Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jul 30, 2019

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AAA Car Insurance and USAA Auto Insurance are two of the most respected car insurance companies in America but who is better?

Both companies are well-established, offer a wide range of car insurance coverage, well rated and have significant market share.

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AAA Car Insurance Review

On March 4, 1902, the American Automobile Association (AAA) was founded in Chicago by 1,500 members in 9 automobile clubs across the country. The first activities of the organization were to publish road maps. Later, hotel guides were printed for members.

The early 1920s AAA implemented driver safety programs and later went on to provide roadside assistance and eventually auto insurance. Their origin focused on supporting automobile owners, and their strength lies in a dedicated commitment to customer service.

Although AAA Auto Insurance seems like a single brand the AAA Company is actually a collection of 69 different automobile clubs throughout the nation.

They all fly under the banner of AAA, but they’re managed locally by regions. This is one reason why it can often be tough to figure out the performance of AAA as it depends on the local chapter.

From J.D. Power and Associates’ most recent National Auto Insurance Study (a review of auto insurance companies nationwide), AAA Auto Club Group scored an overall 3 out of 5 on average.

However, the California chapter of AAA was given 4 out of 5. This underscores the need to examine AAA based on your local coverage. In addition to insurance, you will also be able to avail of the emergency roadside assistance program of AAA.

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USAA Car Insurance Review

In 1922, a group of officers in the U.S. Army founded USAA in response to being denied auto insurance because of being seen as too high of a risk.

Since then, USAA has grown to provide for all members of the U.S. military and their families. USAA relies mostly on word of mouth to drive direct sales. They don’t use mass advertising like major insurance companies.

Instead, direct response marketing has been their primary means of advertising. Originally, mail was the primary source of contact. From 1978 to 1999, USAA relied on an 800 number. After that, the internet website was added.

USAA scored perfect on J.D. Power and Associates’ review. They received 5 out of 5. However, J.D. Power did not consider them a contender for an award because USAA is only available to members of the U.S. Armed forces.

That said, insurance rates for USAA tend to be some of the lowest in the country even with only a limited number of car insurance discounts. Read a full USAA car insurance review here.

AAA vs. USAA

Both groups are supported by a large base of members and come from a long-standing history. USAA is backed by the U.S. Government, and AAA is supported by 69 automobile associations.

Both have low insurance premiums. While USAA tends to have lower rates on average, AAA seems to have better response time and customer service.

If you’re merely looking for the minimum payment to meet your state’s auto insurance requirements, then USAA may save you more money however both companies have very competitive car insurance rates.

Who is a better car insurance company – AAA or USAA?

While USAA Auto Insurance is the clear winner according to the J.D. Powers and Associates National Auto Insurance Study the downfall is that USAA Auto Insurance is limited to a member of the military, their families and certain other people.

This restriction often prevents many drives from enjoying the customer service USAA is well known for.

On the other hand, AAA still depends on the local chapter and its reputation. If your local AAA group has high ratings, then you may be happier with them.

While USAA and AAA are highly respected car insurance companies the opportunity for drivers to compare car insurance rates should never be limited to just 2 companies.

There are many national insurance companies such as Amica Mutual, State Farm, and Auto-Owners Insurance and even more local car insurance companies who provide stellar customer service with competitive rates.

While you may end up ultimately choosing AAA or USAA as a car insurance provider always try to compare a least 5 or 6 companies before making a decision.

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  1. USAA Car Insurance Reviews