If you’ve ever heard of USAA then you have likely heard the same thing over and over – that members love them. This USAA review will provide an overview of some of the different areas they can help you with financially – from investing in the stock market to renters insurance and everything in between. My wife and I have been USAA members for 15 years and have had various parents be members for much longer.
A little background on USAA, they started in 1922 and their mission is to serve and care for the financial needs of individuals who have served in the military as well as their families. USAA is consistently recognized as one of the top companies for customer service and offer a very wide range of financial products from insurance of many types, brokerage services, savings vehicles and credit cards – just to name a few.
We love USAA so much that over the years we’ve acquired seven different products with them. With the brief background out of the way let’s move on to the USAA review.
Who Can Join
USAA is open to those who have served or do serve in the military. Up until recently, they allowed non-military individuals to use their banking products, but I’ve read that changed several years ago. In terms of who can join USAA, here’s a brief list:
- Active, retired, or honorably discharged members of the U.S. military
- Individuals in commissioning programs like ROTC
- Adult children whose eligible parents had or currently have an auto or property insurance product through the company
- Widows or widowers of USAA members who had products through the company
If you think you might be eligible to join USAA you can check out this section of their site, and it will walk you through whether or not you’re eligible.
What Does USAA Offer?
USAA offers pretty much any financial product you can think of. I’ll highlight a few of the products they offer.
Car Insurance: This is one of the cornerstone products USAA offers. They offer an extremely competitive rate and call us several times per year to ask about our driving habits to see if they can save us more money. Thankfully, they’re usually able to lower it at least a little bit with each call. If you’re looking for better rates or wanting better service you should check out auto insurances rates at USAA.
Life Insurance: This is a fairly new USAA product to us in that we just purchased it several years ago for Mrs. Frugal Rules. We had called in for something unrelated and they offered her $50,000 term life coverage for $5 per month. Seeing as we needed more life insurance coverage on her anyway, we jumped at the deal the rep offered. We’ve more recently looked into getting more coverage on both of us and the rates available for up to $500,000 30 year term plans have been very competitive, in relation to other quotes we’ve received.
Homeowners Insurance: USAA was one of the first calls we made with each house purchase we’ve made. The rate is always inline with other quotes we receive and they do all they can to get us the coverage we need. When we were renting, we went with the renters insurance available through USAA, and was able to get coverage for about $10 per month.
Banking Services: This is another cornerstone product offered by USAA and one we’ve used for years. USAA offers products like free checking, money markets, high yield savings accounts, CDs and more. We have several banking products with USAA and use them in tandem with our Discover Online Savings accounts. If you’re looking for a new alternative for your online banking needs, take a look at the products available at USAA.
Brokerage Account Services: This is one product we don’t have through USAA (more on that in a bit), but they offer a full suite of brokerage services that can help with your investing needs.
Excellent Customer service: Above all else, I have been incredibly impressed with the customer service at USAA, which makes sense since they’re known for it. We’ve been members for 15 years and pay a little extra on some prices because it’s that good. Whenever we call them they’re very helpful, never pressure sales on us and look for ways to save us money. That is what makes USAA second to none.
Care for the needs of their members: I know this may not be a true advantage, but I think it speaks to their values. They highly value those that have served our country, or those related to them and USAA wears that on their sleeve. So much of what you get with them flows from that.
Wide array of options: If you really wanted to, you could take care of all your financial services needs through USAA. I know other companies offer a lot of products, but everything (and I mean everything) can be found at USAA. They’ve really set it up so you can have a one stop shop, which can help you as a client in many ways.
Limited availability: This is the one thing I wish I could change about USAA, but I understand why they do it. They want to focus on their mission, but it means not everyone can join.
Brokerage services: The one real disadvantage I’ve seen with USAA is the brokerage services they offer. I have seen a lot of brokerage platforms in my years, and the brokerage service through USAA is fairly average. They do offer prices on stock trades as low as $5.95 and offer 50 free trades when you open an account, but their pricing is tiered, which can lead to confusion for the investor. Having taken a look at the platform, it’s pretty straightforward though without a lot of bells and whistles. We do our investing through Vanguard, but have full confidence in the rest of their services. If having all of your financial accounts at one place is important then the brokerage services will serve you well – I just prefer to have a little more when it comes to my investment products.
If you’ve not been able to tell thus far, I love USAA. Yes, their brokerage service isn’t the best in my opinion and they have limited membership opportunities, but those pale in comparison to the overall value and service they offer. That is also not to mention the fact that USAA offers any financial product that most families would need and they do so at a very competitive rate.
If you’re interested, but don’t know if you’re eligible to join USAA I would recommend giving them a call and a representative can tell you in a few minutes if you qualify for membership. If you do, then you really can’t go wrong in choosing USAA for your financial needs.
What stands out to you most when you choose a financial services company? What fun things do you have planned for this weekend?