GEICO and USAA both offer unique auto insurance coverage options for different types of drivers. Although GEICO claims to offer affordable auto insurance rates for all drivers, military members can find specialized coverage through USAA that caters more to their lifestyle.
Let’s compare USAA vs. GEICO auto insurance and look at the pros and cons of each company.
- For drivers looking for an easy mobile experience and a lengthy list of discounts, GEICO may be the right choice.
- Many military members will be hard-pressed to find better military-related auto discounts than those through USAA.
- GEICO and USAA both rank as two of the more affordable auto insurance carriers, with GEICO drivers saving more than $500 and USAA drivers saving $725, on average, each year, according to their respective websites.
- USAA has cheaper car insurance coverage on average based on aggregated data.
GEICO vs. USAA comparison
|$1,298 per year
|$1,050 per year
|Types of coverage
|Where you can use it
|Android & iOS app
|Android & iOS app
|All 50 states
|All 50 states, but only available to military members and their direct family members
|Military members and their families
GEICO and USAA have a lot to offer customers, both claiming to save drivers hundreds of dollars a year if they switch. USAA has the best rates, on average, however. At the end of the day, though, only military members will qualify for USAA’s products. For those who do qualify, it’s well worth considering as USAA offers substantial discounts specifically geared to military members.
On the other hand, for drivers outside of the military, GEICO offers one of the most robust lists of discounts out there. The company focuses on low-cost options that will appeal to many drivers — just be prepared to manage your insurance on your phone, as GEICO clearly values its mobile app over its slightly cluttered company website.
How does GEICO work?
GEICO, which stands for Government Employees Insurance Company, is an insurance company that offers car insurance policies, among many other types of insurance. Founded in 1936, GEICO has long been one of the most popular personal auto insurance companies in the U.S.
GEICO provides a range of auto insurance policies tailored to meet different needs and budgets. Coverage options include liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage, as well as optional add-ons such as rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance. They also offer a range of discounts and rewards to help customers save money.
It also offers other types of insurance products that you could bundle with your auto insurance, including homeowners insurance, renters insurance, pet insurance, and life insurance.
GEICO also makes it easy for policyholders to manage their insurance policies. Customers can manage their policies online, over the phone, or in person with a local agent. It offers 24/7 customer service to help customers with any questions or concerns and has a robust mobile app that can handle claims, policy updates, and more.
GEICO had slightly more customer complaints than expected, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
|Easily customize a policy to fit your specific needs
|Poor claims services, according to customers
|Geico consistently ranks as one of the most affordable auto insurance companies
|Not every driver will qualify for ultra-low rates
|Around-the-clock customer service via mobile app and desktop
|Long list of discounts
|An array of optional coverage add-ons, such as roadside assistance
Read our GEICO review.
How does USAA work?
USAA, which stands for United Services Automobile Association, is an insurance company servicing active members and veterans of the military along with their family members. As an insurance provider, USAA guarantees its members superior customer service, as well as competitive products tailored specifically to meet the needs associated with being a part of the military community. That said, USAA had twice as many complaints as expected, according to the NAIC.
USAA offers auto insurance (as well as many other types of insurance and banking products) that serves to protect its members in case of a car accident, natural disaster, theft, injury, or other financial losses.
USAA car insurance customers also benefit from services such as 24/7 online customer service, optional roadside assistance, and military-specific discounts. USAA also offers several other types of insurance and financial products, including home insurance, life insurance, and renters insurance.
|Exclusive rates for military personnel and families
|Only available for military members
|Variety of discounts
|Not the longest list of discounts
|24/7 claims support via mobile app
|Consistently rated one of the cheapest coverage options
|USAA Perks program offers even more savings
Read our USAA auto insurance review.
GEICO vs. USAA: What both companies excel at
GEICO and USAA both attempt to excel in service, offering 24/7 customer support.
GEICO is known for its competitive pricing and some of the lowest rates available. Moreover, GEICO offers a variety of discounts, such as a discount for having more than one vehicle insured on the same policy and discounts for good students or military members. Although USAA typically serves a niche market, including active duty military, veterans, and their families, it also offers numerous discounts for bundling, safe driving, and more.
Both companies also offer accident forgiveness, which could keep your insurance costs from increasing if you’re involved in an at-fault accident.
On top of that, both companies also focus on practicality and convenience. Both can be easily contacted through the website, app, or phone number.
Overall, GEICO and USAA both consistently offer a variety of discounts for those who need them, a great customer service experience most of the time, and an easy-to-navigate website.
3 important differences between GEICO and USAA
GEICO and USAA have a lot of similarities. Both offer decent rates for drivers who qualify and an easy-to-understand sign-up process. However, there are significant differences between the company as well, including:
Although both companies offer similar features when it comes to basic car insurance policies, the biggest difference is the clientele each company is looking to attract. USAA was built for military members, plain and simple. GEICO, though originally focused on government workers, has long since focused on a much larger audience.
Winner: USAA, because although the company was built for just military members, those who do qualify get discounts and rates that are simply hard to beat.
Coverage and discounts
Both GEICO and USAA both offer discounts for things such as bundling, good grades, and vehicle safety features, but GEICO has the slight edge, offering a few additional discounts, including a few specifically geared toward military members. The same goes for coverage options. Although both offer the usual suspects such as liability, collision, and comprehensive, GEICO has a few additional coverage options such as mechanical breakdown coverage.
Winner: GEICO because it offers a wider range of coverage options.
GEICO and USAA’s websites cite excellent customer service as a reason for switching. But both offer vastly different forms of contact options. GEICO has opted to make its most popular options online via chat, email, and the mobile app.
USAA seems to focus more on person-to-person service, offering two customer service lines as well as online options like chat and claims assistance via the mobile app.
Winner: It’s a tie, with both companies coming in with similar customer satisfaction ratings from sites such as ConsumerAffairs and TrustPilot. GEICO also ranks above average in most regions for customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. USAA would rank at or near the top spot in most regions in the J.D. Power study, but it’s not included due to eligibility guidelines.
Which company should you choose?
Choosing between USAA and GEICO car insurance can be difficult for drivers who qualify for both companies. Still, there are specific instances where one may work better for you than the other.
When you should choose GEICO
- If you’re a high-risk driver looking for more affordable rates.
- If you want a more mobile experience via an app.
- If you can qualify for the various discounts GEICO offers.
When you should choose USAA
- If you’re in the military, a veteran, or a direct family member of a military member.
- If you can qualify for discounts such as safe driving discounts, vehicle-safety features, or low mileage discounts.
- If you appreciate a person-to-person approach to insurance that involves working more closely with an agent.
What factors to consider before choosing
Both GEICO and USAA offer fairly similar products and generally low rates for qualifying drivers. That said, everyday drivers may want to just consider GEICO while military members should get car insurance quotes from both companies, as USAA is built for them, and GEICO still offers military discounts worth considering.
TipUltimately, your auto insurance rate depends on several factors, including your driving history (not having speeding tickets or DUIs), your age (young drivers tend to have higher insurance costs), your coverage limits and deductibles, your credit score (in most states), the type of vehicle you drive, and more. It’s best to get quotes from multiple companies so you can compare coverage.
Is GEICO owned by USAA?
No, GEICO is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, not USAA. GEICO has been owned by Berkshire Hathaway since 1996.
Is USAA a top-rated insurance company?
Yes, USAA is a highly-rated insurance company both by users and independent agencies. It has been given an A++ financial strength rating from the leading independent rating agency AM Best and is consistently ranked in the top 10 among insurance companies. It also ranks in our best car insurance companies roundup.
What are the benefits of being a member of USAA?
Being a member of USAA brings many benefits, including exclusive discounts on insurance, banking, and investment services. Plus, members get access to financial planning tools, discounts on products and services, special offers on home and auto loans, and easy access to a customer service team.
GEICO vs. USAA: bottom line
GEICO and USAA are both well-known and respected car insurance companies offering a wide range of auto insurance options. Both companies offer competitive car insurance rates and excellent customer service, but customers should make sure to compare different plans, coverage options, and prices by getting multiple auto insurance quotes before settling on one provider.
Members of the military and their immediate family are the only ones who can access a policy through USAA, so that’s the only limitation there. For those who qualify, USAA offers a unique insurance experience that still comes with plenty of discounts and, potentially, lower rates.
For those outside of the military, GEICO offers much of the same, including a long list of discounts, an easy quote process, and the ability to manage your policy online or via the mobile app.
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