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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Geico and USAA are among the largest auto insurance companies in the United States and two of the largest providers of any kind of insurance.

While Geico is available to anyone wishing to purchase auto insurance, in order to qualify for USAA you must be a member of the United States Military or a dependent or relative of a service member.

Even with different client bases Geico and USAA have similar marketing plans and offer similar claims regarding the quality and scope of the insurance products they offer as well as claiming similar “industry low” prices.

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In order to determine which company is right for you it is important to take into account your personal insurance needs, as well as your eligibility for USAA.

Quality rankings are also very useful in determining which auto insurance company is right for you and most objective rankings will at least allow you to see how the majority of customers view your potential insurer.

Geico Insurance History (Government Employees Insurance Company)

Founded in 1936 by Leo Goodwin in Fort Worth Texas, Geico is considered to be the civilian counterpart to USAA, and many of the policies Geico offers were originally based on USAA products. Geico was originally created to cater specifically to US federal employees and their families.

However, today anyone is eligible to purchase auto insurance from Geico, federal employee or not. Geico differs from many other major insurances providers because they do not utilize insurance agents as a means for obtaining and retaining policyholders.

Geico claims this allows them to provide lower prices by “cutting out the middleman”.

Geico is also very well known for their advertising budget, which for many years was the highest marketing budget in the United States. Their logo is the “Geico Gecko” which many customers know through numerous television commercials and billboard advertisements.

Read a full Geico auto insurance review

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History of USAA, the “United Services Automobile Association”

USAA is an auto insurance group that was formed in 1922 by a group in order to provide coverage to people who were considered too risky by the standards of the time, Army Officers.

Like Geico, USAA was founded in Texas, in the city of San Antonio. While initially only offering auto insurance coverage to Army Officers USAA has since expanded to cover all members of the US military, both current and former as well as their families and dependents.

USAA has incredibly competitive rates and very highly rated coverage if you qualify. Many Americans do not know that they, in fact, may qualify for USAA, for example, if your grandfather was a service member this would allow your mother to obtain USAA, which in turn would allow you to become insured by them.

The exclusive nature of USAA also lends itself to better customer service since the customer pool is so much smaller than other large insurers.

Read a full USAA auto insurance review

Which auto insurance company offers more competitive rates?

Assuming you qualify to be a customer for both companies, your next question is probably who offers the most competitive rates.

USAA and Geico are both considered to be “discount auto insurance” providers. Which means that they appeal to customers who do not require the constant service and attention of an insurance agent and customers who wish to minimize their auto insurance premiums without sacrificing quality or service.

Geico and USAA are both very large, government regulated insurers and they have the full faith and backing of the United States Government.

Premiums for both companies are very similar in each car class, and both companies have very similar price/quality ratings with large consumer reporting organizations like J.D. Power and Associates as well as Consumer Reports, both very well respected consumer protection/review publications.

So when it comes down to it – which company is best?I

f you need to make a choice between Geico and USAA then you still have a pretty good choice of auto insurance companies to choose from. While many rankings systems do not include USAA due to the fact that they prevent the majority of customers from joining, those that do rate USAA consistently rate it to be the best possible auto insurance provider.

For example, USAA has five star ratings from JD Power and Associates in every single major category, including Overall Satisfaction, Policy Offerings, Pricing, Billing and Payment, and Contacting the Insurer.

Geico has much lower ratings, including three stars in Overall Satisfaction, Billing and Payment and Contacting the Insurer and four stars in Policy Offerings and Pricing but also have a pretty loyal following and backed by Warren Buffet so there is certainly tremendous piece of mind knowing the financial strength of the company behind you in the event of a claim.

Both USAA and Geico are solid choices for an auto insurance provider but before committing to any company always make sure to shop around and compare auto insurance quotes from a list of providers. Auto insurance rates, customer service ratings and even the details of coverage can vary greatly between insurers.

Start an auto insurance comparison search today and find local auto insurance companies online.

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