Who qualifies for USAA insurance?

Primarily active-duty military personnel and veterans qualify for USAA membership, and so do select members of their families. In order to qualify, you will have to provide documentation.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Mar 18, 2022

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Things to Know

  • Besides veterans, some governmental and USAA employees may qualify for USAA insurance
  • Current members cannot pass on membership to parents, siblings, or anyone outside their immediate family
  • USAA membership gives one access to discounts on auto insurance and with other companies

It is common knowledge that the United Services Automobile Association caters to military members, but who qualifies for USAA insurance besides veterans? Also, how has USAA membership evolved since the company’s inception?

Today, USAA is open to active-duty and retired members of at least seven branches of the United States military, plus members of their immediate families. But are there any exceptions, and how does one prove their eligibility for USAA insurance?

Below we offer a breakdown of the USAA insurance eligibility requirements, including the types of information and documents you need to share with the company. Also, we will discuss some of the perks of USAA membership.

Who is eligible for USAA insurance?

Here are the groups of people who are eligible for USAA Membership:

  • Active-duty military personnel. Anyone serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, National Guard, and Reserves can join USAA.
  • Former military. Anyone who retired from the U.S. military or received an honorable discharge can become a member.
  • Pre-commissioned officers. Cadets and midshipmen are eligible for membership if they attend an academy in the United States. Anyone in an advanced ROTC program or on an ROTC scholarship can join. Officer candidates within 24 months of their commissioning can join, too.
  • USAA employees. Yes, USAA employees can also join, regardless of their military status. USAA employs civilians, too.
  • Governmental employees in some agencies. That includes members of the State Department, Foreign Office, and FBI employees.
  • USAA members’ immediate families. USAA members can pass their membership onto their spouses, adult children, stepchildren, widows, and widowers. Ex-spouses can retain USAA membership if they do not remarry.

The grandchildren of USAA members may join if their parents were also members. Also, children of deceased members can join, but the parents had to be USAA members during their lifetimes.

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How Has USAA Eligibility Expanded Over the Past Century?

Since its founding in 1922, USAA has always served active members of the U.S. Army. But how did it expand its membership ranks to more than 13 million customers? Here is a short timeline.

USAA Membership Requirement Expansion from 1922-2009
YearChange in Membership Requirements
192225 Army officers formed the United Services Automobile Association in San Antonio, Texas, to insure each other’s cars. They were considered too high-risk for regular car insurance companies.
1923USAA extends membership eligibility to Marine Corp and Navy officers.
1934Foreign Service officers, State Department officials, and widows could become USAA members.
1948Air Force officers became eligible to join the USAA.
1961Military officers could keep their membership after resigning their commission or leaving the service.
1996USAA extends eligibility to enlisted personnel.
2008USAA expands eligibility to all military retirees, their spouses, and children.
2009USSA includes all active military personnel, those who receive honorable discharges, plus their immediate families among those eligible to become members.
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Additionally, USAA changed its policy regarding property insurance. Before November 2016, one had to establish USAA membership by purchasing an auto or property insurance policy. Nowadays, eligible policyholders can call USAA or sign up online and receive a member number.

Who is not eligible for USAA membership?

In short, anyone who is not a veteran, governmental employee, USAA employee, or has no past ties to USAA is ineligible to become a member. Also, current members cannot pass on membership to people who are not their spouses, stepchildren, or direct descendants.

Above, we shared that USAA members could pass on membership to their children, but that reverse is not true. Parents of USAA members are not eligible for membership if those parents were not in the military or the children of past USAA members.

Adult siblings may not pass on USAA membership, either.

In-laws are also ineligible, as are unmarried partners of USAA members.

It is unclear whether relatives in USAA members’ extended families may also be eligible in some circumstances. For example, could nieces and nephews become members if a USAA member is their legal guardian? Also, what about cousins if an older cousin is a member and their legal guardian?

Outside of these circumstances, current members cannot pass on membership to their extended family.

How can one who qualifies for USAA insurance prove their eligibility?

You can prove your eligibility for USAA insurance by providing pertinent documents and information.

For Members of the Military

If you are active duty, in the National Guard, or part of the reserves, you need to disclose the following:

  • Your branch of service
  • Your rank
  • The date you entered the service

If you are a veteran, you will need to disclose the following:

  • The military branch in which you served
  • Your rank
  • Relevant dates (when your service started and when it ended)

Pre-commissioned officers need to prove their branch of service and disclose how they received their commissioning. For example, if a cadet was in an ROTC program, they must indicate that. Also, the pre-commissioned officer needs to disclose the date of their commissioning.

Veterans may have documentation to prove that they separated from the military or received honorable discharges:

  • Active-duty members may receive a DD Form 214.
  • Departing National Guard or Air National Guard members may receive an NGB Form 22.
  • Reservists who separate from the service may receive a DD Form 256.

To retrieve your records, you can contact the National Personnel Records Center (part of the National Archives) at 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, Missouri 63138. You can call the center at 314-801-0800 or fax at 314-801-9195.

Also, you will need to provide an I.D. (most likely a military I.D.) and your social security number for USAA membership.

For Eligible Family Members

What do eligible family members need to provide? Spouses of active members or veterans who already have USAA insurance need to provide their spouse’s Social Security number. Former spouses, widows, widowers, and grown children only need a member’s USAA number.

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Are you eligible for USAA insurance?

If you are eligible for USAA insurance, it’s because you meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • You are an active-duty member in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Navy.
  • You are in the National Guard or the National Reserves.
  • You’re married to a USAA member.
  • You’re a former spouse of a USAA member and haven’t remarried.
  • You are a deceased USAA member’s widow or widower.
  • A current USAA member is your parent.
  • You work for a specific U.S. governmental agency.

But is USAA insurance right for you? Specifically, is USAA car insurance your best option? Here are some of the perks of purchasing USAA car insurance:

  • USAA offers loyalty discounts of up to 10% for members whose parents were also members.
  • If you are on active duty and need to store your vehicle, USAA offers a discount for that.
  • You can save on certain purchases because USAA partners with many companies across the country.
  • You can even do your banking with USAA.

We hope that this look at who qualifies for USAA insurance was informative. To learn more about this insurance company, read our USAA car insurance review. Also, take the time to compare coverages from multiple car insurance companies and get car insurance quotes to compare prices before buying your policy.

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