Best Military Car Insurance for Veterans and Families

USAA is typically the cheapest company for military and veterans, but it's not the only good option.

Kayda NormanMay 13, 2021
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Key takeaways

If you’re a veteran or active member of the military, you and your family might be eligible for some of the best car insurance rates around.

USAA offers auto insurance exclusively for veterans, active-duty military and their families. Others provide special discounts and services for members of the military.

And in Louisiana, auto insurers are required to offer a 25% military car insurance discount to full-time active military. This discount applies to liability insurance, which pays for damage you cause in an at-fault accident. If you’re deployed outside the state, you must be single or your family must live in Louisiana to qualify. Rates vary by company.

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The best car insurance for veterans and military members

Of the companies that provide military discounts on car insurance or offer special perks to service members, none approach it the same way. Taking into account customer satisfaction, consumer complaints, overall NerdWallet ratings, discount details and what we know about pricing, here are our top picks for military car insurance.

USAA: Cheapest car insurance for veterans and military

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Discount details: Members receive 15% off comprehensive coverage for a vehicle parked in a garage on a military base in most states. This discount is slightly different in California, with drivers receiving a 5% discount off comprehensive and collision insurance when they garage a car on base. If you aren’t driving your car and store it at least 30 consecutive days in a secure location, you’ll receive up to a 60% discount on auto insurance. This benefit can help military members on deployment, but it’s not available in Hawaii, North Carolina or Virginia.

If you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance for military and veterans, USAA is a good place to start. It has the cheapest rates on average among the military car insurers we have rates for (see below).

USAA is the only major insurance company that caters exclusively to former and current service members and their families including:

  • Those currently enlisted in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard and Reserves.

  • Retired or honorably discharged military members.

  • Those in U.S. service academies, in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship, plus officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning.

  • Family, including widows, widowers and unremarried former spouses who had USAA insurance while married; also children whose parents have or had USAA insurance.

Because it’s not available to all consumers, NerdWallet doesn’t rank USAA in its best car insurance companies. However, it has fewer consumer complaints than expected, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and high customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports. Both of these data points are factors in our star ratings. If it were eligible, it would rank in the top five, and its car insurance is probably the closest you’ll come to having something called a "military car insurance policy."

Geico: Best military car insurance discount

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Discount details: Geico offers up to a 15% auto insurance discount for retired or active duty military, National Guard members, those enlisted in the Reserves and members of military professional organizations like the Navy Federal Credit Union. It also offers up to a 25% emergency deployment discount, with some limitations, to military members who:

  • Are deployed to “imminent danger pay areas” defined by the Defense Department.

  • Store their cars according to an approved storage protection plan.

Geico also received fewer consumer complaints than other insurers its size for auto insurance, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Rates are very personal. You may get a cheaper price from Geico when the military discount is factored in because it applies all the time and not just when deployed or living on a base. You would have to get car insurance quotes from insurers to know for sure.

Arbella: Best deployment discount from a small company

NerdWallet rating: Not rated.

Discount details: Arbella’s 10% discount is available to Massachusetts customers deployed on active duty at least 100 miles from their car.

Although Arbella is too small to be rated by NerdWallet at this time, it ranked No. 6 out of 13 among other New England insurers in J.D. Power’s 2020 Auto Insurance Study for customer satisfaction. It had fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators relative to its size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Armed Forces Insurance: Best military car insurance agency

NerdWallet rating: Not rated.

Discount details: While there are no specific discounts listed online, Armed Forces Insurance is an agency, so it can give you quotes from multiple insurers within its network.

Like USAA, Armed Forces Insurance provides auto insurance for veterans, active-duty personnel and their families. However, it expands coverage beyond the military and includes active or retired Department of Defense employees.

Military car insurance rates

USAA has the cheapest car insurance for veterans and military members on average, according to our 2021 rates analysis. These rates are for full coverage insurance, which includes liability, comprehensive, collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist protection and any additional state-mandated coverage. Although Liberty Mutual and Armed Forces Insurance offer military car insurance, they aren't included in our analysis because they don't provide rate data.

Geico (like nearly all companies) was more expensive than USAA in our annual nationwide analysis of car insurance full coverage rates. However, it has the cheapest minimum car insurance rates from the insurers catering to military members, including USAA.

Here are the average annual rates for state-mandated coverage from companies offering military car insurance or a military discount:

Military insurance company

Full coverage

Minimum coverage

Arbella

$1,253

$459

$1,830

$656

$1,268

$380

$1,169

$419

Who offers military car insurance discounts

Company

Military discount details

USAA

Up to 60% when storing a vehicle you won’t be driving for at least 30 days (except HI, NC and VA) and up to 15% off comprehensive when garaging on base in most states. California drivers receive a 5% discount on comprehensive and collision when garaging on base.

Geico

Up to 15% nationwide. Eligibility varies by state.

Arbella

10% in Massachusetts only.

Farmers

Varies from 2% to 5%, depending on the state. Not all states are eligible.

Liberty Mutual

Amount varies by state and policy. Not all states are eligible.

How to save on car insurance for veterans and military personnel 

Even with a military discount, car insurance can get expensive. Here are a few ways veterans and active military members can lower their auto insurance bill:

Talk to your insurer about your options during deployment. Car insurance companies that market to service members are aware of the special circumstances those customers might face, such as an overseas deployment, which might necessitate storing a vehicle and suspending or reducing coverage.

If you’re facing a military deployment, consider factors such as your location, car insurance provider and the length of time you’ll be away. You may be tempted to cancel your policy, but having a lapse in car insurance coverage, even while on military deployment, can result in higher premiums and being labeled a high-risk driver. That’s why suspending or reducing car insurance is generally the better choice.

Check with your agent or insurance company to determine the best strategy. USAA and Geico, for example, provide financial guides and checklists for service members facing deployment.

Shop around. If you’re a veteran or active member of the military looking to find the cheapest price, it’s vital that you compare car insurance rates. Shop for the best deals and get quotes before deciding on the military car insurance policy that’s best for you.

Look for savings beyond a military discount. Don’t stop looking for savings just because you’re getting a military or veterans discount. You may qualify for other car insurance discounts simply for being a good driver or bundling home and auto insurance policies.

For example, USAA offers discounts if you’ve maintained a clean driving record for five years or if your vehicle is 3 years old or less. You might also qualify for more savings if you’re a good student, complete a defensive driving course or if you cover two or more vehicles with your policy.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, USAA is available to active military, veterans and their families only. Not sure if it’s the right fit for you? Our USAA car insurance review looks at the military insurance company’s coverage options, customer satisfaction ratings and complaint data.

USAA has the cheapest car insurance for veterans and their families on average, according to NerdWallet’s 2021 rates analysis. However, rates can vary drastically depending on location, credit history and car make and model. Always compare car insurance rates to find the cheapest company for you.

Not all auto insurers offer car insurance discounts for veterans, but several do. Geico and Liberty Mutual offer military car insurance discounts, while others like USAA focus specifically on auto insurance for veterans. If you aren’t sure, ask your agent.

Methodology

AUTO INSURANCE RATINGS

NerdWallet’s auto insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, consumer complaints, website transparency and affordability. Using our editorial discretion, we also consider customer satisfaction surveys. These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

AVERAGE RATES

NerdWallet averaged rates based on public filings obtained by pricing analytics company Quadrant Information Services. We examined rates for 40-year-old men and women for all ZIP codes in any of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Although it’s one of the largest insurers in the country, Liberty Mutual is not included in our rates analysis due to a lack of publicly available information.

In our analysis, “good drivers” had no moving violations on record; a “good driving” discount was included for this profile. Our “good” and “poor” credit rates are based on credit score approximations and do not account for proprietary scoring criteria used by insurance providers. These are average rates, and your rate will vary based on your personal details, state and insurance provider.

Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.

  • $300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash.

  • $50,000 property damage liability coverage per crash.

  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person.

  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash.

  • Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible.

  • Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible.

In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect only the minimum coverage required by law in the state.

  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit. In states where credit isn’t taken into account, we only used rates for “good” credit.

  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.

  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation.

We used a 2018 Toyota Camry LE in all cases and assumed 12,000 annual miles driven.