Posted by: abbiewatters | November 1, 2011

In Praise of USAA

We are 45-year members of USAA, a mutual insurance company that was started by military officers because it was often difficult for them to buy cost-effective automobile insurance. USAA has since branched out into investments and banking, but it is still owned by the members and the board of directors (who we elect) are all retired military officers. When I began to take seriously the calls by the Occupy movement to take my money from the big Wall Street banks, I immediately thought of USAA.

We have had their auto insurance for over 45 years. It’s almost funny when I get sales calls from other insurance companies, and tell them our current insurance is with USAA. They can’t hang up the phone fast enough. We haven’t had many claims – a couple of fender benders – but I have totalled three cars in the 45 years. There’s never been a question about raising my rates. In one case, it was totally not my fault – I was hit on the interstate. In another case, the car was totalled by one of our patented Texas hail storms. But in the third case, it was at least half my fault. In every case, their first concern was whether I was all right, and then they set about getting me an appointment with a repair shop, and seeing that I had a rental car available.

Our mortgage is with them, as well as our household insurance. We had a nightmare of a time with a previous mortgage company – the mortgage started out with our bank (one of the predecessors of Bank of America), and then it was sold several times. Every time the note was sold, it seemed like, payments got lost in the mail, and I spent hours and days trying to track it down. This time, I got the mortgage through USAA, and they are still holding it, after two refinancings with lower rates, and 11 years.

We have a line of credit and a credit card with them that both have a much lower rate than we had on our card with Bank of America, even with stellar credit rating and perfect repayment history.

We also have an UTMA for each of the grandchildren under their charge. Their mutual funds might not have wonderful performance ratings from Morningstar, but they are solvent and earning money with minimal risk. After the horror stories I’ve heard (and experienced in my own IRA) the fact that these funds are solvent is a big plus. And I trust the USAA managers to keep them that way. They certainly are low on individual risk, suffering only from general market risk, as far as I can tell.

In October, I finally got a checking account and a savings account there. I have made all the calls, and sent all the letters and e-mails to get my allotments and automatic withdrawals moved to them. As of the first of December, when I’m sure that everything is in effect, I will no longer have any dealings with Bank of America.

Their motto is “We know what it means to serve,” and USAA absolutely wrote the book on customer service, in all my dealings with them.



  1. Abbie I just read this….and we can second all the good stuff you say about USAA!!! We have been with them ever since our first car, back in 1953!!!
    Just thought you;d like to know!
    Ann (AOG!)


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