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USAA Expands Membership to all honorably discharged vets
Old 11-05-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
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USAA Expands Membership to all honorably discharged vets

USAA Opens Membership to All Veterans Who Honorably Served | Reuters

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More than 18 million U.S. military veterans and their 17 million family members
who are looking for competitive alternatives to their current insurance, banking
and investment providers now can take advantage of USAA and its 87-year record
of strength, stability and performance in service to the military community.

Citing steady growth in financial strength and operational capacity, USAA
announced that effective immediately, membership now is open to all veterans of
the U.S. Armed Forces who served honorably, regardless of years of service.

The change expands USAA`s potential customer by an estimated 35 million,
including 18 million veterans, and 17 million spouses and children who also
would be able to access USAA services after their veteran relative becomes a
member.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:33 PM   #2
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Gee, I wonder why the sudden welcome to all ex military. I am just suspicious of newly expressed generosity.

For many years now my carrier of choice is Erie. I dumped Allstate with which I had insured for 20 years, when I moved to Maryland from NY and they nearly doubled the premiums on the same vehicles. When asked the reason the Allstate agent said: welcome to Maryland, to which I answered, good bye Allstate.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:41 PM   #3
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Gee, I wonder why the sudden welcome to all ex military. I am just suspicious of newly expressed generosity.
This is another phase of an expansion plan that has been in the works for several years.

USAA was originally open only to commissioned officers of the US military. As the size of the military ranks declined over the years since the end of the Cold War, USAA realized they had to expand their client pool or face some severe growth problems.

If I recall the order of things correctly, they opened up a few years ago to active duty and retired NCO's, but only those who retired after 1995. Now they have gone the next step and opened membership to all who served.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:42 PM   #4
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I dumped Allstate with which I had insured for 20 years, when I moved to Maryland from NY and they nearly doubled the premiums on the same vehicles. When asked the reason the Allstate agent said: welcome to Maryland, to which I answered, good bye Allstate.
When I first moved to Texas, I had to do that to State Farm because they weren't writing homeowners at the time, and because of that I also lost the multi-line discount on my auto insurance. Since they yanked the discount from me through no fault of my own (other than moving), I gave them the boot.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:46 PM   #5
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Hear, hear. Ah loves voting with my money.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:08 PM   #6
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Gee, I wonder why the sudden welcome to all ex military. I am just suspicious of newly expressed generosity.
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Hear, hear. Ah loves voting with my money.
'Cuz their customers are all dying of old age... NFCU and PenFed have been going the same route over the last couple decades.

The height of USAA's membership restrictions coincided with the 1980s "600-ship Navy". Today the real number is more like 315 and there's a fierce struggle to keep an 11th aircraft carrier. Not only that, but today's ships are so much more automated that some can be run with as few as 60-70% of the former crew size. Or at least until the battle damage starts accumulating.

"GEICO" originally stood for "Government Employees Insurance Co.", but they probably dropped that at least a generation ago.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:46 PM   #7
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Any comments on why this is a good thing. I know of USAA, but am not familiar with the benefits.
Thank you.
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:28 AM   #8
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Any comments on why this is a good thing. I know of USAA, but am not familiar with the benefits.
Thank you.
USAA's premiums tend to be consistently lower (in some cases a LOT lower) and their claims service consistently better than the competition.

When our teen passed her license exam, I called USAA for the inevitable premium-tripling hit that I'd been dreading for my previous six months in the passenger's seat of doom. They could've gleefully charged me what I was expecting to get and I never would've questioned them. Instead they said that since we already had two adult drivers in the house, and only had two cars, that they'd classify our daughter as an "occasional driver". No change in premiums.

Even with my 15% Berkshire discount, GEICO's rates can't hold a candle to USAA. From what I've heard from shipmates about GEICO claims, their service can't either.

So if you're not a member then USAA is a great savings/service deal. For current members, guys like you can give us a wider (and presumably younger) client base among which to spread a (hopefully) lower accident rate... and lower premiums.
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:46 AM   #9
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We have had all of our insurance policies and mortgages with USAA for more than a decade now. We recently started banking with them as well. We are very happy with USAA. Hopefully membership expansion won't have a negative impact on the quality of the service.
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:27 AM   #10
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I have to agree with FIREdeamer. I have been with USAA for 44 years and have never had a problem with them but then again I have only had one claim in those years.
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:09 AM   #11
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I've been with USAA since 1971. In 2007 our home was hit by lightning and the fire burned a huge skylight above our kitchen. Can't say enough good things regarding their claims service, both personal and financial support. Claims person was at the house within 24 hours of the fire, had a couple thousand $$ in temporary living expense money within 3 days. Took 5 months to get rebuilt etc and never a quibble with USAA.

And I live in Erie PA, home office of Erie Insurance. I haven't checked in several years, but everytime Consumer's Reports did a survey of insurance company's service, USAA and Erie were always in the top 5, sometimes 1 and 2.

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Old 11-06-2009, 12:20 PM   #12
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I've been with USAA over 40 yrs now and have had very few complaints. Their service is very good and their rates are usually very low.

In addition you receive a Subscriber Savings Account (SSA) refund every Dec. although it is not guaranteed based on past premiums paid and USAA's profitability. I am looking forward to an additional annual refund based on 40 year membership.

In short it's a good deal for those who have served.
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:47 PM   #13
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I joined USAA about a week ago and got their quote for our auto insurance. It was about 30% higher than State Farm. We have our home, umbrella, and extended-care policies with State Farm and get a multi-line discount, but still...

Also, we have a guaranteed renewal & no cancellation rider on the auto insurance that they added many years ago, no charge. USAA does not offer such a rider, they don't usually drop people for minor problems, but still...

I was disappointed.
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:52 PM   #14
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Also, we have a guaranteed renewal & no cancellation rider on the auto insurance that they added many years ago, no charge. USAA does not offer such a rider, they don't usually drop people for minor problems, but still...

I was disappointed.
Guaranteed renewal, no cancellation rider is a marketing ploy. IMO, unless you are one of those bad drivers who have multiple moving violations and DUIs there is no reason for an insurance company to cancel you. I have had car insurance for the past 42 years and have never been canceled, nor have I ever heard of anyone being canceled.

I have seen the ads on tv touting the no cancel benefit and just shake my head.

I hope you didn't pay extra for that rider.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:13 PM   #15
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USAA is a reputable company, but they are not always the best company to deal with for insurance, banking, investments and financial things. One must compare their services with other providers and not be lulled into the thinking they are always a good deal.

I've been a USAA member technically from birth. Though we now have USAA insurance, we didn't use them for a couple of decades because they were just too expensive compared to other vendors.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:21 PM   #16
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I have my auto, boat, unbrella, life, home owners, and some individual items thru USAA. I recently got a quote for GEICO and it seemed to be $200 a year cheaper for auto. But I do get the SSA distro, which would cut the difference to close to $100.

I may shop around for homeowners, as it seems expensive now thru USAA.
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:17 AM   #17
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Guaranteed renewal, no cancellation rider is a marketing ploy. IMO, unless you are one of those bad drivers who have multiple moving violations and DUIs there is no reason for an insurance company to cancel you. I have had car insurance for the past 42 years and have never been canceled, nor have I ever heard of anyone being canceled.
...
The rider was/is free. They simply notified me one year that it had been added to my policy.

I never, ever, drive drunk or anything close to it. My driving record isn't bad. But since I have a Corvette and a heavy foot, the rider may be useful some day.

With their lower prices and no cancellation rider, State Farm is the best deal for us right now.
YMMV.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:34 PM   #18
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I have my auto, boat, unbrella, life, home owners, and some individual items thru USAA. I recently got a quote for GEICO and it seemed to be $200 a year cheaper for auto. But I do get the SSA distro, which would cut the difference to close to $100.

I may shop around for homeowners, as it seems expensive now thru USAA.
I called USAA for a auto insurance quote yesterday. Not even close to what I'm paying now. More than double. I didn't ask about homeowners.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:38 PM   #19
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Every insurer has somewhat different underwriting guidelines. As a result no insurer will always have the lowest rates, and in some cases, even the insurers typically known for lower rates may on occasion be very high.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:05 PM   #20
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I heard a radio ad for USAA today--I've never heard that before in our area. Maybe with the expanded eligibility demographics these broadcast advertisements make sense. It was an ad for their investment and banking products. Interestingly, they made no mention of any eligibility requirements.

I'm a little concerned. USAA has kept rates low in part by dealing with a selected sub-population. Lower claims history, and no doubt a slight but significantly different set of values and priorities than the general population. I think their service is excellent for the same reason--they can pick and choose their employees because there is some competition for the slots. That is partly because the population of customers is different and, I think, probably an easier-to-deal-with bunch. The more USAA opens up the aperature to include a population more like the general public, the more it will compromise the things that made the company different--and better--than other companies.

I'm not an elitist, but I'm a realist. If I got hit by another car and saw a DoD sticker on their windshield, even if I knew nothing else, I'd have a better felling about how things were likely to turn out--from the discussion we were about to have at the accident site to the final financial settlement.
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