USAA Life Insurance Review


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Edited byKathryn Schroeder
Edited byKathryn Schroeder

Updated: May 22, 2024

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MoneyGeek’s Take: Is USAA Right for You?

Most of USAA’s insurance offerings are limited to military-affiliated individuals, but its life insurance products are available to any U.S. citizen or permanent resident. USAA offers term, whole and universal life insurance that is customizable by purchasing additional riders with your policy. These policies are ideal for middle-aged to elderly individuals who are looking for a wide range of coverage amounts. Some plans have benefits that cater specifically to military personnel who are on active duty. USAA also offers policies that don't require a medical exam and provide guaranteed acceptance.

If you are not military affiliated, we recommend looking for another life insurance provider if you prefer to bundle your life insurance policy with your auto or homeowners policies to take advantage of discounts or wish to purchase a policy online. For alternative options, go over our recommendations for the best life insurance companies and the best online life insurance providers.

Read our USAA Life Insurance review, where we discuss the most important details about the company and its products and services. We’ll help you sift through the information to help you decide whether it best fits your needs.

At a Glance: USAA Life Insurance

USAA

pros

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Offers several life insurance policy options, even to buyers with no military connection

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Has plans that don't require a medical exam

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Offers plans that have benefits for active-duty military

cons

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Doesn’t offer final expense insurance

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Limited riders

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Availability of coverages, riders and benefits vary by state

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

USAA was established in 1922 and has since become one of the largest providers of insurance, investment, retirement and banking products and services in the country. USAA’s life insurance products are available to any U.S. citizen or permanent resident. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), USAA has a complaint index of 0.20, which means it receives fewer complaints than average.

USAA offers term life, whole life and universal life insurance.

Here’s a quick summary of its term life insurance policies:

  • Level Term Life Insurance: Provides coverage for 10 to 30 years, at amounts ranging from $100,000 to $10 million, to qualified buyers between 18 and 70 years old.
  • Essential Term Life Insurance: For people between 21 and 35. Coverage starts from the date of purchase until age 39. The coverage amount is pegged at $100,000, but it doesn’t require a medical exam, and the cost starts at $5 monthly with annual increases.

These are USAA’s whole life insurance offerings:

  • Simplified Whole Life Insurance: Provides coverage to individuals between the ages of 15 days and 85 years old, from $25,000 to $10 million, lasting until age 121. You’ll have to answer a health survey and pass a medical exam.
  • Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance: This won’t require you to answer a health questionnaire or to go through a medical exam. Coverage lasts until age 120 at amounts ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 (from $5,000 in Washington).

Universal life Insurance from USAA provides lifelong coverage that is adjustable. It is available to anyone aged 20 to 90, with a coverage minimum of $50,000. A health questionnaire and medical exam are requirements for the policy.

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Key Takeaways

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USAA offers several policy options for term life, whole life and universal life insurance.

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USAA’s term life insurance gives the most coverage at the lowest cost compared to other types, but it doesn’t accumulate cash value.

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USAA’s whole life and universal life insurance policies provide lifetime coverage, and your policy may earn tax-deferred cash value that you can access through loans or partial withdrawals.

USAA Policy Options Explained

The 2022 Insurance Barometer Study conducted by the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA) found that 68% of U.S. adults with financial dependents feel more secure after owning life insurance. The pandemic has also caused a massive shift in insurance purchase intent, with 31% of Americans saying they are more likely to buy life insurance. USAA offers a wide range of life insurance products that can help take care of your loved ones’ financial needs. Learn more about each type of policy to help inform your purchase.

Term Life Insurance Options From USAA

Term life insurance typically gives the most coverage at the lowest cost compared to other types. If you choose a term policy, you’ll have to pay a fixed monthly premium for a specified amount of time, which is anywhere from 10 to 30 years for the initial term.

USAA offers two types of term life insurance: Level Term and Essential Term.

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    Level Term Life Insurance

    This policy offers coverage for 10 to 30 years, at amounts from $100,000 to $10 million, to anyone aged 18 to 70. The policy costs a minimum of $12 per month, which is fixed until the end of your term period. With Level Term life insurance, military-affiliated policyholders receive additional benefits while on active duty. For instance, a Level Term V life insurance policy gives you coverage during war, up to $25,000 to cover expenses following a severe injury and guaranteed coverage after military retirement.

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    Essential Term Life Insurance

    This caters to younger military personnel and others aged 21 to 35, providing coverage from purchase until age 39 at a fixed amount of $100,000 until the policy expires (when you reach your 39th birthday). It doesn’t require a medical exam and has a starting cost of $5 monthly, with premium increases on each annual renewal.

Term life insurance is best suited for those who are still young, have no health issues and have considerable financial responsibilities, like children and mortgages.

Whole Life Insurance Options From USAA

Whole life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance that provides lifetime coverage at a fixed premium, even if your health changes as you age. As an added benefit, your policy may earn tax-deferred cash value that you can borrow from to pay your premium, spend on health care or fund your retirement.

USAA offers two types of whole life insurance policies. These are simplified whole life and guaranteed issue whole life insurance.

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    Simplified Whole Life Insurance

    This policy type provides coverage from $25,000 to $10 million, lasting until age 121, and is available to individuals aged 15 days to 85 years. Payments are fixed but are usually more expensive, and you’ll have to answer a health survey and pass a medical exam.

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    Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance

    Underwritten by Mutual of Omaha, this is the ideal option for policy buyers aged 45 to 85 years (50 to 75 in New York) who prefer the convenience of not having to answer a health questionnaire or go through a medical check. Coverage lasts until age 120 at amounts ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 (from $5,000 in Washington). Since it doesn’t require underwriting, your application won’t be turned down. The trade-off is this tends to be the most expensive type of policy per $1,000 of coverage.

Whole life insurance is a great option if you’re looking for lifetime coverage without worrying that your premium will change as you age. This is best for individuals with financial dependents who want to take advantage of the policy’s accumulated cash value or are planning for end-of-life expenses.

Universal Life Insurance Options From USAA

Universal life insurance is your best bet if you want lifetime protection, to accumulate cash value on your policy and the flexibility of the timing and amount of your premium. You can choose to make payments while you’re enjoying the peak of your income or spread out your payments over the life of your policy to make them more manageable.

USAA has teamed up with John Hancock to provide universal life insurance, which is its most affordable policy type per $1,000 coverage.

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    Universal Life Insurance

    This is perfectly suited for policy buyers between the ages of 20 and 90 years old who want the freedom to adjust their coverage and premium. The coverage amount is at least $50,000, and protection may be extended beyond your 121st birthday. It also is the most cost-effective option, being the cheapest type of policy per $1,000 coverage.

A universal life insurance policy is best for those who want lifetime protection with an adjustable coverage and flexible payment options alongside cash value growth.

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USAA’s Life Insurance Riders

You can customize your USAA life insurance policy by purchasing one or more of the following riders on top of your policy:

Rider
Description

Term Life Event Option Rider

At an additional premium, this rider gives you a one-time chance to buy additional
term life insurance of up to either the face amount of your base policy or $100,000
(whichever is less) if you experience a qualified Life Event like getting married, having
a baby or buying a home. The rider only lasts 10 years or when the insured reaches
45 years of age (whichever comes first).

Term Life Insurance for Children Rider

This allows you to insure your children on your policy. You have the option to convert
their coverage to their own lifetime policy, but make sure to do this before they turn 26.

Military Severe Injury Benefit Rider

You’ll receive $25,000 to cover expenses related to injuries while on military duty, such
as dismemberment, loss of limb function/paralysis, blindness and severe burns. Note
that this isn’t available in New York.

Military Future Insurability Rider

As an add-on to your policy, this rider gives you the option to increase your coverage
upon separation from the military.

Life Event Option (LEO) Rider

With this rider, you can request additional whole life insurance for a maximum of six
times after a major life event like marriage or the birth of a child. Total coverage is
capped at $1 million, and the rider expires once you hit 45.

How to Get USAA Life Insurance

Here are the basic steps in purchasing life insurance from USAA and what to do if you’re denied coverage.

How to Buy Life Insurance From USAA

1
Do Your Research

Check how much life insurance you need and learn about the policies that are available to you. Visit USAA’s website to get a quote, or call 800-531-LIFE (5433), Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Central Time), to speak with an agent who can help draft a sensible policy for you.

2
Compare Quotes

Different insurance carriers may offer plans that are a better match for your age, gender, medical history, smoking status, lifestyle and overall health. Knowing your options could help you get the coverage you need at the best possible price.

3
Health Check

Most plans will require you to answer a health questionnaire and undergo a medical exam. The information that you provide will be used by an underwriter to give you a thorough risk assessment. Your policy application could be accepted depending on the results.

4
Approval

USAA will send you a copy of the proposed life insurance policy as soon as it approves your application. Make sure to connect with your agent to discuss the details of your policy before finalizing your insurance purchase.

What to Do if USAA Insurance Denies You Coverage

1
Contact Your Broker

Reach out to your broker to inquire why you were denied coverage. Take note of the carrier’s stated reasons to understand the weak spots in your application, which you can start working on.

2
Lifestyle Changes

Consider making lifestyle adjustments to improve your overall health. This could help boost your odds of getting your application approved, and you’ll also qualify for a lower premium.

3
Explore Other Options

If you keep getting denied due to health issues, explore other insurance products that you could easily qualify for that don't require a medical exam. One example is USAA’s Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance, which gives coverage from $2,000 to $25,000 (from $5,000 in Washington) until age 120. The trade-off with this type of policy is it’s usually more expensive and only offers limited coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions About USAA Life Insurance

MoneyGeek answered the most common questions that buyers have when considering USAA as their life insurance provider.

Can you borrow from your USAA life insurance policy?
What’s the maximum amount of life insurance coverage available from USAA?
Do life insurance policies from USAA pay dividends?
Can you get life insurance from USAA if you have cancer?
Do life insurance policies from USAA cover death by drug overdose?
Do life insurance policies from USAA cover death by suicide?
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