USAA is the fifth-largest auto insurance company by market share and has been providing insurance since it was founded in 1922. Unlike most standard car insurance companies that are available to the general public, USAA specializes in coverage for military members, offering policies exclusively to active-duty military, veterans and eligible family members. Although eligibility for coverage is limited, the company is known for offering affordable policies and unique military-geared savings opportunities such as for garaging a vehicle on base.

AAA, formally known as the American Automobile Association, is another top auto insurance company, positioned as the 11th-largest provider by market share. The company was founded in 1902 and similar to USAA, has eligibility requirements for its insurance offerings. AAA offers memberships at annual fees between $59-$119 based on your selected plan. As part of the association, members gain access to the company’s insurance options as well as several other benefits, such as savings on rental vehicles.

USAA AAA
Bankrate Score 4.2 3.2
Tier 1 4.3 3.2
Tier 2 4.0 2.5
Tier 3 4.3 4.3
  • Our 2024 Bankrate Score considers variables our insurance editorial team determined impacts policyholders’ experiences with an insurance company. These rating factors include a robust assessment of each company’s product availability, financial strength ratings, online capabilities and customer and claims support accessibility. Each factor was added to a category, and these categories were weighted in a tiered approach to analyze how companies perform in key customer-impacting categories.

    Each category was assigned a metric to determine performance, and the weighted sum adds up to a company’s total Bankrate Score — out of 5 points. Our scoring model provides a comprehensive view, indicating when companies excel across several key areas and highlight where they fall short.

    • Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, 2023 quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services (if available), as well as any of the latest third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, Demotech and the NAIC, were analyzed.
    • Tier 2 (Coverage & savings): We assessed companies’ coverage options and availability to help policyholders find a provider that balances cost with coverage. Additionally, we evaluated each company’s discount options listed on its website.
    • Tier 3 (Support): To encompass the many ways an auto insurance company can support policyholders, we analyzed avenues of customer accessibility along with community support. This analysis incorporated additional financial strength ratings from S&P and Moody’s and factored a company’s corporate sustainability efforts.

    Tier scores are unweighted to show the company’s true score in each category out of a possible five points.

Info
Our verdict
Our insurance editorial team identified several key highlights when comparing AAA vs. USAA. Both companies have eligibility requirements, but AAA’s only involves a membership fee, while USAA requires a military connection. Both carriers have a fairly standard selection of coverage options and discounts, but your policy choices may vary with AAA based on your state. USAA has lower average rates than AAA, so if you’re eligible, you may find it to be a more affordable option.

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USAA vs. AAA: comparison

Because both USAA and AAA are membership-based companies, you may be wondering how either of their offerings stack up against each other. While each company has its strengths and weaknesses, comparing their pros and cons side-by-side may provide a clearer picture of which carrier best suits your individual needs.

USAA pros and cons

Pros

  • Unique military-geared discounts
  • Average policy rates are below the national average
  • Consistently high-scoring in J.D. Power auto insurance customer satisfaction studies

Cons

  • Coverage not available to civilians who are not immediate family of a military member or veteran
  • No local agents available for members who prefer a direct agent experience
  • Customer service is not available 24/7

AAA pros and cons

Pros

  • Membership comes with additional benefits, such as vehicle rental discounts
  • Regional clubs may have tailored coverage options
  • Above-average score from J.D. Power for claims satisfaction for some specific clubs

Cons

  • Coverage limited to the states AAA is available in
  • Average rates are above the national average
  • Membership comes at an annual fee

Is USAA cheaper than AAA?

Price is often a top priority when it comes to choosing a car insurance company. To help drivers compare AAA vs. USAA, Bankrate’s insurance editorial team analyzed annual quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services for each company across several driver profiles and situations. On average, USAA offers coverage at cheaper rates for both full and minimum coverage, coming in below the national average. On the other hand, AAA offers more expensive coverage with rates higher than both USAA and the national average for full and minimum coverage.

Car insurance company Average annual premium for full coverage Average annual premium for minimum coverage
USAA $1,361 $371
AAA $2,562 $681
  • Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. 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 2021 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.

USAA is generally cheaper for drivers with poor credit

Average rates based on your unique driver profile can give you more insights into which carrier may be cheaper for you. On average, USAA offers coverage at a lower premium than the national average for drivers across all credit tiers. Its average premiums are also lower than AAA’s, which come in above the national average across all tiers. Keep in mind that four states do not permit insurers to use credit as rating factor: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan.

Credit score USAA AAA
Poor $2,625 $5,470
Average $1,476 $2,822
Good $1,361 $2,562
Excellent $1,204 $2,162
  • Rates were calculated based on the following insurance credit tiers assigned to our drivers: “poor, average, good (base) and excellent.” Insurance credit tiers factor in your official credit scores but are not dependent on that variable alone. Four states prohibit or limit the use of credit as a rating factor in determining auto insurance rates: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan.

USAA is generally cheaper for young drivers

Young drivers typically face higher insurance premiums because of their lack of extensive driving history and increased likelihood of accidents and claims. While parents who are adding a teen driver to their policy will likely see increased premiums regardless of the company they choose, USAA has average full coverage rates significantly cheaper than AAA. For drivers in Hawaii or Massachusetts, age is not a contributing factor for rates.

USAA AAA
Age 16 $3,402 $5,339
Age 17 $2,698 $4,932
Age 18 $2,294 $4,640
Age 19 $1,924 $4,197
Age 20 $1,798 $4,008
  • The rates displayed reflect the total cost of a 16- through 20-year-old driver added to their parents’ policy. Age is not a contributing rating factor in Hawaii and Massachusetts due to state regulations.

USAA is generally cheaper for adult drivers

For adult drivers on their own policy, rate differences between USAA and AAA aren’t as steep across the different age groups, but USAA’s rates are still cheaper on average. Based on average full coverage premiums, 18-year-old drivers on their own policy will see the biggest difference between the two providers, where AAA is nearly double the cost of USAA.

USAA AAA
Age 18 $3,674 $6,706
Age 25 $1,765 $3,067
Age 30 $1,506 $2,620
Age 40 $1,361 $2,562
Age 60 $1,253 $2,246
  • Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the ages 16-60 (base: 40 years) applied. Depending on age, drivers may be a renter or homeowner. Age is not a contributing rating factor in Hawaii and Massachusetts due to state regulations.

USAA is generally cheaper for high-risk drivers

Drivers with one or more incidents on their driving record typically face higher insurance rates, and insurers may even categorize them as high risk. Based on average premium data collected, USAA policyholders pay significantly less for coverage after a single speeding ticket, at-fault accident or DUI conviction than AAA policyholders, although rate differences for those with a clean driving record are less drastic. Keep in mind that being labeled a high-risk driver by having multiple incidents on your record or even a single DUI conviction — one of the most serious driving offenses — may make you ineligible for coverage from standard providers in some cases.

USAA AAA
Clean driving record $1,361 $2,562
Speeding ticket conviction $1,652 $3,131
At-fault accident $1,971 $3,717
DUI conviction $2,620 $5,569
  • Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket and single DUI conviction.

USAA vs. AAA: discounts

Both USAA and AAA have robust discount offerings based on a strong commitment to their membership bases. AAA is perhaps best known for its discounts relating to roadside assistance and available trip planning tools, but there are other generous member discounts as well. USAA has several discounts aimed at savings for active military members.

USAA unique discounts

  • Vehicle storage: Policyholders who are deployed or who choose to store their vehicles long-term for another reason could save up to 60 percent on their policy.
  • Garaging a vehicle on base: Policyholders live and garage their vehicle on base could save up to 15 percent on comprehensive coverage.
  • New car: Drivers with a car less than three years old could earn a discount on their policy due to the vehicle’s modern safety features.

AAA unique discounts

  • AAA membership: Drivers could save up to 10 percent on their auto policy because of their AAA membership.
  • Professional/association: Policyholders within certain professions or educational associations may receive an extra discount on their car insurance.
  • Loyalty: Drivers who maintain their AAA auto insurance for more than a year may be eligible for a special loyalty discount.

Usage-based insurance comparison: USAA vs. AAA

Both USAA and AAA offer usage-based telematics insurance programs that policyholders can choose to participate in for potential discounts. Both USAA SafePilot and AAADrive track your driving habits and provide feedback on how safe you’re driving, as well as ways to improve.

USAA SafePilot AAADrive
Telematics device Mobile app Mobile app
Monitored driving factors Location
Time of day
Phone handling
Speed
Acceleration
Harsh braking
Hours driven per year
Swerving
Cornering
Mileage
Time of day
Distracted driving
Speed
Acceleration
Harsh braking
Driver fatigue
Location
Route traveled
Distance driven
Potential impact on rates Rate can only potentially decrease Premiums may increase or decrease. Increases depend on accidents and other events but not on driving performance alone
Potential discount 10% for signing up, up to 30% at renewal based on driving score 5% for signing up, up to 10% for enrolling all family members and up to 25% at renewal based on AAADrive score
Availability Select states Select states

USAA vs. AAA: customer experience comparison

USAA scores highly in the 2023 J.D. Power Auto Claims Customer Satisfaction Study, with 900 out of 1,000 points. However, it’s technically ineligible for ranking based on its eligibility restrictions.

AAA is more complex to analyze, as multiple of its subsidiaries are scored in the J.D. Power Study. One AAA company, Auto Club of Southern California, performs well at 889/1,000, while CSAA and Automobile Club Group come in below the industry average at 874 and 848, respectively.

Both companies have highly-rated mobile apps in both the App Store and Google Play Store, with above-four-star ratings. In addition to insurance account and claims handling access, the USAA app also provides access to its banking and investment services while the AAA app provides access to other membership benefits like AAA Approved restaurants, hotels and auto repair centers.

Customer satisfaction USAA AAA
App Store 4.8 out of 5 4.6 out of 5
Google Play Store 4.1 out of 5 4.4 out of 5
J.D. Power 900/1,000 N/A

Frequently asked questions

    • No single carrier will be the best car insurance company for everyone. As this article indicates, different companies have different strengths and weaknesses. It is generally wise to comparison shop various providers to find the best policy for you.
    • Yes, both USAA and AAA offer homeowners insurance for respective members. Additionally, policyholders who group their auto and home coverage with either company can earn a bundle discount for increased savings on their coverage.
    • Based on average rate data from Quadrant Information Services, USAA does offer consistently cheaper average rates than AAA across several demographics, including age, credit rating and driving record. However, while averages are helpful, your personal rates may vary substantially. It’s worth remembering that while USAA has lower average rates, it does have much stricter eligibility requirements than AAA.
    • Car insurance rates and coverage options can vary significantly between drivers and circumstances. That is one reason that experts recommend that drivers shop around and compare several car insurance providers when considering a new policy. Comparing quotes can show you which company offers you the lowest rates for your circumstances and coverage needs. Comparison shopping will also reveal the different digital tools, coverage options and discounts available with different carriers. While many carriers offer quotes online, working with an agent may be helpful if you’re new to car insurance shopping.