U.S. military personnel and their families often praise the United Services Automobile Association (or simply USAA) for its worldwide accessibility and dedication to customer service. USAA was founded in 1922 by 25 Army officers to help each other insure their vehicles. It has grown to more than 13,000,000 members and strives to be the financial services provider of choice for the military community. This article will tell you if you are eligible to join USAA and the benefits that come with it.
What is USAA?
USAA, a member-owned financial and insurance company that serves primarily military servicemembers and their families, is owned by members. All members are part owners. This ensures that member buy-in is a key factor in company decision making and the receipt of annual distributions from excesses in insurance premiums. USAA is headquartered in San Antonio and employs over 35,000 people worldwide, which includes a large number of military spouses, veterans, and others.
USAA has nearly $200 billion in assets. However, it is a Fortune 500(r). It also boasts a almost 96% member retention rating and some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the financial and insurance industries. USAA, unlike other financial service companies, is membership-based. To be eligible for participation, you must meet eligibility criteria.
The major offerings of USAA include:
- Insurance Products – Auto insurance. Homeowner’s insurance. Life insurance. Renter’s insurance.
- Banking products: Checking and Savings accounts and credit cards. Mortgages and VA loans. Auto loans.
- In partnership with other financial service affiliates, investment services
Is USAA the best military banking service?
USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union and PenFed are some of the most prominent military financial institutions. Here is a list of the top military banks and credit cooperatives, where you can find out more about how to bank with a military financial institution.
Overview of USAA Member Benefits
Ask any USAA member and they will likely tell you the following: Low interest rates, low insurance premiums; free checking; excellent customer service; no ATM fees. (If you use an ATM that is not USAA, the bank reimburses up $15 per billing cycle. This is a great deal considering USAA has very few brick-and mortar locations.
USAA members have the option to use their online bill pay and online transfer services for free (yes, even non-USAA banks). USAA also offers credit cards that offer cash rewards. Some of these benefits are available to military personnel. USAA offers many insurance products beyond traditional banking services. These include its auto insurance, umbrella policies, life, property and renters insurance.
USAA members who bundle USAA insurance products can enjoy low rates. USAA offers special APRs for deployment personnel and will adjust your auto insurance rates for those who have their vehicle garaged.
Who can join the USAA?
The USAA membership is open to all U.S. uniformed personnel, including retired military personnel, and their families. This includes:
- Enlisted personnel and active-duty officers
- Reserve and National Guard officers and enlisted personnel
- Retired veterans
- Separated Service Members with an “Honorable Discharge”
- Candidates for officer commissioning programs (e.g. ROTC, service academy, OCS/OTS
- Ex-spouses, adult children (18+), widows, or widowers of USAA members who had or have a USAA property or auto insurance policy
USAA operates differently. eligibility to membership depends on one’s relationship with other USAA members and not necessarily their military status. A USAA member does not automatically mean that you are a member of one’s armed forces. You must sign up first.
Is it possible to join USAA if you are not in the military?
USAA membership is open to all service personnel. USAA membership is available to civilians as well. Relationships with other USAA members are the key factor in determining whether an individual is eligible to USAA membership.
USAA membership functions a little like a hierarchical branching function. A good friend and her husband, for example, are USAA members despite their having never served in the U.S. Military. My friend’s father, an Army veteran, became a USAA member over 20 years ago. My friend is the daughter of USAA members and was therefore eligible for membership. Her husband was also eligible for USAA membership due to his wife’s current membership. Their children will be eligible for USAA membership in the future.
It is possible to become a USAA member but lose eligibility. Eligibility for USAA membership is also affected by the circumstances. They can, however, retain their membership if they were members before the status change.
USAA membership eligibility can’t ‘pass on” posthumously. This means that children who are eligible for USAA Membership are not eligible for USAA membership if their parents are deceased but are not members.
Tip: Membership does not pass down but up. A current USAA member cannot pass eligibility “up” to his parents or ‘across” to his siblings.
The USAA website does not contain comprehensive information that explains all the ways you can become a member. If you believe you are eligible to join the USAA and would like to apply, please call 800-531-8722.
How do I join the USAA?
You will need documentation to become an USAA member if you are a military member or eligible family member.
You will first be asked to fill in your name, date, contact information, Social Security number, and Social Security number.
Next, you will be asked for details about your military service or that of a family member. You will need to provide information from your passport and permanent resident card if you are not a U.S. citizen. The application process is quick and easy.