USAA Group - Auto

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Lots of marketing - not much action.

Apr 17, 2008 (Updated Jul 14, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Disappointing

  • Customer Service:
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  • Response to Claims:
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Pros:One stop shopping is the only pro...

Cons:Just try to submit a claim and see how their company really is.

The Bottom Line: DO NOT GO with USAA... you'll regret it if you ever need customer service from their claims department...


USAA as a great insurance company? Not so much. Only if you NEVER have to submit a claim, as other respondents have mentioned. I thought they were alot more then it turns out they actually are... up until the point that I actually NEEDED what we had been paying for all these years.

My husband is a prior service member and has been with USAA for over 10 years. I always had thought that it was convenient to have the one stop shopping that USAA offers while we were dating, so I had no objects to changing all of our insurance, etc. over to USAA after we were married.

For the first time, we are seeing what the company is TRULY made of - and I agree with one of the other respondents that mentioned that it is just alot of marketing hype. It is not "one big family", they don't really care about what happens to your family or their safety - and the rates actually aren't that great.

We moved to Michigan about a year ago, and our rates approximately doubled from our previous rates that we had with USAA - for the stated reason of the state's "no fault" policy. After being in this state for slightly over a year, I still do not believe that I've ever talked to anyone in the USAA organization that understands "no fault" insurance... or the insurance laws of the state of Michigan.

On February 13, 2008 - I was stopped for a backup off of a light and the car behind me did not see to stop. That car rear-ended me hard enough to slam my car into the vehicle in front of me, and my car absorbed much of the impact. A police report was written, USAA was promptly notified (the third person I notified, after 911 and my husband) and we submitted information about the claim over the phone while at the scene. That day we were assigned a claims adjuster.

Two days later, on Friday February 15, 2008 - the claims adjuster had still not contacted us about the vehicle - so I took it upon myself to call into USAA. They informed me that they were "glad I called", because they had no idea where my car was... and the insurance claims adjuster that I had gotten ahold of (our assigned agent was not in the office) took down more information and arranged to have the car towed to a repair shop of their USAA preferred dealership system, in which all work would have a lifetime gurantee from USAA.

Our assigned USAA claims adjuster would call on Saturday February 16, 2008 to follow-up on the information from the day prior - this would be the last time we've heard from this person for the duration of the claim. TO DATE, we have NEVER received an additional call from this person.

The car was towed to the shop of USAA's choice list on Friday February 15, 2008 and we were assigned a body shop estimator that was *supposed* to be working with USAA on the claim as well. It was up in the air whether the car could be fixed or not, so the body shop estimater said he would keep in touch as to what would happen with it.

We were informed by USAA - that since Michigan state laws were different than Illinois, even though I was not at fault for the accident - rental reimbursement was not on our policy and we could not go after the other driver (who was from Canada and had insurance out of North Carolina) for the cost of the rental car. We paid for a rental for a month.

A month went by with sporatic contact from the body shop estimator and NON-contact from USAA. When we would call in at times when only a policy agent would be available, they would put "in our file" that a person from the claims department was to follow up with us... this never would be followed up.

On March 14, 2008 - the body shop estimator gave us a courtesy vehicle, as he mentioned that he had gone over USAA's deadline for completion, so he would give us something to drive. The car was not completed, without a back end and missing parts of the hood, etc. We thought nothing of it, and took the courtesy car, still with no communication from USAA.

After logging into our online account on April 5, 2008 - we noticed that the claim had dropped off of the online screen and we called in to get information on why that was. We were informed that the claims department HAD NO IDEA that the claim wasn't complete, and as best as the policy department could tell from the notes... the body shop had already been paid two days prior to us picking up the courtesy vehicle. (At which point we had seen our car that had no back end.) Again, we requested to have a claims representative contact us at their convenience (since when you call in your only get a voicemail and then directed to someone totally new who doesn't know about your case)... this was not followed up.

At this point - we started to get concerned that something might not be right.

We were contact by the shop on Monday April 7, 2008 - that the car was not done yet, but that it should be ready by the end of the week. On Friday April 11, 2008, we picked up the car - only to immediately have to wait for the back lights to be fixed as they did not work properly and light bulbs, fuses, etc had to be replaced while we waitted. The car was picked up from the original body shop estimator we had worked with for two months. At this time, he said to make a list of the things wrong with the car, and to bring it in after a week or so to have those things corrected...

It only took a day to realize that there were some serious issues with the car.

We contacted USAA again on Saturday April 12, 2008 to let them know that the car was going to have to go back to the shop, due to some major mechnical & electrical issues. At this time, we AGAIN requested to have it put in our file that we would like a claims representative to get ahold of us... We called the shop on Monday April 14, 2008 and arranged to drop the car off in the morning...

When we arrived at the shop on the morning of Monday April 14, 2008 - less then 72 hours from when we had last seen him, we were informed that the body shop estimator we had been working with "no longer worked for the company". And that someone else was going to have to take down the information on what needed to be fixed on the car.

We followed up with a USAA representative on Monday afternoon to give them this information. At which point, we had serious doubts about 1) the service we were being given, 2)whether this shop was capable of doing this type of repair on a vehicle, and 3) whether USAA was complying with the Michigan state laws of insurance.

After being contacted by a USAA "retention specialist" who was more then willing to help out with our policy concerns, but had just as hard of a time getting ahold of the claims department... we decided that outside opinions were needed. (To date, this specialist has had to converse "over voicemails" with the USAA Claims department... and they work for the same company.)

On Wednesday April 16, 2008 - I contact the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, where I briefly described the situation, what had transpired... and asked a few follow up questions. Were the actions of USAA on the part of this claim normal? At what point should I be concerned enough to file a complaint with the state of Michigan against USAA? What signs should I be looking for that something was amiss with our claim? And was it reasonable after two months to have a deep concern for whether this car was repairable and whether or not a complaint should be filed?

The answers that I received from the representative from the state of Michigan were:
- No, they were not normal.
- Now.
- All of the signs that I had just mentioned in the conversation about the claim.
- Yes.

At this point, I started preparing our complaint against USAA for the state of Michigan - which recommends a written letter from the insurance company.

On the afternoon of Thursday April 17, 2008 - I called a claims supervisor and was put on hold so that I didn't get the "don't call us, we'll call you" run around. At this time, I simply asked for a letter stating USAA's stance on this claim, and when asked what it was for, I replied, "The state of Michigan".

All of a sudden... lots of people in USAA were able to return phone calls. However, given the actions to date - I still do not believe USAA is capable of handling a claim correctly, OR handling insurance in the state of Michigan.

I will be following up, but I have the same sentiments as previous posters... USAA is a great company until you actually NEED something from them - then they choose to disappear and it definitely is not the way I would expect my "family" to act. My family has been with State Farm insurance since the company was founded, and I have NEVER heard of an instance of a claim being botched up this bad. My father has told me, "Your insurance is only as a good as your agent" - and if you ever have to file a claim with USAA, you'll definitely understand.

I would NOT recommend USAA... and their rates are not actually that good. I did some investigating into our rates even when we were in a "non no fault state" and we could have actually SAVED money by going with other companies... I'm really offended by USAA's "we serve you, because you serve" - because as far as I'm concerned, that is a slap in the face.

As of today, Thursday April 17, 2008 - the claims department has basically said they are not doing anything else for us and we are not getting ANY explanation as to how this has ended up this way. The structural integretity of my vehicle is still questionable - we STILL have never heard from original assigned claims adjuster - and I do not have my personal vehicle sitting in my garage, I've got a courtesy vehicle from a shop that has just as questionable service as USAA> (Which is a completely different review!)

Do yourself a favor and go with a decent COMPANY and get yourself a good insurance AGENT. USAA can't handle the services they are trying to offer, and I've never seen something so botched up in my life... its a classic case of the left hand has no clue what the right hand is doing...

Have other questions? Want to know more information about my insurance case? Contact me at: donotchooseUSAA@gmail.com

Also, if you're having problems with insurance companies in the state of Michigan, go to michigan.gov - to the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation. On their website there is information about how & when to submit a complaint, as well as a toll free number to take to someone about your situation, to see if you should consider contacting them.

So if I haven't made this perfectly clear... USAA's service has been extremely horrible, their claims department is a NIGHTMARE, we're very dissappointed in the entire company, and yes - we will be pulling every single account from them as soon as possible. Good luck choosing YOUR insurance agent!!

UPDATE... May 1, 2008
Just wanted to follow up on the situation. I'm still driving a courtesy vehicle and the Jetta is STILL not settled out on what they are going to do with it. We've contacted the State of Michigan OFIR, and they've notified USAA of the complaint. A representative from USAA contacted us in regards to the complaint with the state of Michigan, trying to figure out "where their company may have failed"... HA! However, she spent most of the conversation trying to close the conversation ("Thank you for your time Mr. & Mrs. Hughes, please contact me if you have any questions, etc.") while we would be in the MIDDLE of speaking??? It was the oddest conversation I'd had with them, well prior to the day before.

I made an appointment on Wednesday (4/30)morning for that afternoon to speak with a State Farm agent.

I'm relaying this information now, so that USAA members don't only read this information and see what a horrible experience we've had... but also know this: EVERY SINGLE item that we had on our insurance policy (Autos/Motorcycles/Home/Personal Articles) was quoted at a LOWER rate with State Farm, then the rates we were paying with USAA. At this point, we are going to be saving between $300-$400 every 6 months by going with State Farm. So the whole "saving money with USAA" is apparently incorrect at this point too.

That's the only additional information I have at this point, but obviously I'm not very happy! I'm driving a courtesy vehicle - it doesn't look like I'm getting my car back anytime soon... or that it will be drivable anytime soon. AND to add insult to injury, we could have been paying a LOWER price, for conceivably better service... We've started looking into attorneys at this point as well.

The State of Michigan has also contacted us this afternoon and said they will be making a decision as to what course of action USAA must take within 21 days... I will follow up!

****************** FINAL UPDATE ***********************

July 2008:
After three months of getting the run around, the car situation was finally settled by the AUTO DEALERSHIP after we obtained a lawyer. They purchased the car from us, and we never received any follow-up from USAA. All of our insurance is now pulled from USAA and I am driving a vehicle that is insured by State Farm.

This is the WORST situation I've ever encountered with any company and I will continue to talk to people to get my story about dealing with USAA out there. No one deserves to be treated this way, especially not for a SERVICE they are paying for. If any class action lawsuit is brought against USAA within an acceptable time frame, I will be sure to join.

Disappointment, disgust, and distain are the only closing words I have for what it was like to deal with the United States Automobile Association.


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