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Bottom line: Fewer complaints than expected and lots of policy options make USAA a good choice for many buyers, especially those on active duty.
Policies offered: Term, permanent & no-exam.
Financial strength: Exceptional.
Complaints: Fewer than expected.
Buy online? No.
How we review life insurance companies
USAA's products are designed specifically for active military members, veterans and their families, but the company's life insurance policies are available to everyone. Most term and whole life policies are available nationwide. The company's universal life is not available in New York, and its guaranteed issue policy is not available in Connecticut or Montana.
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USAA life insurance
USAA life insurance earned 4.5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account consumer experience, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.
Based on these ratings, USAA is among NerdWallet’s Best Life Insurance Companies.
USAA life insurance pros and cons
Fewer life insurance complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size.
Some policies not available in Connecticut, New York or Montana.
Some policies include free perks, such as a $25,000 severe injury payment.
Option to add coverage after a major life event.
USAA life insurance policies
USAA offers both term and whole life policies. Most policies require a health questionnaire and medical exam before approval.
Term life insurance
Level term life insurance policies are available for lengths of 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years for coverage limits of $100,000 to $10 million. Depending on the state, you may receive additional benefits, including:
Coverage while in war, which is often excluded from policies.
A $25,000 payment if you suffer a severe injury while on active duty, including paralysis, loss of vision or severe burns.
Guaranteed coverage after leaving the military.
An option to add $100,000 in coverage if you have a baby, get married or buy a house between the ages of 18 and 35.
The option to convert to a permanent policy.
The option to replace your servicemembers’ group life insurance (SGLI) with a USAA term life policy if you leave the military.
USAA also offers term life insurance without a medical exam, called Essential Term Life Insurance. The policy is a type of annual renewable life insurance, which means you can renew it every year, but your premiums typically increase when you do. Coverage is available to consumers ages 21 to 35, and lasts until age 39. Although the policy does not require a medical exam, you may have to answer a few health-related questions to apply. Essential Term Life Insurance includes $100,000 of coverage and is not available in Arizona, Florida or New York.
Permanent life insurance
Simplified whole life insurance policies are available for coverage limits up to $10 million. You have the option to make payments for 20 years, until age 65 or for the full duration of the policy. You can also increase coverage after certain life events, up to a total of six times, with a free life event option rider.
Universal life insurance policies come with flexible payment options and with a guaranteed interest rate of 2%. Universal life policies are not available in New York.
Guaranteed Issue life insurance policies are available to applicants 45 to 85 (50-75 in New York) in all states except Connecticut and Montana. These policies are issued by Mutual of Omaha and do not require a medical exam or health questionnaire to qualify for coverage. Face amounts range from $2,000 to $25,000. Often called final expenses life insurance, these small policies can help cover burial or funeral costs.
Depending on your state, USAA may offer additional life insurance riders, including:
Child protection plan, which allows you to add all of your kids to your policy. Your children may have the option to convert it to their own policies when they’re older, regardless of their health.
Waiver of premium benefit, which waives your premium should you become disabled.
» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes
Customer complaints for USAA
Over three years, USAA has drawn fewer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size for life insurance, according to a NerdWallet analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
More about USAA
You can get a quote and apply for a life insurance policy, plus pay your bill and manage your account, from the USAA website and iPhone and Android mobile apps. USAA also has a survivors relations team that can assist families of deceased USAA members, including help with any survivor benefits.
Other USAA insurance products include:
Classic car insurance.
Mobile home insurance.
Motorcycle and ATV insurance.
Rental property insurance.
Life insurance buying guide
Before you start comparing companies, choose the type of life insurance you want, such as term or whole life. Decide which life insurance riders, if any, you want the policy to include. Calculate how much life insurance you need and how long you want the coverage to last. Check that the insurers you’re considering offer the coverage you’re looking for.
When comparing rates, be sure the quotes are for the same amount of coverage over the same period of time. It’s also important to make sure the policy’s medical requirements match your needs. For example, if you want to skip the life insurance medical exam but don’t mind answering health questions, confirm that the application process for each policy you're comparing aligns with that.
Price may not be the biggest driver behind your decision to buy. Look at the number of consumer complaints each company receives, as high numbers can be a red flag about the quality of service.
For more guidance, see our life insurance buying guide.
Life insurance ratings methodology
NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on consumer experience, complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. Within the consumer experience category, we consider ease of communication and website transparency, which looks at the depth of policy details available online. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale.
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.
Insurer complaints methodology
NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2018-2020. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.