Harry here. Today, RSG contributor Jon Knope takes a look at USAA’s rideshare insurance product and shares tips on becoming eligible and how much you can expect to pay for a policy.
There’s no shortage of rideshare insurance options these days, but over the next few months, we’re going to specifically highlight a few of the most popular ones. USAA (short for United Services Automobile Association) is an insurance and financial services company exclusively for current or former members of the military and their families. They offer auto insurance much cheaper than almost any other company – and they have a rideshare add-on available in many states.
Who’s Eligible for USAA?
The big caveat with USAA is the eligibility requirements, yet USAA is actually more accepting than you might think. Of course, if you’ve served in any branch of the military, you’re automatically qualified. This includes the National Guard and the Coast Guard.
If your parents or grandparents were USAA members, you’re likely qualified as well – even if you’re more than a generation apart. For example, let’s say your grandfather served in the military. That qualifies his children – your parent – for USAA membership. If your parent has joined USAA at some point in their lives, then that makes you the child of a USAA member – qualifying you for membership, too! (Note, however, that your qualifying family member needs to have joined USAA at some point in their lives to make you eligible – it’s their USAA membership which actually qualifies you, not their military service itself.) But before you assume you aren’t eligible, double-check with all of your family members to see if they’ve ever been members 🙂
Once you’ve been accepted into USAA, you’re in it for life – even if you don’t use USAA services for a long time. You may be eligible and not even know it; the family member who qualifies you doesn’t even have to be a blood relation. For example, one blogger reports that she was eligible thanks to her former father-in-law’s USAA membership, even though the marriage in question ended 15 years prior.
Long story short: If you have parents or grandparents who are current or former military, you’re probably eligible. It only takes 15 minutes or so to apply and find out – so if you think you might have a shot, it’s definitely worth doing.
Rideshare Insurance Through USAA
Although USAA is active in every state, they only offer their rideshare policy add-on in some states – but the list is growing. Currently, USAA offers their rideshare add-on in AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, MS, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NV, OH, OK, OR, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY.
USAA offers rideshare insurance as an add-on option to an existing USAA auto policy. Because of this setup, the total cost will be only slightly more than a regular policy – and USAA policies themselves are some of the most affordable policies anywhere, making it an extremely good deal.
One of our readers reported that USAA’s rideshare addendum cost them an extra $16 per month. For some drivers, it’s as low as $6. Another reader and Uber driver reported that her total 6-month cost to insure a 2015 Nissan Sentra through USAA came to just $385 – including the rideshare add-on. You’d be hard-pressed to find a cheaper policy anywhere.
USAA has a pretty good reputation as an insurer, and although their rideshare coverage isn’t the most thorough, it does offer what’s known as “gap coverage” or “period one coverage.” This add-on option extends your personal policy to cover you during the all-important “period one”: when you have accepted a trip request, and are en route to pick up the passenger.
During this period, Uber and Lyft offer extremely low liability limits and no collision coverage. A personal auto policy won’t cover you during period one either since, despite not having a passenger in the car, they still consider this ‘commercial activity’.
USAA’s rideshare addendum solves this problem by extending your personal coverage to include period one. But as with any rideshare policy, its most important feature is that you won’t be dropped from the policy at will: without a rideshare-specific policy, your insurer could stop covering you the minute they discover you’re using your vehicle for commercial purposes.
Rideshare insurance from USAA won’t necessarily prevent you from ever having to deal with Uber and Lyft’s infamously difficult insurance company, James Rivers. Some other rideshare insurance policies – such as those from State Farm – accomplish this by extending your personal coverage through all three periods (though typically at a higher cost).
This type of extensive coverage means that if you get into an accident on the job, you can simply rely on your personal policy, deductible, and coverage limits – without ever having to fight with Uber or Lyft over payouts. USAA doesn’t work like that – your USAA policy will pause once you pick up a passenger, and Uber or Lyft’s insurance will take it from there – but this is still a much smarter option than foregoing rideshare insurance entirely, and it’s typically far more affordable than the more extensive coverage options.
How To Apply
To find out if you’re eligible for a rideshare-friendly insurance policy through USAA, visit their website and fill out the application. It only takes about 15 minutes – and it could save you a bundle, both on insurance and in the event of an accident.
And if you’re not eligible for USAA, don’t worry – there are other rideshare-friendly insurers out there, too! Whether you want basic gap protection, or an extensive three-period policy, you can compare all your options at our exclusive Rideshare Insurance Marketplace – conveniently sorted by state, so you’ll know exactly what’s available where you live.
Drivers: Did you qualify for USAA? Are you happy with your USAA rideshare coverage? Comment below and share your experience!
-Jon @ RSG
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