Active duty military members and veterans have unique insurance needs, as they may not always be using their vehicle. The best car insurance companies for military members, veterans and their families provide coverages that fit those needs along with cheap rates and great customer service.
Table of Contents
- The best car insurance companies for current and former military
- The cheapest car insurance companies for current and former military
- Companies with military discounts
- How car insurance for military members and veterans is different
- What to consider if you’re storing a car during deployment
- How current and former military members can save on car insurance
MoneyGeek found that USAA and GEICO offer the cheapest car insurance rates with the best coverage for military members and veterans.
Some companies offer specialized discounts or coverages for military members, including deployment and car storage discounts.
If you’re planning to store your car while deployed, review your coverages to ensure you're paying for appropriate protection while you’re not using your vehicle.
The 3 Best Car Insurance Companies for Military Members and Veterans
Current military members and veterans have unique insurance needs compared to civilians. The best car insurance companies for them offer specialized coverage, affordable rates and strong customer service.
Using these criteria, MoneyGeek found that three car insurance companies stand out above all others:
- USAA: The gold standard for car insurance. It has cheap rates, a great customer service reputation and coverages that cater to active or former service members' needs.
- GEICO: GEICO has a military discount, making its cheap rates even more affordable for military members. It also has a dedicated military service team staffed with veterans.
- Esurance: Good for military members who may be called into active duty, as it gives them the option to cancel car insurance without penalty.
If you’re just looking for the most affordable company, jump to our section on the cheapest car insurance for military and veterans.
USAA has the cheapest car insurance rates for active military and veterans and has been serving this demographic since 1922. They only offer insurance to people who have a military affiliation, including:
- Active Duty, Guard, Reserve
- Eligible Family
- Cadets and Midshipmen
USAA can be an excellent choice for a family policy as they offer affordable coverage for teens whose parents are active or retired military.
Why it’s the best: USAA car insurance members will get some of the cheapest car insurance in the market. It also has top-tier customer service, receiving a score of five out of five from MoneyGeek for customer satisfaction, based on J.D. Power Research.
Most importantly, USAA offers features that cater to service members: when you’re deployed, you can get a discount of up to 60% for storing your vehicle or, if you garage your vehicle on base, a discount of up to 15% on your comprehensive coverage.
Learn more in our USAA car insurance review.
GEICO has the second cheapest car insurance rates for veterans and active military members. They have a dedicated military phone number (1-800-MILITARY) for members to call so they can discuss their unique car insurance needs.
Why it’s the runner-up: On average, GEICO is not quite as cheap as USAA, but it’s close if you include the 15% military discount. There are also special military discounts for:
- Emergency deployment
- Membership of professional organizations and affiliations
GEICO has a strong customer service reputation but not quite as strong as USAA. It receives a MoneyGeek score of four out of five for customer satisfaction.
Learn more in our GEICO car insurance review.
Esurance doesn't offer a military discount, but they provide a benefit that can save active duty military members big on car insurance.
Why military members should consider Esurance: Esurance offers those who are called into active duty the option to cancel their car insurance while they’re away without penalty. They can then reinstate their insurance once they’re back and need to drive their car again. Most insurance companies will only offer you good rates if you’re continuously insured, so you would be penalized for canceling your policy while going on deployment.
There are some requirements that active-duty military members must meet to be eligible for this program. They must provide a letter on military stationery from the policyholder's commanding officer stating that the policyholder had been stationed overseas or the DD214 release paperwork. The service member has a 30-day period to obtain coverage once stateside. The policyholder must have previously been insured before being stationed overseas. The policyholder does not need to be previously insured with Esurance.
The downside of Esurance is that it’s not as cheap as USAA or GEICO; its rates are closer to the national average.
Learn more in our Esurance car insurance review.
Cheapest Car Insurance for Military and Veterans
MoneyGeek conducted a study comparing major insurance providers across the U.S. and found that USAA and GEICO offered the cheapest insurance for active military and veterans by far. USAA has the cheapest rates overall, with an average of $883 per year. When you include GEICO’s maximum military discount of 15%, its rates are a close second at $890 per year.
Average Annual Rate (After Military Discount)
Rates are for a sample driver. No other major insurers offer a dedicated military discount. However, they may offer discounts for certain military members in specific states. It’s also possible that you can find much cheaper rates for certain insurers through a combination of non-military discounts. The only way to know which insurer is cheapest for you is to get a real quote.
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Which Companies Offer Military Discounts?
Most car insurance companies offer military discounts for their members who are on active duty, in the reserves or a veteran.
Here are some of the discounts military personnel and veterans may be offered by some of the car insurance companies with the cheapest rates:
Military service, emergency deployment, and discounts related to membership in certain military affiliations and organizations.
How Is Car Insurance Different for Military Members and Veterans?
Car insurance policies for military members are generally the same as they are for everyone else. But certain car insurance companies offer distinct coverages or discounts to account for the fact that active-duty service members may use their personal vehicle less than most drivers.
For example, GEICO offers emergency deployment discounts for those service members deployed into imminent danger pay areas, as defined by the Department of Defense. So drivers who are deployed won’t have to pay as much when they aren’t using their car.
USAA goes even further. If you are deployed and store your vehicle away so that it can’t be driven, you can get a discount of up to 60%. This is particularly relevant for service members who don’t have family members who need to use their vehicle. If you decide to garage your vehicle on your military base, you can still save up to 15% on the comprehensive insurance portion of your policy.
What to Consider If You Are Storing a Car During Deployment
If you’re planning on storing your car away while deployed, you should take advantage of all available discounts offered by your insurer. But you should also hold as little coverage as you need to keep your car safe while lowering your monthly bill. For instance, you can opt for liability-only car insurance, by removing comprehensive and collision coverage. You can even get rid of liability insurance if you’re willing to register your car again after returning from deployment.
Determining the right car insurance coverage and needs before you’re deployed will ensure you get the cheapest coverage with the best rates.
- Insurance OptionDescription
- Liability InsuranceYour state legally requires this. If you want maximum savings, it might make sense to forego this protection. To suspend it, you’ll have to store your car so nobody else can drive it. But if you do suspend liability insurance, you will have to register your car again when you return from deployment. If you don’t suspend liability insurance, you can still lower your coverage to only meet state required minimums to get maximum savings.
- Comprehensive and Collision InsuranceThese coverages protect you against the cost of damage to your car from incidents on and off the road. It makes sense to maintain comprehensive coverage since it will protect you against the cost of unlikely damages to your car while it’s in storage. But if you won’t be using your car, it could make sense to drop collision insurance. However, if you financed your car purchase or if you’re leasing your car, your lender may not let you drop this coverage.
How Active Military and Veterans Can Save Money on Car Insurance
Active military and veterans can save money when getting car insurance in several ways. Here are the steps to take to get the cheapest car insurance with one of the best auto insurance companies.
Shop for Quotes
To get the cheapest car insurance rates, you should compare at least three quotes from different auto insurance companies. Get the same coverage limits and deductibles so you can compare apples to apples with what you have now.
Ask About Discounts
Ask about any discounts for which you may be eligible to get the cheapest rates with the best car insurance company. As a military member or veteran, you may qualify for special discounts.
Insure More With One Company
Another significant discount you may be eligible for is the multi-policy discount. If you insure your home and auto with the same discount, you can save up to 25%. Some insurance companies refer to this as a "bundling" discount.
Along with homeowners insurance, other policies you can consider for discounts include:
- Life Insurance
- Motorcycle Insurance
- RV Insurance
- Boat Insurance
Review Your Coverages
Life events should trigger a coverage review for your auto insurance. You may have gotten married, had a baby or moved to another state. Maybe you paid off your car or bought a new one and need affordable full coverage protection. These changes can impact your car insurance needs, so it’s best to review your coverages and discounts to know you’re getting the cheapest rates.
Use a Checklist
As you’re collecting quotes to find the best car insurance for your needs, use a checklist that lists all your insurance requirements and be sure to use the same criteria for each company’s quotes you check. Using a checklist can also help ensure that you get all the discounts for which you’re eligible.
Pay in Full
While some insurers offer a no down payment car insurance to avail the lowest upfront payment, you can ultimately save by paying for your policy upfront and in full.
Compare Auto Insurance Rates
Ensure you are getting the best rate for your car insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.
About Mandy Sleight, Licensed Insurance Agent
- GEICO. "Military FAQ." Accessed August 13, 2020.
- GEICO. "Military Discounts." Accessed August 13, 2020.
- Kaiser Family Foundation. "2019 Employer Health Benefits Survey." Accessed January 16, 2020.
- USAA. "Auto Insurance." Accessed August 13, 2020.