Understanding USAA’s Subscriber Savings Account

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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…

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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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan's writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes, Military.com, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine (print and online editions), Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

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  1. Frank Bayush says

    Ryan, why can USAA keep my $10k+ for 6 months after cancelling all my auto and home policies. 30 days would seem reasonable. I’m not with the company any longer so why can they continue to keep my money for their reserves? Is this an issue for the state insurance commission? Thx

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