the competition makes you feel better that you’re saving bunches of money with USAA, right?

  59. ARP says:

    @krunk4ever: @AT203:

    Yes, some commenters are going a little overboard.

    The issue to me is why it could potentially be a negative factor at all. There are many more ways of writing that so that its more clear and I don’t think progressive is short on lawyers or trying to save space. Yes, it is likely lower. Or, it could be higher as well as I’m sure the number crunchers have determined (e.g. PTSD, more willingnes for vets to take chances [compared to what they’ve been through], etc. This is related to the overall consumer issue of what is appropriate (or legal) to factor when determining insurance rates. Credit history seems to be a lost battle. But where does it end?

  60. thesuperpet says:

    what if the rates are lower for Military people?

  61. katylostherart says:

    the rates should be lower. working in the military is one of the few jobs where you can make technically below minimum wage for the first 10 years you’re there. you’re on call 24/365 and yet $900/mo is your starting wage. the military should cover car insurance on the first vehicle for enlisted and their first dependent’s vehicle if it’s a spouse.

    everywhere should offer a military discount, they have the most ridiculous wages in the nation for what they do.

  62. Parting says:

    @BlackFlag55: You don’t know anything about history, besides what you see on Fox, aren’t you?

    Cuba is bad, but Arabs Emirats are much, much worse. But there are USA’s ”friends”.

    And if you had a choice to live in a country – between capitalist Nigeria and ”communist” Cuba, you’d choose Cuba, because their quality of life is much better (and no local conflicts).

    And for your info, USA has become exactly what communists hoped Soviet Union would become.

    So you have nothing to be proud about. Your government is corrupt and pissed off every other country in the world (especially their allies).

    Which is really, really sad, considering China is becoming the new world power (Which was predicted in the 18th century, by the way.)

    And I’m sure you NEVER served in the military anyway. So shut up, and enroll. Then you’ll have the right to profit from serviceman’s service to USA.

    (As for the insurance, it’s simple lawyer’s lingo to protect from fraudsters, who claim to be part of army. REAL servicemen will get a better quote, and an exemption from the fact, that they didn’t have any insurance for the last year or two).

  63. bohemian says:

    The simple fact that they sandwiched recent military service between two things they cite as potential negatives that will jack your insurance is bad enough.

    Progressive overcharges and has lousy customer service. Go with USAA or Kemper, way cheaper, less stupid.

  64. mycroft2000 says:

    Frankly, if I was in the business of giving people money when they crash their cars, and found out that veterans were more likely to be suicidal drunks — which they are — you’re darn tootin’ I’d charge them more.

    The fact that a person has “served his country” (strings and slo-mo flag-fluttering here) is irrelevant.

  65. biggyfred says:

    @mycroft2000: How generous of you to let soldiers carry the extra, hidden economic cost and risk of serving in your military. Thanks for your unwavering, slo-mo support.

  66. MDSasquatch says:

    Hey mycroft2000 – I served 21 years in the USAF, I am neither suicidal nor a drunk and I met very few during my tenure.

    But as of about 5 minutes ago, I have met my first A$$HOLE — YOU!

  67. Upsilon says:

    Oh, they just don’t want to have to insure your Panzer, that’s all…

  68. delphi_ote says:

    Epic fail, Consumerist.

  69. ChuckECheese says:

    @mycroft2000: We don’t have any proof that vets are any more crazy than non-vets. Social scientists have been studying this for years, and they continue to study Iraq vets. So far any evidence is anecdotal and rare. People get worked up when there’s a single weird vet story on the AP wires, but for every one, there are hundreds of non-vet crazy stories.

    From the way that webpage cited in this article reads, it sure sounds like all those conditions they list are reasons for increasing rates and denying coverage, not the awarding of discounts and playful puppies. I’m going to assume that they are listing reasons to pick your pocket more deeply.

    I’m so neutral on the topic that I believe that insurance should truly spread all risk evenly throughout the insured population, no matter the age, sex or other characteristics. Any other program inevitably leads to a slippery slope of people demanding discounts and special considerations, as many people do here; and, insurance companies’ creating new classes of people to increase premiums and/or decrease coverage. How about pay-at-the-pump car insurance, or mileage-based insurance?

  70. dreamcatcher2 says:

    Just in response to the headline… I suspect Progressive is using “Recent Military Service” to determine rates and eligibility because their hypersmart actuaries showed that recent military service affects driving performance? Of course, I think they are silly for implementing and then publicly and freely declaring this… this is obviously PR suicide for them.

  71. KogeLiz says:

    @t325: This is why titles of posts are important. A lot of people just read the title.. some of the article and then comment.

  72. cookies_warm says:

    Right or not, this is most likely a result of a drastically higher rate of vehicular accidents among returning military than typical civilian drivers. Its an issue that the military has recently begun to address and is detailed in the following (unfortunately incomplete) article:


    and in the article “muscle memory” in the 7.30.07 issue of The New Yorker (which is also avail only as an abstract)

  73. The paragraph quoted from Progressive might be a reference to this:


    Recent military service being used to waive the requirement that customers have continuous insurance coverage (which means recent veterans would be receiving lower rates than normal in many situations).

    Honestly, I think people are freaking out over a badly-phrased sentence, nothing more.

  74. For all that is good and holy, please read this post up above before typing in a kneejerk reaction about how Progressive hates America.

  75. katylostherart says:

    @Victo: what we really need is an actual left wing party and not one right party and one slightly left of the right party.

  76. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    @dreamcatcher2: Just in response to the headline…

    Maybe save your comments until you actually read the article (and given the skimpy reporting by Consumerist, and excellent work by the commenters, the comment thread).

  77. BSAKat says:

    Why the hell isn’t he using USAA?

  78. Smitherd says:

    Just got off the phone with a Progressive rep who said that the reason it says that is because in some states, military personnel are offered discounts.

    I guess that makes sense, but it’s vaguely worded and sounds like they would declare you ineligible for coverage if you were in the military.

  79. Parting says:

    @mycroft2000: I’ve met a lot of crazy people, until now, no vets. And I worked in different fields related to customer service.

  80. tmed says:

    It sounds like it is a consideration.

    Basically, this is the idea: If you have maintained auto insurance for at least a year, consecutively you are a better risk. If you were on active duty in the military you probably did not maintain auto insurance (what with not driving). Progressive, however, will consider your time with the military as insured time. This makes your rate BETTER. The disclaimer states it is a consideration because it has to state everything under consideration.

  81. rbb says:

    USAA! I’ve been a member for almost 28 years. Never had a problem.

  82. rmoore78 says:

    I agree- USAA FTW. They have absolutely outstanding customer service in all regards.

  83. TruPhan says:

    @krunk4ever: I’m glad at least there’s one voice of reason here.

  84. nardo218 says:

    With news that 1 in 5 soldiers coming back from Iraq have mental, health, PTSD issues, not to mention the suicide rate climbing among periods of deployments. Long term deployments having stress issues and coping when coming back

    Um. Yes? They’ve statistically showed that people who want to shoot up other people and come home broken often crash their cars and cost the insurance company more, so they get charged more. You’re not surprised or asking a question, you’re just trying to get your whining aired in public.

  85. @mgy: I don’t see why it should — Progressive (I assume) doesn’t qualify as “federally assisted”; as for affirmative action, that would only apply in the employment arena.

  86. RandomHookup says:


    * Perhaps this has to do with being dishonorably discharged from service, going AWOL, refusing to serve, or not registering once you turn 18. I am to understand that any of these disallows you from applying for a credit card at all.

    No, those things really don’t have an impact on your ability to get a credit card. They might not help, but they aren’t part of a credit report, which is the main factor for getting a credit card. The only factor not registering may have is limiting your access to federally-guaranteed student loans and going to work for the government.

  87. When businesses ask about military service, this is usually so they can adjust their sales pitch. Some people, car salesmen for example, think GIs are uniformly stupid, and will pull out all the stops in an attempt to rip off the troops.

  88. bonzombiekitty says:

    I was under the impression that most car insurance companies take military service into account, usually giving discounts to members of the military or those who served honorably.

    Once again, we have posters jumping to conclusions.

  89. @RandomHookup: Actually, GIs are perceived as being an inferior credit risk compared to the general public. I used to run into this sort of thing all the time when I was in the service. As I would tell all my Joes, joining your friendly-neighborhood credit union is the cure for that.

  90. @bonzombiekitty: If you get a referral from a military professional organization like the Non Commissioned Officer Association (NCOA – which I think even privates can join), you can generally avoid getting ripped off. Orgs like NCOA negotiate special rates with insurance companies and such in exchange for steering members in their direction.

  91. Elvisisdead says:

    @Hawk07: No company will ever be the cheapest in every situation. Especially in risk-adjusted businesses like insurance.

    The benefit of USAA is the customer service and the breadth of available services delivered in an ethical and straightforward manner.

    Whenever I deal with USAA, I believe that they truly have my best interests at heart. They don’t charge me any more than they need to – and refund the difference if it’s too much.

    Their managed account services are bar none in the industry. If you have a managed account, you have access to a financial advisor for free for the life of the account.

    They lead the banking industry in deposit services. Checking accounts like the one they offer didn’t exist before they created it. I left B of A for them and will never look back.

    In essence, they treat me like the good customer that I am. I am a face, a name, a member. That’s how I’m treated and why I keep giving them business.

    For insurance products, I hope I never need to call on USAA, but as I move through life, I rest assured that they will be there for me and my family when I need them. The same can’t be said for the cheapest available coverage that I can find on teh internets.

  92. Corydon says:

    @BlackFlag55: Wait a minute…the fine print was ambiguous, and then the CSR (and the Army Times) explained that military service actually was a BENEFIT to the veteran and helped REDUCE rates, but because you disagree with the politics of the CEO, you’ve decided that this is anti-military?

    I’m a vet myself (with USAA, and I agree…Ceasar (sigh) should check them out ASAP). I try to keep a balanced outlook and usually laugh at such statements like “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

    After reading your post, maybe I need to reevaluate. You’re living in a bubble, my friend.

  93. Balisong says:

    I am angered that progressive does not support our troops and refuse to do any research or wait for a response on whether their policy really does negatively affect those serving our glorious country above all countries before canceling my service with them / declaring that I will never use their services.

    “In case you couldn’t tell, I was being sarcastic.”

  94. JohnMc says:

    My gosh people, get a grip! You don’t think that reviewing military records is proper? Well let me throw this at you. Progressive looks into a serviceman’s background. On his record is a dishonorable discharge. Now do you really think that such a person would NOT be a higher risk? If you don’t I have deeds to some bridges.

    This is no different than looking at your last 5 years driving record. The OP does not say that being in military service was a detriment to his acquiring insurance only that only that it was one of the factors. Insurance companies rate stability of employment all the time in fixing rates. You have 5 jobs in 1 year, that’s a mark of instability and will go against you. Same with an improper discharge.


  95. evilinkblot says:

    I really don’t know how some of the people posting anti-Progressive stuff avoid choking on cereal or drowning in their coffee each morning

    It’s standard practice to possibly get a military discount……if you don’t disclose that you’re in the military (and are able to prove it), how in the world would you get a discount………

  96. econobiker says:

    Progressive got all weird after 2005 about using credit worthiness for scoring (at least for TN for their motorcycle policies). They wanted me to have an open credit line since before age 25 and score better for people with more than 5 open loans. The reasoning for the 5 open loans is that people with this are less apt to file a claim- yes less since they are used to paying money where as someone with less than 5 open loans is more apt to file a claim. As for the loan since before age 25 I had to show them that I have had a specific credit card since age 19 – this two years in a row. Don’t know why this is but they said the older open line of credit scores more than having under 5 open loans…

  97. Balisong says:

    @evilinkblot: Oh my…I needed a laugh today, thank you :)

    It’s unbelievable how immediately worked up people can get when the troops are mentioned. It’s like some part of the brain hears “troops” and switches off, leaving the body to rave like a lunatic.

  98. BStu says:

    @Corydon: Shh. No fair bring facts up. Black Flag has an agenda and silly things like reality shouldn’t deter him.

    “You’re a hypocrite for making money while being a socialist!”

    “Um, I’m not a socialist. I’m a liberal.”

    “So I guess capitalism is good when it serves your commie friends.”

    “My what? Look, I never criticized capitalism in the first place.”

    “Hypocritical Commie!”