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: Aug 27, 2019

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When you are comparing car insurance companies, it is especially important to understand all the facts about the various potential insurers.

In order to prevent overwhelming yourself with information, it is often advisable to view two auto insurance companies together and find information on each, then compare your choice with other providers.

Esurance and USAA are both nationally recognized leaders in the auto insurance industry however which auto insurance company is better for you?

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Esurance History

Esurance began in 1998 as the first internet-only auto insurance company in existence. It was a risky venture, started by a group of entrepreneurs who believed that what had worked so well for other markets, namely internet sales and service, could work for car insurance as well.

Esurance grew quickly, probably due in some part to the novelty of the concept, and also due to a very focused television advertising campaign featuring culturally-friendly cartoons and catchy slogans. It was purchased by various insurance groups and today is owned by Allstate Insurance.

Esurance does a large amount of business for a small company, earning over $900 million each year relying entirely on internet and television advertising to promote its products with customers doing most of their business online.

Read an Esurance Auto Insurance Review

USAA Auto Insurance History

The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) began life as an insurance provider designed to give insurance to service people, veterans and their families during the lean times before World War II.

Today, the company insures 8.4 million members of military families, providing automobile and homeowner’s products, as well as financial advising.

USAA relies primarily on direct marketing to advertise its products, but has produced a series of television commercials designed to make its name better-known. As USAA products are only available to military personnel, veterans, and family members, it is not always possible for everyone who wants this insurance to purchase it.

However, the company still manages to do over $9 billion worth of insurance business each year, even with this limited market.

Read a USAA Auto Insurance Review

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Esurance Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Unfortunately, Esurance’s business style, while unique, has not been appreciated by all of its customers. The company garnered only mediocre customer satisfaction ratings in the 2011 J. D. Power and Associates National Auto Insurance Study, earning a below average score in overall satisfaction, billing and payment, and contacting the insurer categories.

The company did get a satisfactory rating in pricing and policy offerings, however.

Esurance scored a 763 in J. D. Powers Customer Satisfaction Index out of a possible 1,000 points. This placed the company 24th out of the total 33 companies included in the survey.

USAA Customer Satisfaction Ratings

One of USAA’s strongest features is its complete customer satisfaction, according to J. D. Power and Associate’s survey. USAA failed to receive the Power award for top customer satisfaction although it outranked the number one company by over 50 points, due to the fact that its customer base is limited to only military personnel.

Because of this, J. D. Power does not include it in the 33 companies of the survey. However, USAA not only had the top score in the survey, but gained five out of five stars, or “excellent,” in all five categories of the Powers assessment.

USAA is undoubtedly the company with the very highest customer satisfaction rating in the industry, no matter how it is compared to other companies. Customer service seems to be USAA’s best advantage, and its own customers seem to be its best advertising.

Which auto insurance company is better – Esurance or USAA?

If you are eligible to apply for USAA insurance, it is obviously a great company with which to do business. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions of only military personnel being eligible, not everyone can enjoy the benefits of USAA.

On the other hand, if you enjoy managing your own account online and do not mind the idea of doing most of your business on the internet, you may be able to get a good policy at a good price from Esurance.

The company is solid financially, and its target market are those customers who do not mind not having an agent on hand at all times, but are capable of handling most business through the internet.

Whichever company you choose, it is important to talk to representatives from each one you are considering before making a choice.

Talking to a company’s agent or representative will give you a much better idea of exactly how the company will work with your particular needs.

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