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USAA expands membership eligibility
Old 08-20-2008, 04:44 PM   #1
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USAA expands membership eligibility

USAA's demographic has been downsized and deceasing for quite a while, so they're recruiting:
http://www.military.com/Finance/cont...173580,00.html

Membership is expanding to:
Quote:
Military retirees, regardless of when they retired
Military personnel who were honorably discharged on or after Jan. 1, 1996
Widows or widowers of military personnel killed in action
Spouses and children of the above once they become a member
The full membership requirements (beyond the above changes) are in the article and on USAA's website.

We shop our insurance just about every year, and the only company that's ever come close is GEICO (auto) and Armed Forces (homeowners). The first was still 10% higher after my Berkshire Hathaway discount and the latter is only cheaper because they're on the edge of financial jeopardy. If USAA was writing policies for Hawaii's existing homeowners then we'd probably jump.

There have always been a few loopholes, so if you think you may be even remotely qualified then it's worth asking.

While I like USAA just fine for their insurance, I think there are many better places to invest.
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Old 08-20-2008, 04:54 PM   #2
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Do you know of a reason behind 1 Jan 96 as the cutoff date for those with honorable discharges?

Never mind, I think I figured it out on my own:
Quote:
USAA began as an officer-only association in 1922, opened to enlisted personnel in 1996...
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Old 08-20-2008, 04:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
While I like USAA just fine for their insurance, I think there are many better places to invest.
I second that statement.

Their bank (USAA Federal Savings Bank) is very good as well.
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:26 PM   #4
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My dad was retired Navy and we were able to get car insurance through USAA. Very happy with them and we have shopped around as well.
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:30 PM   #5
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Every time an insurance agent cold-calls us, I tell them we're been insured with USAA for 39+ years and they hang up. That says a lot. We have never found any ins co that's better.

What really seals the deal with USAA are their banking products. As REWahoo noted, USAA FSB makes things very easy. Their online banking gives us the ability to move $$$ to or from any of our brokerage or bank accounts, and their bill payment system actually works. "Deposit at Home" allows us to scan endorsed checks and deposit them through USAA's web site. Pajamas banking!

For investments, look other places.

Now as soon as I slide over that 40-year threshold next August, life with USAA really gets good...
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:31 PM   #6
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"Deposit at Home" allows us to scan endorsed checks and deposit them through USAA's web site. Pajamas banking!
I drool thinking of that and I don't wear PJs. I am eagerly awaiting Navy FCU's adoption of remote deposit.

Mike D.
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:39 PM   #7
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I drool thinking of that and I don't wear PJs. I am eagerly awaiting Navy FCU's adoption of remote deposit.

Mike D.
I like remote deposit as well, but I call it "mail-in deposit" because I've got a mailbox.
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40 years?
Old 08-21-2008, 05:53 PM   #8
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40 years?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGuy View Post

Now as soon as I slide over that 40-year threshold next August, life with USAA really gets good...
What's the goodies at 40 years? I'm not aware of that. Been with them for 22+ now and don't expect to leave any time soon (checking, credit card, home and car insurance).
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:04 PM   #9
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USAA

"Since there are no shareholders, profits are retained for financial strength or returned to the members. Returns are accomplished through a Subscriber's Savings Account, or SSA. Each year a portion of USAA's profit is retained as "unassigned," the rest is allocated to each member's SSA using a formula based on the amount of premium the member paid that year as well as the member's SSA balance. The allocation of capital to a member's SSA account occurs early in the calendar year. Late in the calendar year a portion of the member's SSA is distributed to the member via checks or electronic funds transfer. In 2007 the distribution amounted to 4% of the member's SSA balance.
Members with 40 years of membership or more also receive a special yearly "senior bonus" distribution which amounts to 10% of the member's SSA balance."
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:13 PM   #10
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Members with 40 years of membership or more also receive a special yearly "senior bonus" distribution which amounts to 10% of the member's SSA balance."
Oh, I never realized that! It doesn't say that on the SSA statement. I guess I can factor that into my retirement income stream, eh? Ought to be worth several hundred bucks a year. Woo hoo!
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:21 PM   #11
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Oh, I never realized that! It doesn't say that on the SSA statement. I guess I can factor that into my retirement income stream, eh? Ought to be worth several hundred bucks a year. Woo hoo!
It appears they don't make individuals aware of it until near the 40 year mark. I hit 38 years with my last SSA distribution and the notice of payment included the first formal information I've received on the 10%/40 year payout.
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:38 PM   #12
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My dad was active military and I got into USAA through the CIC company for dependents. My understanding is that only full members get the special payout after so many years. (If that's wrong, somebody correct me.) But it's still been a great deal for my family. We've always had their auto insurance. Added home 10 years ago. Added the bank 2 years ago and couldn't be more pleased. USAA is a leader in information technology, and their web site and Internet banking operations are very powerful.
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:11 PM   #13
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My understanding is that only full members get the special payout after so many years. (If that's wrong, somebody correct me.)
You are correct, CIC doesn't qualify.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:17 PM   #14
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I think their rates are on the high side but their customer service cannot be beat............
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:32 PM   #15
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I think their rates are on the high side but their customer service cannot be beat............
I've been able to find rates slightly better on occasion - until I factor in the annual SSA rebate.
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:48 PM   #16
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I've been able to find rates slightly better on occasion - until I factor in the annual SSA rebate.
I went through that drill a while ago. Got a GEICO solicitation for auto insurance and decided to see what they had to offer. On the surface, GEICO's rates were considerably better. I called USAA and explained my dilemma (wanting to stick with them but finding a better rate at GEICO.) I was hoping they might reduce my rates (which they didn't) but did remind me about the SSA rebate. I then tried to find out how much of that was attributable to auto insurance as opposed to homeowner, life insurance, etc. so I could break out the part attributable to auto insurance and do a really thorough analysis. They can't/won't break it out.

Bottom line: I stuck with USAA because (1) their customer service has always been great (2) on the few occasions I've had claims, I've been pleased with the way things were handled (3) I've been with them almost long enough to get the bonus SSA rebate, am a retired Navy guy and it somehow feels "disloyal" to quit them now.

I only have a credit card with their bank, but my younger daughter and her husband got a mortgage through their bank.

In short, they're an excellent company which is trying to adapt to realities of the marketplace by expanding their eligibility.

BTW, Navy Federal Credit Union is now open to folks from all branches of the services, not just Navy, Marine Corps.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:42 PM   #17
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I went through that drill a while ago. Got a GEICO solicitation for auto insurance and decided to see what they had to offer. On the surface, GEICO's rates were considerably better. I called USAA and explained my dilemma (wanting to stick with them but finding a better rate at GEICO.) I was hoping they might reduce my rates (which they didn't) but did remind me about the SSA rebate. I then tried to find out how much of that was attributable to auto insurance as opposed to homeowner, life insurance, etc. so I could break out the part attributable to auto insurance and do a really thorough analysis. They can't/won't break it out.
GEICO has been the only one to even come close to USAA.

I think our only value to USAA has been that we hardly ever talk to them, but they've been getting our money every month for the last 25+ years. If we ever had a major claim with any insurance company, the second phone call I'd make would be to an insurance claims adjustor-- who we'd ask to do the negotiating for us.

USAA does a very good job of making it very difficult to figure out their rates. About the only way to get a close number is to tell them you're getting ready to cancel your [auto][personal property][homeowner's][umbrella liability] policy and to ask for the quote on the remainder. When I used to go through my annual USAA/AFI exercise I practically needed a spreadsheet to keep up with the limits, kickers, & exclusions.

GEICO managed to piss me off by deciding to cancel the auto policy of an E-9 with whom I was working at the time, and they did it in a fairly peremptory & rude mannner. So they'd have to be quite a bargain to make me think that they were committed to my long-term business.
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:03 PM   #18
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I've been with USAA for 26 years (home, auto, banking, umbrella ins), and have not used any other insurance company since I started with them. All my kids have coverage under USAA for their cars now, after they graduated from college, and moved out on their own. Their customer service is unparalleled, IMHO. I have had my garage burn down once, and once my DW ruined a new van's engine because she misjudged the depth of a flash flood which rose up within 20 minutes. The coverage was good, and their insurance adjusters were there the next day. The ease of moving money on the 'net is also a strong plus, as well as all bill payments through them. I am quite happy with them.

An old army grunt
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:22 PM   #19
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The applause for USAA includes me. I've had my auto insurance with them since 1969. Every issue through the years was handle promptly and with none of the typical insurance company noise. I've also got homeowners, boat, term life, savings, checking, small mutual fund, and a soon to be paid off auto (actually truck) loan. I've had people offer me better rates, they claimed, through the years, but I didn't even shop it. USAA's customer service is second to none, and that's become a really big issue with me lately. I suppose I sound like a USAA insurance salesman. Oh, I forgot. I now have DD daughter doing some of her banking with USAA now also.
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