Understanding USAA’s Subscriber Savings Account

USAA is my favorite bank and the company with which my wife and I insure our home and autos. You can’t beat their customer service, and their insurance premiums are always some of the lowest you will ever find! I have been a happy USAA customer for about 7 or 8 years now, and I don’t think I will ever leave them.

That said, I’ve had discussions with some of their other members on other occasions and one thing there is always some misconception about the Subscriber Savings Account (SSA) that belongs to each USAA member with a property and casualty policy.

USAA recently sent out SSA notices to their account holders, so I decided to take this opportunity to explain what they are.

Subscriber Savings Accounts

Subscriber Savings Accounts (SSAs) are a byproduct of the legal structure of USAA. One of the interesting features about USAA is that it is not a publicly owned company, USAA is actually member owned. This is important because it gives USAA different options for raising capital.

Publicly owned companies sell stock to raise capital; USAA holds it capital in member owned SSAs. These funds are held in reserve for USAA to satisfy legal requirements and pay for catastrophic losses and other catastrophes.





It’s your money, but it is held by USAA. An SSA is your money, but it isn’t a bank account. The money held in in an SSA under each member’s name, and remains there in the event USAA needs to use the money to pay insurance settlements or claims. Members are not able to make withdrawals or deposits to or from their SSA.

SSA Balance. Money is allocated to your SSA depending on several factors, including a percentage of the particular member’s property and casualty premiums, USAA’s investment portfolio and performance, the member’s SSA balance (sometimes distributions are made on a percentage basis), longevity as a USAA member, and other factors.

SSA Distributions. USAA board members have the option to make financial distributions to its members based on how well USAA’s investments performed, how much money each person has in their SSA, and a multitude of other factors.

How to get your SSA money back. There is actually no way to get your SSA funds back unless you close all of your property and casualty policies. Your SSA will be paid out approximately 6 months later. When my wife and I consolidated our policies after we got married, I received the balance of my SSA after closing my account – about $160. The good news is that receiving your SSA funds is not generally taxable because it is considered a return on premiums. Be sure to check with a tax adviser for more details.

Distributions are not guaranteed. USAA has a track record of giving their members distributions, but it is important to note that these are not guaranteed. Still, it is nice to know that you can receive a return on your premiums if you ever leave the company. Most insurance companies end up keeping those funds!

USAA Membership: USAA membership is a privilege earned by those in uniform — and it’s a privilege that can be handed down to their children. Those eligible to join the association include:

  • Active duty officers and enlisted military personnel.
  • Former spouses and adult children of USAA members.
  • National Guard and Selected Reserve officers and enlisted personnel.
  • Officer candidates in commissioning programs (Academy, ROTC, OCS/OTS).

If you think you may be eligible for membership, I highly recommend looking into it!




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Date published: March 17, 2008. Last updated: September 9, 2008.

Article by

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years in the USAF and also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google

Comments

  1. USAA is the best. When I do a financial plan for someone, I usually shop their car and auto insurance to save them a few bucks. If they are with USAA, I don’t even bother. It can’t be beaten. Or, if it can be, it isn’t worth leaving because USAA serves its customers so well.

    Also, I think it is important to reiterate that USAA is owned by its members. This means the board of directors are working for its members, not shareholders. This difference can not be overstated. It creates a completely different mentality, which only benefits USAA members.

    Vanguard is run this way as well. This is why Vanguard keeps its fees low and puts the interest of its customers first.

    As far as the SSA account, Ryan nailed the article. And, it sure is nice to get the SSA check each year.

  2. We are just getting back with USAA for our banking (they were our source for insurance a few years back) and we have been impressed so far with their level of customer service! It’s a big selling point for them in all aspects of the financial services arena.
    Jerry

  3. USAA is great unless you have the misfortune of being unemployed for 6 months and filing for bankruptcy. Then USAA becomes very vindictive and as my attorney stated “they were acting very childish”. They cancelled my auto and other insurance policies despite my excellent driving record and never having filed a claim.

    • Hello Allan,

      I’m sorry to hear about your unemployment and experience with USAA. All I can say about them is based on my personal experiences, which have been positive.

      I hope you have been able to find a job and get your situation sorted out. Best of luck to you.

  4. Does the SSA need to reported on our Federal Tax Return? Is this a source of Income?

    • Hello Jeanne,

      From what I understand, this is money you paid into the system and is not income. So, no, I don’t believe it needs to be reported as income to the IRS.

  5. Ryan,

    Your statement “There is actually no way to get your SSA funds back unless you close all of your property and casualty policies” isn’t 100% accurate.

    While you cannot get all the funds from your SSA, there is a way to get USAA to distribute you an additional 10% of your funds over and above the “normal” SSA distribution amount. The problem is you have to be a policy holder for 40 years or more.

    From a USAA SSA brochure mailed to members in February 2009:
    “To recognize members with more than 40 years of membership, the USAA Board of Directors may also authorize a Senior Bonus, which is an additional 10 percent distribution from the members Subscriber’s Account. If authorized, the funds will be distributed in February.”

    Ken

    • Ken, thanks for the info. I was not aware of that clause, but it is good to know. This probably doesn’t affect too many customers though, so for the most part, people will not be able to access those funds without closing their policies.

  6. Always remember this–USAA is just a business, and nothing more. They are out to make money, and nothing more. When they expanded beyond the officer corp it was to make money, and nothing more.
    If you mess with them, and cost them money, they will attempt to get even, as you have cost them the opportunity to make money.
    Don’t think for one minute that they are your ally or pal.
    They are a business, and nothing more.

    • John: Very true – USAA is a business, and they operate to make money. But what sets them apart in my experience is their great customer service and willingness to work with their customers when they need assistance.

  7. A friend just told me he was a day late with his car insurance payment and USAA cancelled his membership. He was a 12 yr customer. Not just his insurance, but his entire membership was cancelled, which is non-negotiable. He still has his bank account, but can’t access it online. He is now looking for a new bank and insurance company. This is disturbing to me as I have much more invested in USAA, i.e., my mortgage. Any thoughts on this are appreciated.

    • Jim: I haven’t heard any stories like this, and I don’t work for USAA, so I can’t comment on their policies. In my experience USAA has had exceptional customer service and I have enjoyed banking with them.

      Regarding your friend’s situation:barring a customer from his/her bank account doesn’t seem legal and canceling a customer’s account for a payment that is only one day late seems a little extreme. Perhaps there is more to the story than your friend told you, or than even he knows (perhaps his account was hacked or he was a victim of identity theft?).

      I recommend that he contact a customer service rep and try to get more information about why his account was shut down. There could be other more troubling issues at the root of the matter.

      Best of luck to you both.

    • Bill the Cat says:

      I’ve been almost 90 days late with my premium once when my wife’s company closed and we lost her income. They were quite willing to work with us and very flexible with our situation. I have a hard time believing that USAA would do something like he is describing without some other factors being involved.

  8. I’m currently experiencing the “wrath” of USAA for non-payment–caused by their misinformation. I updated my auto policy by adding another vehicle and was told that I had nothing to pay at that time. My six month premium would reflect the change when it came due. I found out the hard way, when my online access was blocked and I could not access bank account information. After speaking with several departments I finally put the pieces together….my insurance was dropped and that meant that all of my other USAA accounts would be canceled as well. Of course I was notified about all this? NOPE. I was supposedly sent notices in the mail, but not once did I receive a phone call.

    I am beyond disappointed at the customer service and commitment from current USAA. I was a memeber for 12 years with no previous hassles. I often received courtesy calls for bills or account difficulties, but now it seems that this is not the USAA I once trusted.

    • Mike: You’re the second person who has made a similar comment. It doesn’t make sense to me that USAA would cancel all other accounts, but apparently that has happened to a few other people as well.

      USAA has been nothing but helpful when I have called about issues in the past, but things can always change. Thanks for sharing your story.

  9. I had a similar experience with USAA closing my account while I was on TDY out of the country and not allowing me to have access to my checking account. My auto insurance was due on March 20, 2009 by March 27 I couldn’t access my account online. I requested that my insurance payments come out of my account automatically. Oh yeah did I mention that I had just set this insurance up in February and paid 20% of the premium up front. So anyway, I thought the payment would come out directly. When I contacted the USAA to inquire about the inability to access my account that’s when I was informed my auto insurance was canceled. And my other accounts would be closed. I appealed it and lost because they asked the representative who set up my account did he remember me asking him to set up direct billing! Naturally he said no. I am a single parent and enlisted and I do want to go back to USAA because of their rates. I received an email for unconditional cancellation for nonpayment and a over a month later a refund check for the amount which was more than my monthly premium. Is USAA just trying to get rid of military personnel. A friend of mine had a similar experience.

  10. I have had the very same experience after being placed on disability for a broken back and hip this last year…I called to work out payment arrangements (my account was nearly 30 days overdue) and thought I was given correct information by Customer Service. I received a Cancellation instead.
    I then tried to work things out THREE more times; sending them $850.00 over 3 weeks; following their specific instructions to the letter. Each time I received a Cancellation Notice for my efforts.
    I am a 22 year customer, a widow of a Major killed while on Active Duty. By the third Cancellation and “change” in the terms agreed upon previously? I gave up.
    I think that USAA has just gotten too big to be bothered with those of us who find ourselves in dire straights. I may be wrong here, this is just my opinion; unfortunately, I have found that my experience is not a singular one.
    I am glad that you are happy with them Ryan and wish you all the best.

    • Lori, I am sorry to hear about your negative experiences with USAA. As I mentioned in the article and comments, I have only had good experiences with them. But I have also read quite a few stories similar to yours, which make me think twice. I will maintain my relationship with them until something happens that convinces me otherwise, and I hope that nothing does.

  11. Joe Culfa says:

    Regarding USAA, I have been a member since 1978. I will be closing my account and association with them effect 9/15/09 when we close on our home. I think the claim or belief that USAA rates for it’s “exclusive” members is a “myth” based on what was once fact. Of course it continues to get perpetuated. They have grown so fast that they are now just another big insurance company. Granted, they are a well run, extremely stable company, but nothing like it was 35 years ago. When it was a company that limited its membership to military officers, it was a company that had members that were by their very nature less of a risk. College educated, military officers (mostly career or retired) are by and large a more stable group. Better group means less cost to the insurance company. When they expanded their base, they assumed more risk. Their customer service is very efficient, IF you can make your way through the horrible telephone menu system and talk to a person that does not sound as though they are a robot. Their customer service training must involve a brain lobotomy to remove all personal human interaction with customers. Again, very efficient as long as you do not get them off script.

    Last by not least. Met Life, here in their home base of San Antonio, will be beating their quote for auto and home insurance by over 20% a year. In fact their coverage will exceed USAA in a couple areas at that reduced cost. The best part is that when I have a question I call my personal agent and talk to a nice young lady who actually remembers me from previous conversations.

    Good bye USAA, you ain’t what you once was. I look forward to my $3000 SSA check sometime next year.

  12. Joe Culfa says:

    Having just read my post I am adding a note to apologize if I have offended any current USAA members who are NOT military officers. Granted you are many. I did not at all mean to imply that you could not or would not be equal to or above the character of an officer. My simple, poorly stated comment, was to try to emphasize that the company was “smaller” and as a group had members that would be considered “less risk” as seen by an insurance actuarial table. Young, healthy, college educated, no criminal record, and under the thumb of a higher ranking commanding officer who would bring down the hammer if you got out of line. Today, USAA has become like the Credit Union, if you have ever saluted a flag or said the pledge of allegiance, you can probably get insurance from them.

    Again, I apologize for probably offending many good people…

  13. Steve W says:

    I am in the process of leaving USAA. Started five years ago when they sent me to Progressive to insure my boat. Recently they quoted me a home insurnace premium, in Florida, for 110% of two other viable companies (they won’t directly insure in Florida). Lastly, they want to charge me an additional $150 month for auto insurance. I’m moving from snow/traffic/road rage Virginia to a gated sedate community in Florida. They have basically told me they don’t want my business. I think my SSA account has several thousand dollars in it. It will pay for all my insurance for next year. Yee Haa

    • Steve, I understand your desire to leave, and it makes good sense. I use USAA because they are still competitive where I live. But I wouldn’t hesitate to go elsewhere if the rates were substantially different.

      I also use USAA for my banking needs, and so far they have been great for that. But I also use a ING Direct and a local bank for my business. It’s never a bad idea to diversify.

  14. I banked with USAA for over 3 years and had excellent service. That all changed when I had to file for Bankruptcy and USAA blocked my online access to my accounts. No notice from the bank or anything.I have since switched to Bank of America. I am very disappointed with how this was handled.

  15. I was an a big fan of USAA, until I got into a car accident in which I was told that I would be not longer allow membership. Here is my question would I still get my SSA balance after 6 months. Total of about 1,700

  16. I have recently filed for bankruptcy in order to try and save our home. I am discharging credit cards and surrendering a vehicle through USAA. In essence, they have stated to me in writing on a form that they will:

    BLOCK ACCESS TO USAA.COM
    REVOKE ELECTRONIC DELIVERY DOCUMENTS
    TERMINATE WEB BILL PAY
    And will start the process of discontinuing business relationshipe with me and my wife due to the violation of mutual trust and respect to fellow members.

    I guess there goes my homeowners, life insurance, and vehicle insurance policies due to trying to survive, maintain our home and family and support our children. it does not make sense that they would cancel all my products and services, as I sent them an email to clarify in details. We have been good customers for years into financial chaos hit. Any other company would not be doing this as far as I know, I could be wrong. I guess it is Austa Luego USAA, cause I wont be back!!! If that is the case.

  17. USAA is NOT what it once was…it has definitely become a vindictive large impersonal uncaring entity. fter 15 years my parents had one their first claim on their homeowners due to a power outage that caused food to go bad in their refrigerator. USAA cancelled their homewoners.

    I had financial difficulties and had to file bankruptcy, and USAA cut off my online access to my insurnce and my abilioty to electronically pay my insurance bill with USAA. INCREDIBLE!! Cut off my electronic access to pay my USAA Insutrance bill on line? I have no idea who is making these policies, but I can’t image the Board of Directors and the Trustees would approve it. THis policy really reflects badly on USAA in my opinion.

  18. I just received a call from USAA, I was told that if I did not add my 20 year old son on my policy that there was a chance that our policy would not be renewed. I removed our son 8 months ago because frankly he is not a responsible driver. He had his own ploicy and he has let it lapse. We have been with USAA for 15 years. Not a single ticket, late payment, or claim. We have 3 high dollar cars, an RV, Golf Cart, and 2 utility trailers. Our policies are about 1600 dollare every 6 months. It just not make sense to me that they can force me to add an adult to my policy that I don’t want on. He does not operate any of our vehicles. Anyone else hear about this. We have about 3000 built up in our SSA and i will be calling for quotes tomorrow elsewhere.

    • Bobby,

      I can only think of two things going on here:

      1.) It seems possible they meant that your 20 year old son would lose his coverage with them if he wasn’t added to your policy (if he has his own USAA policy).
      2.) They may believe your 20 year old son is still using your vehicles, and they want him covered.

      I would contact them and get clarification on their meaning. There is no reason they should drop your coverage for not wanting to add someone to your policy. But if they did, I would move on. You shouldn’t be forced to carry another legal adult on your policy, particularly if that person would cause a large increase in your rates.

  19. Thanks for the reply Ryan.
    1. His policy with them has been cancelled due to non payment. (20 year old with lack of responsiblity, he wrecked his truck afetr I took him off our policy last year)

    2. They are aware he is not driving any of the vehicles.

    The guy claimed that if he was living at home, which he comes and goes, I have to carry everyone on the policy that has a valid drivers lisense. I find this to be ridiculous. I am not concerned about the rates I am more concerned about my liability if he is under my policy. If he were involved in an accident I woulld/could still be liable because he is under my policy. Thanks

  20. USAA is the best bank if you dump and continuosly dump all your financial assets into their very big basket. Shop around, talk to your grandparents about where they bank and or invest.

    They (your grandparent) have a lot to lose and don’t take a lot of risk. USAA will open doors but will remove the hinges if you make a economic mistake or shift your eggs around.

    For what it’s worth, they’ve had a positive and negative impact on my life. I’d grade them 65% good and 35% bad. The thing is, the bad or 35% is very powerful and grossly negative. It just may be time to move on. I do thank them for all the positives and educating me with negatives.

  21. I was with USAA for 36 years and got my auto insurance canceled because of my son’s driving record. I asked if I could take him off the policy and just insure my wife and I (CLEAN driving records) and was told it’s everybody or nobody. New quote from their outside company was $1,450 a month, which I can’t afford and will soon be selling all my cars and taking the bus, leaving my son and daughter to fend for themselves.
    Thanks USAA. MY parents were members since 1956 until they passed away a few years ago.

  22. please delete my last name, or my homeowners with usaa will soon be cancelled.

  23. I have been banking w/USAA for 16 yrs. I have auto, life and renters insurance along with Credit card, Checking, savings accounts and auto loans with them. I got divorce 2 yrs ago and have been struggling to stay afloat, while raising 3 kids. I recently had to file for bankrupcy and today I find out that USAA has cut my online banking access because of it. This is a bank that I recommend to everyone I meet because of their excellent customer service and willingness to actually talk to their members. I just can’t believe how they are acting.

    • SingleMom12 says:

      Same thing happened to me! I have filed a complaint with the ACLU and am in process of cancelling all my USAA dealings as we speak. Very disappointing after 23 years.

  24. I truly LOVE the service they provide to me, the vehicle insurance policies, and the banking is outstanding. I been with them over 10 years and never had one problem. I am very happy with USAA

  25. Although my experience with USAA has been mostly pleasant, when I looked to obtain homeowners insurance in Florida, they refused to insure the house.

    I explained to them, that I had PCS orders after returning from Iraq, to Florida. They told me that they will not create any new policies in Palm Beach, Dade and Broward county (south Florida). They offered to provide coverage through one of their subsidiaries or partner companies. The quote was around $8800.00. I stated that this was more than 5 times the highest quote that I had obtained which was around $1700.00. They told me that I needed to take into account the financial standing of the company that was offering the homeowners insurance. I obtained home owners insurance from a local company for around $1400.00. Their may be some risk involved, but USAA’s quote was too high.

    I would have left and transferred all of my accounts to either State Farm or All State, but none of the big insurance companies wanted to insure a house in Florida.

    Just to recap, they do provide a good customer service, when you as a customer provide a good source of revenue, with a low risk as a liability.

    Regards,

    Ernie

  26. I have had USAA insurance for 14 years. They had been a good service company for me initially, but since 2008 I’ve not had any warm feelings from them in multiple dealings regarding claims and other issues. The final straw came this winter. We had a near fatal auto accident, and the car was totaled. When we tried to call on the weekend while we were stranded 50 miles from civilization, we spent almost all the cell phone battery on hold for 30 minutes, only to be disconnected after 2 minutes of useless banter with folks that had no idea how to help us. (I used the remaining time to call AAA who fixed us up in less than a minute). I repeatedly called and e-mailed them to figure out how to expedite the claim, with multiple contradictory advice and delays. Its been over 4 months since the accident, 3 months since the car loan was paid off, and we still have not received the balance owed us. I hate to use the word “lied” but can think of no other accurate way to describe the statements that USAA has given me about why things are delayed or not happening. I terminated my insurance with them and would strongly recommend that if you ever think you may actually need to file a claim with USAA, you need to find a more customer-friendly company. Unless you live in San Antonio, you have no way of looking your agent in the eye and getting an honest answer from them. After being sold the “we understand service members’ needs” line, let me tell you, they don’t even seem to understand how to do their own job efficiently, are more interested in avoiding responsibility for their errors than serving their customers, and provide poor service. In my phone calls, they have repeatedly tried to put me on the defensive rather than solve my problems. As a professional delivering customer service every day, I can tell your their approach is poor.

  27. I have read through each of the comments on here and I must say I’m shocked! My husband and I have been with USAA for over 10 years and have always had superior customer and claims service. We will probably be leaving USAA for other reasons; however, reading these comments is VERY sobering to say the least. We have always had pretty much the bare minimum in coverage through USAA and thought our rates were unbeatable. Well, our financial adviser started looking around for us…low and behold there is another company (a few actually) who quoted 3 times more coverage for less money a year! When it was all said and done, we will be paying nearly $950 LESS a year with the other company than we were with USAA even with MORE COVERAGE in the auto area. I was totally amazed. I am almost glad we are making this move based on the comments above, too. Thank you all for speaking out about your experiences with USAA. It has been helpful.

  28. I just discovered that i got a refund on my homeowners insurance because it was cancelleed. It’s sunday and of course I cannot call nobody. I am not in bankcruptcy, just checked last week my credit score is in the 800′s and fnancial stable. I am shocked since I am a memeber of 9 years. no notice, I pay my homeowners in full every year. What if I had a problem with my house and I wasn’t insured? Can they even cancel it without proper notification????? I always had good relations with this company but it seems to me I should start moving my nest somewhere else….:(

  29. Robert Biller says:

    Recently I tried to obtain a home equity loan of $80,000 on a paid off home valued at $300,000 from USAA. Despite having been a client of USAA for banking and insurance for 30+ years, having a guaranteed income (military retirement) and having a credit rating of 800, I was denied the loan. USAA’s reasoning was that my homes location is too remote to get an assessor too, to determine its fair market value. I was quite mad and began researching other banks and insurance companies and I found that I had been paying considerably more for auto and home insurance for years and that by going through a local bank I could shave a full 1.5% of interest off of the loan from USAA’s rate. I now have the same coverage as I had before at a 50% savings on my cars, a 60% savings on my house and a 75% savings on earth quake insurance. Thank you USAA for turning me down on the loan or I would hav continued to blindly let you take advatage of my loyalty.

  30. I been using USAA for over 20 years, my insurance policy is always been the cheapest than anywhere else. I have had one collision claim but 5 rock chip claims where they replaced my windshield on my Honda Accord 3 times :). The collision claim was in 2002 and the dealer did a lousy job and now I have called them to fix it again, I believe the dealer was a preferred provider at the time, still no word on whether they are going to fix again for free. I am patient though. I should know next week. Was worth a try. As for my homeowners policy ( I got that about 8 years now), that is expensive, $774 a year, Farmer just quoted me $284 for really close to the same coverage, I believe USAA was over insuring but they go by a program in their computer. With both these policy, my SSA has climbed over $2000. So even if I took in consideration the SSA every year my home policy is still way high using the average of three other quotes , Liberty Mutual was $681 and State Farm was $335.00 , and Farmers at $284.00. Of course, I am going with farmers in January with a whopping $490 difference. In today’s times I would not get a home equity, I would consider a HELOC or refin but not a home equity, just too much money, and shop around. My house is paid for so I won’t take money out because now it cost me $250 a month to live here with taxes, insurance, and utilities. Can’t beat it.

  31. SingleMom12 says:

    I am closing my USAA accounts this week after 23 years, which I never thought I would do. I had to declare bankruptcy after an ugly divorce; my husband filed and if I didn’t, all of the debts were going to fall on me and the children, effectively burying us. This week, a whole year after I filed, a big red message came up every time i tried to sign in USAA saying that I had filed bankruptcy and redirecting me to the mobile site, which as you know, has limited capabilities and visibility of your accounts. I called and they said I was “caught during a random sweep” like I was a criminal or something. So, since I can’t access what I need, and I don’t want to see the red reminder of my sad past everyday, I chose to end the service my Dad gave me when I was 17 years old. Disappointed in you, USAA. Members have tough times too, and your humiliation does not help.

  32. FlyingHigh says:

    I have to agree with what many others have said about USAA’s negative treatment to loyal customers. I’ve been with USAA for 23+ years and have banking, investments, insurance with them and have slowly started moving several products elsewhere. I recently received my homeowners renewal (+21%) and was quoted $1100+ for one year with a 2% deductible ($4100). The only option I was given to increase my deductible. So why do I have insurance if USAA continues to shift the burden on me to pay more for my premium and damages that cost less than $4100? I sure wish my pay went up 21% every year. They also discourage you (or put road blocks) from reducing the amount of the property. They tend to overestimate the value of properties to force up premiums. Well, I’m now shopping for other alternatives.

  33. It is funny to see the trends on these comments from when USAA was good to now. I have been with them for 11-12 yrs and I absolutely loved them up until recently. Now they are rude and not very helpful. I went with Navy Fed and closed all my accounts except for checking. The only reason I keep the checking open is in case they pull their head outta their A@# and go back to what made them awesome. Its a shame to see them fall so far.

  34. Total Agreement with the reviewers who state that USAA is no no longer the premium company it once was. We have been with USAA for over 40 years and I do get the 10% distribution from my SSA (Senior Bonus) each February. But in late April 2012, USAA Federal Savings Bank made a huge mistake and closed our business account BY ACCIDENT. They had failed to log in the receipt of a form they had requested about our business account, a form which we had completed and faxed back in a timely manner. They totally goofed, and several employees (one of whom works in the CEO’s office) admitted the error. They closed the account with no notice in April even after two different people told us they DID have the form in the file. BTW, we learned the account was closed by inserting an ATM card in a machine and receiving a receipt that said “Invalid Account.” If you think we are flakes, I should tell you that we have never had a bounced check or late payment with any line of business with USAA in over 40 years. It was entirely the error of the bank, and so after 90 days and three letters to the bank president Boehne and CEO Robles, we have finally received a written apology letter from the President of the bank saying they are sorry for the confusion and frustration their error caused. But for the past 3 months, they have ducked and hidden and made excuses and failed to return phone calls. We were told by one of their reps that there were hundreds of business accounts that were closed by mistake (others whose forms were not logged in properly), and we presume they are facing lawsuits over that and therefore tried to control the comments made to us by phone. (USAA quit offering business accounts some time ago, but allowed all open accounts to stay open.) Disgusted with this fiasco, we have chosen to move our banking to the new Chase military free banking program. It is apparent from our recent research that the USAA bank has indeed grown to0 large, too impersonal, too weighted down with bureacracy, and poor service. It’s sad to see USAA become “just another bank.” They seem more interested in attracting new business than taking care of the loyal folks who sang their praises for so many years. For those who only hear the positive side, keep in mind that the CEO only posts the positive reviews about USAA on his comment page, so most USAA members have no idea that there are terrible situations occurring for many “members.” Time for us to accept that the “old” USAA is no longer ….

  35. Robert Winebrenner says:

    Wow! This has been an eye-opening read. I’ve been with USAA for 33 years, never a late or missed payment, never an overdraft, and I think my last and only automobile claim was for a couple hundred back in 1982. When you look up “low risk” in the encyclopedia, it has my picture… Anyway, I am one of those who was always singing the praises of USAA over the years and I, too, ignored the warning signs of a formerly excellent organization that got too big and started chasing too many higher risk customers to the detriment of the former core customers. I’ve had two extremely negative experiences this year, one with Mortgages as I started construction of a new home, and later with Property Insurance as I tried to insure it. In both cases, it seemed to me as though decision makers have been moved behind a wall, well insulated from the customers, protected by 17 layers of middle management, not one of whom is empowered to actually make a decision. Essentially, USAA left me standing at the altar twice on this real estate deal, and that’s something I can’t forgive. I have begun the process of moving all my USAA business — banking, credit cards, auto / property / life insurance, investments, you name it — to other firms. After 33 years. I thought it was just me. But I see I am not alone.

  36. I am a Vietnam veteran and have been with USAA for 42 years. Before I explain why, after 42 years I am leaving USAA, I wanted to say a word about divorce and the subscriber’s savings account. During my divorce mediation, my ex-wife’s attorney, who was also a USAA member, made me list the balance in my subscriber’s savings account as an “asset.” At that time, I didn’t even know that I had a savings account, let alone what the balance was. He admitted that I could not receive the funds unless I left USAA (or died), but, I was required to give my ex-wife $2,500 real dollars in exchange for the phantom dollars in the SSA. So, just a note to other members to beware of the asset claim if you are in a divorce.

    Back to why I am leaving USAA. It is unfortunate, really. As I mentioned, I have been with USAA for 42 years and was quite pleased with the level of service and the quality product for many of those years. Recently, I feel like USAA’s objective is to merely recruit their next new client. They readily pay out vehicle claims to the other parties, without really investigating what happened … yet, in the ONE TIME that I actually had a homeowners claim because of a plumbing problem … I was made to feel like a sheister during the process … it was a $5,800 claim.

    USAA provides its boat coverage under Progressive. They will not insure homes in Florida that were built before a certain date (sometime between 2002-2006 – I’m not for sure on those dates) … so, once I close on the sale of my home, I am closing my remaining policies with USAA and am going to Progressive.

    It really is a shame because once upon a time, they were the best of the best – but, not now.

  37. I’ve been with USAA continuously from 1984 when I was an ROTC cadet, but I’m gone as soon as I find a competitive homeowner policy. I moved my auto policies to GEICO last month. I’m getting better coverage for significantly lower rates than USAA.

    Every USAA member should get quotes from other companies. The idea that their rates are always better is simply not true.

  38. I too dropped USAA after 22+ years due to auto insurance premiums going up every 6 months. BHW, I only filed one claim with them during all this time for one of my vehicle’s that was rear-ended while it was parked outside my residence. I also went with GEICO; their 6 month premium was about 1/3 of what USAA had been charging me for the longest time. While attempting to close my policy, I was transferred to a special department, where someone tried very hard to presuade me to stay with them…telling me other insurance providers were not what they seem. I’ll tell you this, the quote I got from GEICO didn’t change when I signed up with them; USAA is no more than a insurance bully.

  39. Wow! I had no idea that things had gotten so bad at USAA. I have never had a problem with them, but I am growing tired of the ever increasing amount they force me to keep in my SSA. The current balance is almost $8,000.00.

    I had compared coverage against other companies for years and USAA was always the lowest. I have not done that comparison for several years, but with all this negative feedback, and the 8K of mine that they are holding, I believe I will revisit that practice.

  40. Wow indeed. I was happy enough with USAA all these years (25), even though I’ve only had auto insurance with them. Until, that is, I recently decided to shop my auto insurance rate – I had always just assumed they had the lowest rate, as well as the highest rating. Well, turns out they don’t have the lowest rates, not even close! And apparently they don’t “rate” so well in customer service anymore either, as I found out when I asked if they could beat (or at least match!) their competitor’s quote. No dice. Take it or leave it. Wow… here I’ve been over-paying all these years, out of a misplaced sense of loyalty and trust (or is it naivete and stupidity?), and they can’t even work with me? I’m profoundly disappointed. I’m still in shock, actually, but I’m going to do something about it. I will try one more time to work with them, and if still “no”, then I’m gone.

    I have just a few questions – hopefully some of you can help?

    1) How do I find out the balance in my SSA? I never even knew about this.

    2) If I cancel and ask for my SSA balance, will I be able to re-join USAA again in the future (if they come to their senses and go back to their old way of treating loyal customers as valued members instead of stupid prey), or is leaving USAA a permanent decision?

    3) If they were to “cancel” me before I decide to quit them (as they appear to be doing to so many good, long-time customers lately, judging from the above comments), would they still give me my SSA balance? If not, I guess I should hurry up and quit on them and just take my SSA before they cancel me, right?

    Many thanks to Ryan and all those who shared their stories – I had no idea!

    3)

  41. Robert Winebrenner says:

    Alex, I can answer those questions.
    1. You get your balance in a statement every February. If you are refunded anything from your SSA, that is paid out to you in early December. Check your online documents, you may have opted for online delivery in which case your latest statement will be buried in your insurance documents archives.
    2. Yes, you may rejoin and if so you would start building your SSA balance anew. However, there is a six month waiting period before you get your SSA back. So if you rejoin during that 6-month period, then no. You need to remind them at the appropriate time to get the refund.
    3. The SSA will be yours after 6 months regardless of who terminates the insurance coverage. Make a mark in your calendar 6 months after termination, call them, go through 17 transfers to get a “supervisor” and a few more to get a “supervisor” who knows what you are talking about, and they will cut you a cheque.

  42. Robert – thanks a million!

  43. I am also in the process of leaving USAA. I had been with them for about 12 years when I started seeing problems, about the time they started advertising and loosening their membership rules. In the past USAA used to work with me and others but interest rates started climbing and my vehicle insurance started going up every 6 months on a vehicle that was getting older even though I had no claims. My IRA, checking, savings, vehicle loan, and vehicle insurance have all been moved. Just a loan and credit card to move and I will be done with them.

    Here are a few things I have picked up regarding USAA:

    - When you get your vehicle fixed on a claim the parts used will probably not be factory or proprietary. Off brand replacement parts are cheaper which keeps rates lower. Probably not a big deal but they may not fit as well or the quality may be questionable.

    - A co-worker has USAA home owners insurance, his deductible is around 2% of house value, mine, with another company, is a flat $1000 on roofing and $500 on everything else. He pays more than twice as much in premiums as I do. It cost me $1000 to have my roof replaced after a hail storm, he paid about $2500.

    - A USAA Rep told me the more accounts you have with them the lower your insurance rates are. Bank rep even transferred me to the insurance side to tell me what the effect of closing my bank accounts would be on my insurance.

    - A USAA Rep told me the insurance side is separate from the bank side. Membership is “looser” on the bank side than the insurance side. (When I shut my insurance down I was asked not the judge them because I had issues with the banking side.)

    - When I canceled the vehicle insurance I was told I would get my SSA back in 60 days after all insurance policies were closed. Still waiting. Called them back and was told December each year. Then she changed her mind and checked with someone else and now it’s 90 days. Now I see some info that it is 6 months.

    Back in the 90′s I was with First Command, seems like I couldn’t throw a rock without hearing about them and how they catered to the military. Now I rarely hear anything about them even though they are still around. (I think they got into trouble with front loading mutual funds or something.) I believe USAA is going to so alienate it’s base in the coming years they will have to go public. I say goodbye and good riddance to them.

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