If you’re one of the 2.4 million military personnel serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, you qualify to become a member of USAA, which continually provides outstanding customer service and affordable insurance rates to its constituency. It’s a full-service financial company offering various insurance, banking and investment products to military members and their families.
USAA, United Services Automobile Association, started as an auto insurance company. It was founded in 1922 when 25 American Army officers began the company because they couldn’t get car insurance.
At the time, insurance companies considered military officers a high-risk group; USAA was founded so they and other military members could get adequate insurance coverage.
If you’re thinking about getting insurance with USAA, wondering who is eligible for USAA insurance and what the requirements and qualifications are, we’ve got the answers.
- USAA insurance covers military members and their families, including spouses, children, step-children and widows.
- USAA offers several discounts for auto insurance, such as for a good driving record, defensive driving/driver training course, good student discount, bundled/stacked discounts, breaks for newer vehicles, driving less, multi-vehicles and anti-theft devices.
- USAA offers discounts from retail partners, such as FTD Flowers orders, FedEx shipping, fitness center discounts and prescription drug discounts through GoodRx and TurboTax tax prep software.
- USAA has stellar mobile banking and telematics apps that track your driving habits and can provide a discount on your auto insurance.
USAA: Who is eligible for USAA insurance?
USAA offers insurance for members of the military and their immediate family members.
Along with enlisted personnel of the U.S. military, including those on active duty, or who are part of the guard or reserve, you can be a retired or honorably discharged military member.
Here are some folks who qualify for USAA insurance:
- Pre-commissioned officers, such as a contracted cadet or midshipman enrolled in a service academy or officer candidates
- Adult children of USAA members
- Widows or widowers of USAA members
- If you, your spouse, or a parent is currently employed with USAA
Who can get USAA insurance: Family members
Now, let’s break down some more USAA eligibility criteria.
If a member remarries, their spouse’s children are eligible for USAA membership.
Though you are eligible for a USAA membership if your parents are members, the same is not true in reverse. If you are a USAA member, eligibility is not extended to your parents.
Nieces or nephews
If you are a niece or nephew of a USAA member, you can only become a member if your aunt or uncle is your legal guardian.
If your cousin is your guardian and a USAA member, you are eligible for USAA insurance.
If you are a grandchild of a USAA member, you can become a USAA member in one of two ways: The first is if your grandparent adopts you and they are your legal guardian. The second is if your parents are USAA members because one of their parents was a USAA member. One can qualify as long as no generations are skipped in terms of USAA membership.
Girlfriends, parents, siblings and in-laws
Girlfriends, parents of USAA members, siblings and in-laws are not eligible to join.
How does USAA verify eligibility?
We would love to tell you that all you have to do is call or write USAA, “I’m in the military,” or, “I was in the military,” and USAA would say, “We’re good.”
But, understandably, the company requires proof. They’ll ask you to provide a copy of military documents proving that you’re in the military and a copy of your government-issued I.D. Or you can offer proof that a family member was in the military – or that you used to be in the military.
For instance, you could provide the long version of the D.D. Form 214, which shows that you were released or discharged from active duty.
What car insurance discounts and other perks does USAA offer its members?
Regarding lowering your car insurance premiums, USAA offers quite a few ways. USAA offers many car insurance discounts similar to what you would find with other insurance companies.
Good driving discount: If you maintain a good driving record for more than five years, you’ll be eligible for USAA’s “safe driver” discount. Alas, it isn’t available in every state, but if you can get it, you may save up to 30% on your insurance.
Defensive driving discount: If you take an approved course, you can get a defensive driving discount, depending on your age and state.
Driver training course: Drivers younger than 21 who take an approved introductory driving training course can get a discount of up to 30% if they live in a state eligible for USAA’s safe driving program, SafePilot.
Good-student discount: You can get a good-student discount for high school and college students who maintain good grades. As usual, talk to your customer representative, but most discounts are 10%-15% for good grades in most states.
Stacked discounts: USAA encourages discounts so that you can lower your premium.
Bundle discounts: If you already have homeowners or renters insurance with USAA, and you add auto insurance, you’ll get up to 10% off your homeowners or renters insurance.
Multi-vehicle discounts: Insure more than one car through USAA, and you could be eligible for a lower rate on your premium.
New vehicle discounts: If your car is not older than three years, you might get a bit of a discount on your insurance.
Anti-theft device discount: Do you have an alarm system, wheel lock, or GPS-based vehicle recovery system? That added layer of protection could equate to a discount. This isn’t available in all states and might require a yearly certification. Learn about the top 11 anti-theft devices that can help you get a discount.
Storing your car discount: If you’re deployed or simply don’t use your car very often, keeping it in storage means you aren’t driving it very often. This lowers the risk and could also mean a chunk of your insurance premium shaved off—we’re talking up to 60% off. Make sure to call USAA if your vehicle is stowed away while you’re on a military deployment as that can save you money as well.
Driving less discount: If you’re putting fewer miles on your car each year, it could mean a less-expensive premium. The discount you’re eligible for depends on how many miles you’re driving.
Loyal member discount: Have you been a USAA member for quite some time, or has your family been members for generations? If so, you might be able to receive a lower premium.
Accident forgiveness: It’s an optional feature and free after five years of paying for it. But your rates won’t go up if you’re in an accident. Of course, you must remember that you must pay for accident forgiveness for five years.
Other USAA perks
Let’s say you added a teen driver to your policy. Once they reach 18 and are adults, they can hop on their own USAA car insurance policy – and if that happens, they could save up to 10% on their own policy.
USAA members also get discounts from retail partners, such as car rental discounts of up to 25%, travel deals, shopping rewards and 24/7 protection from ADT. So, if you shop through their website, you’ll pay less than you would find in the brick-and-mortar locations.
How do I join USAA and buy insurance?
If you’re eligible, the beauty of being a USAA isn’t complex. Here’s how:
Look, you can go straight to the next step, but even if you love the idea of becoming a USAA member, you should comparison shop to be sure it’s the right choice for your budget and insurance needs.
Request a quote
You can request a quote from the website, chat with a representative through its online chat feature, or call USAA at 800-531-8722 and talk to an agent. They’ll ask you a few questions on the website and then tell you whether you’re eligible and how much you’ll pay.
Get a USAA membership
Once USAA has established that you’re a military member or eligible to be a USAA member, you’ll be alerted. You can set up your USAA membership, activate your online account and make your first payment.
Frequently asked questions about USAA eligibility
Can I use any USAA products and services if I’m not a USAA member?
No. Maybe there’s a loophole somewhere that we aren’t aware of, but generally, you have to be a member of USAA to use their products and services.
Do I qualify to join USAA if my parent was a veteran?
If your mother or father was a USAA member, the USAA membership can be passed on to you as her child. If your parent is deceased and was not a USAA member before their death, you cannot become a USAA member.
Am I eligible for USAA membership after a divorce?
If you become a USAA member through marriage, you can still keep your USAA membership after your divorce. However, you cannot join after marriage unless you meet the eligibility requirements.
What is USAA membership eligibility based on?
To be eligible for USAA membership, you must show proof of military service or a copy of your government-issued identification.
USAA eligibility — it’s not what you might think
While you do have to meet USAA eligibility criteria to join, many people might not be aware that if you have a direct relationship with someone who served in the military — whether it’s a grandfather, mom or great-grandparent — you might be eligible to join.
You also can join if you are a widow, are enrolled in a U.S. military school and retain membership after a divorce or death.
Plus, under special rules, you might be able to join if you are an extended family member. By knowing the rules for USAA eligibility, you can get your own car insurance policy, and enjoy the perks and discounts that come with it.
If you meet the USAA eligibility requirements, you’ll enjoy competitive rates, discounts and other perks. If you don’t meet the USAA requirements, don’t worry, there are many other great options for car insurance companies.
The Soldiers Project. “What Percentage of Americans Have Served in the Military?” Accessed May 2022.
U.S. National Archives. “National Personnel Records Center: DD Form 214, Discharge Papers and Separation Documents.” Accessed May 2022.
USAA’s safe driving program, SafePilot