USAA life insurance review 2020
Find specialized policies to suit your military family's specific needs — without your typical exclusions.
finder.com's rating: 3 / 5
- Get a quote if… You’re a member of the military.
- Pick something else if… You are not in the military.
18 to 85
$100,000 to $10,000,000
Depends on policy
Medical Exam Required
|Free quote||Online, Phone|
|Available states||All 50 states|
|Policy options||Term, Whole, Universal|
|Term lengths||10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years|
|Issue age||18 to 85|
|Coverage||$100,000 to $10,000,000|
|Medical exam required||Depends on policy|
|Monthly cost||As low as $12 a month|
|Claim methods||Online form|
|Customer support||Phone, Online|
|Riders||Accelerated death benefit rider, Accidental death benefit rider, Child rider, Spouse rider, Term insurance rider, Waiver-of-premium rider|
Peter Carleton is a writer that covers banking and investing, breaking down what you need to know about where you put your money. When Peter's not thinking about cutting-edge banking apps and robo-advisors, he runs a creative agency and spends his spare time cooking or reading.
For military members and the families who love them, USAA offers competitive rates on flexible life insurance policies designed with your lifestyle and needs in mind. But if you’re not a member of the military, you might find better options.
What types of life insurance coverage does USAA offer?
While many providers shy away from insuring members of the military, USAA focuses on life insurance policies designed for members of the military and their families
Whether you’re looking for temporary coverage while deployed or extra help for retirement, a strong lineup of term, whole and universal life insurance policies should suit your needs.
Term life insurance
Among the most affordable options USAA offers, term life insurance provides a fixed amount of coverage over a specified term of 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years.
Starting at an advertised $14.51 a month for a 20-year best-class policy, payments and coverage remain consistent over your term. And you can opt for additional coverage while deployed and a guaranteed Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) replacement after you leave service.
- Term Life. Coverage during war and increased coverage for major life events, convertible to a permanent policy.
- Term Life for Military. Increased coverage for major life events, severe injury benefits and guaranteed SGLI replacement.
Whole life insurance
USAA’s whole life insurance is its most simple type of insurance, offering lifetime coverage to protect your family when you’re no longer able to provide for them. Coverage and costs start at $84.57 a month for a 20-year best-class policy, remaining the same over the life of your policy that’s active as long as you continue paying your premiums.
Flexible payment options allow you to choose paying premiums for 20 years, until you’re age 65 or for the life of the policy. This option is more expensive than term life, but your policy’s cash value grows over time, potentially providing a bigger payout to beneficiaries.
Universal life insurance
The most versatile option, universal life insurance provides adjustable options to incorporate the policy into your overall financial plan. Costs are similar to whole life insurance, starting at $73.89 a month for a 20-year best-class policy. But you can adjust premium amounts and payment schedules to fit your goals.
Like with whole life insurance, your cash value grows over time. But the growth potential is influenced by your allocation of premiums. You’re provided more control of your money with the option of borrowing from your policy’s cash value, if you need it.
Does USAA offer burial insurance?
No — but your beneficiaries can use the payout from any policy to cover your funeral and burial costs, as well as any other end-of-life expenses. USAA says it often pays out claims for permanent policies within 48 hours, which may alleviate the financial burden on your loved ones.
What riders can I add to my life insurance policy?
USAA’s comprehensive life insurance policies are designed specifically for members of the military, typically providing coverage beyond what other insurers offer.
But because no policy can fit your exact needs, you might want to tailor your coverage with any number of riders available to USAA members:
- Term life event option. Provides the option to increase coverage by $100,000 without additional underwriting after a marriage, birth, home purchase and other life events.
- Child, family and spouse riders. Insures your loved ones on your policy to avoid separate plans.
- Military severe injury benefit. Provides a $25,000 payout if you’re severely injured on duty.
- Simplified whole life. Request additional whole life insurance up to six times after certain events.
- Waiver of premium. Waives premiums if you’re disabled and unable to work.
- Accelerated death benefit. Provides an early payout if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- Accidental death benefit. Provides an additional payout if you die as the result of an accident.
Talk with a USAA life insurance rep to learn more about other riders that can cover what life throws your way.
How do I get a low rate?
It’s tough to estimate life insurance rates, what with the variables that go into underwriting. In short, the best way to get the lowest life insurance rates is to live the healthiest lifestyle you’re able to.
General health and lifestyle guidelines for premium rates include:
- No or limited tobacco use within the past two to three years.
- No deaths in the family from cancer or heart disease.
- No alcohol or substance abuse in the past five years.
- Overall cholesterol level below 240 with a 6.0 HDL ratio.
- Blood pressure level of 140/90 or better.
- A driving record free of DWIs, DUIs, suspensions and other convictions in past five years.
Pros and cons of USAA
- Top medical exam policy. Deployed members can fast-track applications without the need for medical exams, and those converting from a military to civilian policy can avoid submitting to a medical exam as well.
- Helpful website. USAA’s website offers a variety of helpful information to educate and guide customers through the process of buying life insurance.
- Solid coverage for those who serve. Policies are designed to fit the needs of those who serve our country.
- Available to nonmilary members. Life insurance is one of the only products that USAA will offer to nonmilitary members.
- Limited options for nonmilitary. Most of USAA’s products are open to former or active members of the military only.
- Unclear product details. While its site is informative, USAA doesn’t offer immediate details for its policies, riders or features.
- Can be expensive. Despite affordable term life insurance policies, USAA’s whole and universal life insurance policies might be more costly than competitors — if they’ll even cover you.
Life insurance companies like USAA
USAA reviews and complaints
As of this writing, USAA earns a 3.8 out of 5 from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which weighs reviews against its own internal rating system that also considers longevity and business practices, among other elements.Of the 300 customer reviews on the BBB’s site are more than 270 negative reviews that cite troubles with account security, communication and payments. Keep in mind that reviews cover all products USAA offers, not only life insurance.
Positive reviews focus on solid customer support and competitive rates. And despite the negative reviews on its site, the BBB gives USAA a glowing A+ rating overall.
How does USAA protect my data?
USAA collects your personal data in order to provide you assistance and offer you products and services that match your needs.
Your information is not sold to third parties and is safeguarded with rigorous security procedures and world-class virus and intrusion detection software.
How do I sign up?
From USAA’s life insurance homepage, click Get A Quote.
- You’ll then be asked to provide your date of birth, gender, the state in which you reside and your military status, if any.
- Next, answer a few health-related questions and click Submit.
- You’ll then be presented with an initial quote. You can adjust your coverage amount and term for an updated quote. If you’re happy with the quote, click Continue. Or you can save the quote to come back to at a later time.
- If you’re already a member of USAA, log in to continue the application process. If not, you’ll need to join before proceeding.
I’ve signed up. What happens next?
A USAA representative will contact you about your approval status. If approved, register your new policy online so you can manage your policy and take advantage of features such as autopay.
Originally founded by a group of U.S. Army officers to help military members get car insurance coverage, USAA is best known for its commitment to protecting its members and their families.
Its products are designed to suit the financial situations of active and former military members driven by unique underwriting niches and tailored coverage.
In addition to life insurance USAA offers a wide selection of financial products that include:
- Health insurance
- Auto insurance
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards
- Mutual funds
- Retirement planning
How do I file a life insurance claim with USAA?
USAA’s policies give you access to an online system through which you can manage your account, file a claim and more.
Start the process of filing a life insurance claim with USAA by logging in to your account. You’ll need information that includes:
- The USAA policy number
- Social Security numbers for the decedent and beneficiaries
- Official life event certificates to confirm marriages, births and divorce, if applicable
- Military discharge and VA claim numbers, if applicable
- Signatures for all parties
You’ll also need to submit a copy of the death certificate from your funeral director or county health department soon after filing your claim.
Frequently asked questions
Life insurance ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
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