Looking for the best car insurance can be a difficult and confusing journey, especially for members of the military who may have unique needs compared to civilians. Luckily, there are car insurance policies specifically created for active duty, veteran or reserve members of the U.S. military, as well as special military discounts, that take these unique considerations into account.
If you are or were a member of the U.S. military, there are a few places to start shopping for car insurance. According to Bankrate’s extensive research, USAA and Geico are two of the best car insurance companies for military members, but many other options also exist. The car insurance companies included on Bankrate’s list were identified based on their latest average car insurance premiums, customer satisfaction ratings, military discounts and availability of specialized coverage for military members.
Cost of car insurance for military drivers
For veteran or military drivers shopping for car insurance, it’s important to know that car insurance rating factors do not depend much on specific military status. Active-duty, retired and reserve military members all pay about the same for auto insurance, give or take a few dollars, according to rates from Quadrant Information Services. Bankrate also found that rates are about the same for active and retired military, regardless of whether you choose minimum coverage or full coverage for your car insurance.
Average rates for military drivers by status
|Average annual minimum coverage premium||Average annual full coverage premium|
The average military premium for minimum coverage car insurance is less than $515 a year. If opting for full coverage, the average military driver will pay around $1,720 per year, according to our research. Interestingly, military drivers tend to pay more on average for full coverage annually when compared to the national full coverage average of $1,674 per year. However, military policyholders pay less for minimum coverage on average than civilian drivers, at $514 per year. With several discounts available, it’s possible for military members and veterans to find cheaper car insurance rates by shopping around.
National average rates for military and non-military drivers
|Minimum coverage||Full coverage|
|Non-military (national average)||$565||$1,674|
Military families have unique stressors and life impacts that non-military families likely don’t face. That means military families also have special needs when it comes to their auto insurance, and even some of the best car insurance companies may not be the best fit for all drivers.
We found that some auto insurers provide better discounts, lifestyle support and policy coverage for the unpredictable nature of military life.
Best car insurance companies for military personnel and veterans
Specializing in products and services exclusively for retired and active-duty military personnel and their families, USAA auto insurance is a top option for anyone shopping for the best military auto insurance discounts and coverage. The company consistently receives some of the highest J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores and maintains some of the lowest average premiums.
Depending on the state you live in, USAA offers up to a 15% discount on optional comprehensive coverage for a car or truck garaged on a military base. If you are deployed, you could earn up to 60% off your car insurance while your car is in storage. The company offers additional discounts for safe driving and being a good student.
Although USAA generally offers affordable car insurance policies, specific rates vary by state, and a number of personal factors. If you are eligible for USAA discounts, you will save even more money. Note that to qualify for coverage, you will have to submit information about your military service history, which may cause a lengthier quote process if you do not have your documentation prepared.
Learn more: USAA Insurance review
Geico may not have the most robust policies, but its discounts are plentiful. Geico offers up to a 15% discount to veterans and military personnel. To qualify for Geico’s veterans auto insurance discounts, you need to be a member of one of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) or National Infantry Association (NIA).
Geico also offers military discounts for members of certain associations, including the Armed Forces Benefits Association (AFBA), Navy League of the United States (NLUS), Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) and American Society of Military Controllers (ASMC). If a customer is part of an emergency deployment to an imminent danger zone, they may be eligible for a discount of up to 25%.
Aside from military discounts, Geico offers a variety of ways to help customers save money on their auto insurance premiums. Among the many options, drivers could get a discount for having certain vehicle safety features, taking a defensive driving course, being a good driver, bundling policies and insuring more than one vehicle.
Learn more: Geico Insurance review
Other insurance companies that offer military discounts
Arbella is a small auto insurance company only available in Massachusetts and Connecticut. If you are an active-duty military member currently deployed more than 100 miles away from your garaged vehicle, you could earn a discount off your car insurance. However, it doesn’t
appear that Arbella offers a separate discount to veterans or families of military members.
Learn more: Arbella Insurance review
The General offers auto insurance to everyone, regardless of their military status. However, the company offers a military discount to active-duty members in Louisiana. And unlike the other providers on this list, The General provides insurance options for people with poor credit scores or with a bad driving record.
Learn more: The General Insurance review
Armed Forces Insurance Exchange
Similar to USAA, Armed Forces Insurance Exchange (AFI) is a military-focused insurance company. Prices and services are very competitive between the two military auto insurance companies, according to our research.
The main differences between AFI and USAA auto insurance are:
- AFI has a financial rating of B+ (Good) while USAA has a rating of A++ (Superior) from global credit rating agency AM Best.
- You can join USAA if you are active duty or retired military or if someone in your family is. AFI membership extends membership to include military service academies, ROTC, Officer Candidate School (OCS)/Officer Training School (OTS) candidates and active or retired Department of Defense.
Liberty Mutual is well known for offering a wide range of coverage options and discounts. Notably, the company offers a discount for active duty, retired or reserved members of the military. You may also qualify for another of the company’s plentiful discounts, such as the advanced safety features discount or the accident-free discount.
Learn more: Liberty Mutual Insurance review
With an average annual premium of $1,124 for full coverage, Farmers is an affordable auto insurance provider that offers a variety of discounts. The company offers its Affinity discount to active duty military members, reserves and veterans. You may also qualify for one of the company’s many other discounts, such as multi-vehicle and loyalty.
Learn more: Farmers Insurance review
Canceling your car insurance for an upcoming deployment
If you are preparing for deployment, it’s important to make some changes to your car insurance policy. The best option may be to pause your coverage, rather than cancel your policy altogether. Canceling your auto insurance causes a lapse in coverage, which has consequences, like higher rates and even driver’s license suspension.
If you have car insurance through USAA, you may save up to 60% on your insurance if you store your vehicle while deployed. However, you should only consider putting your vehicle in storage during deployment if it’s not being used and is not accessible to others. For example, if your spouse or kids can use the car while you are deployed, you should keep your car insurance policy as is.
You could also qualify for a car insurance discount based on the number of miles you drive in a year. If you are a Geico customer, you can suspend or reduce your insurance coverage if you are deployed and store your car for more than 30 days.
How to reinstate your car insurance after deployment
After you return home from deployment, you should reinstate your car insurance policy before you drive again. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a situation of being without insurance coverage during a claim if you drive your vehicle while it is still listed as in storage on your policy. You should call your car insurance company and work with an agent to take your policy off pause.
If you reduced your coverage to save money during deployment, consider increasing certain coverage types before you start driving. Keep in mind that you must reinstate your insurance before you hit the road if insurance is required in your state. Driving without insurance or proof of financial responsibility is illegal, and it comes with heavy consequences if you get caught.
Frequently asked questions
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.