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 14, 2019

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If you are looking for car insurance, you may be perplexed by the myriad of choices facing you.

Do you go with a large, reputable company with higher premiums, or do you take a chance on a smaller company with friendly, local service? It is not an easy decision, but doing your homework on potential auto insurance companies can make your choice easier.

Comparing two companies side-by-side, such as Progressive and USAA, can give you insights into the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Use our FREE quote tool to compare insurance rates today!

Progressive History

Progressive Auto Insurance began as a small company in Ohio almost forty years ago, designed to provide affordable car insurance to working people. Over the years, Progressive has grown into a nationwide auto insurance company which is one of the foremost providers of coverage in the United States.

Progressive employs over 25,000 people and sells over $15 billion worth of insurance each year, primarily through a network of independent agents.

Progressive has become a household name due to its strategic television advertising featuring humorous commercials showcasing its flexible insurance options, such as “Name Your Own Price” and “Snapshot” driving records.

Read a full Progressive Auto Insurance Review

USAA History

USAA, which stands for the United Services Automobile Association, is one of the nation’s top providers of automobile insurance to military service members and veterans.

Available only to those who are serving or have served in the armed forces and their families, USAA was formed in 1924 to provide car insurance to military personnel. It has now grown to be a nationwide company with over $9 billion in revenues per year.

USAA employs primarily direct marketing, such as television advertisements, mailings, phone and internet sales to market its products. Because USAA is only available to those with ties to the armed services, it is limited in its marketing share.

Read a full USAA Auto Insurance Review

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Progressive Customer Service Ratings

Progressive had average scores across the board in the J. D. Power and Associates 2011 customer service survey. The company scored three out of five stars, or “average,” on all five categories scored by the J. D. Power survey, including overall customer service, policy offerings, billing and payment, contacting the insurer, and pricing.

In the Customer Satisfaction Index, a 1,000-point scale which rates companies against each other, Progressive scored 785, or 13th out of the 33 companies rated.

Progressive is sold through independent agents, so some of the customer service rating may come not from the company but from customer dealings with individual agents.

However, overall Progressive seems to score almost directly in the middle of the J. D. Powers ratings.

USAA Customer Service Ratings

USAA is, simply put, the highest-rated insurance company in America in customer service. According to the J. D. Power and Associates 2011 survey, USAA scored 898 out of 1,000 points, higher than the company which won the number-one spot in the survey.

The reason USAA did not take the award is that the limited customer service base would not allow a fair comparison between it and the other companies on the list; however, USAA scored five out of five stars, or “Superior,” in all categories rated by the Powers survey.

Despite the fact that USAA was disqualified from the Powers award, it is clear that customers have nothing but good things to say about this company.

Very few customers had any type of complaint against the company, and most seem to be very happy with the service, prices, and policies of USAA Insurance.

Which auto insurance company is better – Progressive or USAA auto insurance?

It is obvious that USAA has far better customer service ratings that Progressive in all areas. USAA is also a financially stable company, although not as large as Progressive.

However, USAA may not be as flexible in its policy offerings, and does not have local agents who can work with you on your policy choices and management of your coverage.

However, the comparison between the two companies is moot if you are not a member of the armed services or a veteran. Only these people, and their family members, are qualified to buy USAA insurance.

By limiting its focus to service families, USAA has managed to maintain its high reputation and particular service model in providing great insurance coverage to a limited group.

If you are not a member of the armed services or have a family member in the service, you have other options. By comparing other companies, you can make a good choice in your car insurance.

Be sure to talk to representatives from any company you investigate to get the full picture of how the insurer works with customers. You can get quotes from any company online or by talking to an agent.

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