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USAA or Safeco: Which company is best for you?

USAA and Safeco have overall positive reputations and are among the most popular insurance companies in the United States. USAA policies are only available to members of the armed forces and certain family members. Membership is also required before you can purchase a policy. Safeco is also a popular company with nationwide brand recognition.

Both companies have coverage options that will satisfy the needs of most customers, and prices that are — at least on average — quite affordable. Have a look at our in-depth comparison to see which company comes out on top.

USAA car insurance

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5 Rating from The Zebra Question mark icon

USAA is unique in that customers must be in the armed forces or be close family members. The company has many insurance options that can be paired with your auto policy. Membership also allows access to other benefits, like banking services. In terms of market share, USAA comes in fifth place.

In general, USAA receives stellar ratings from customers and third-party rating agencies alike, including the top score in The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey. If membership is an option for you, the company is definitely worth looking into.

Pros Cons
  • Affordable rates
  • Great customer satisfaction scores
  • Other membership perks
  • Eligibility limited to those in the armed forces
Learn more

Safeco car insurance

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3.5 Rating from The Zebra Question mark icon

Safeco Insurance is a popular choice for many car insurance shoppers. As a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual, Safeco customers can enjoy a wide array of policy options and coverage levels. There are also many additional lines of insurance that may be bundled with auto policies, potentially allowing customers to streamline their insurance needs and even save money. Find out more about Safeco Insurance below.

Pros Cons
  • Numerous discount options
  • Rideshare coverage available (in some states)
  • Good bundling options
  • Less than stellar customer service history
  • High number of complaints (according to the NAIC)
  • Less appealing to customers who don't bundle coverage    
Learn more

Which company comes out on top?

USAA


While not all customers will be eligible for USAA's coverage, those who are can expect affordable rates and all-around great customer service. However, even those eligible may still find Safeco to be a good option for similar coverage options and premiums.


USAA vs. Safeco: car insurance rate comparison

Car insurance rates are determined by a number of factors, including where you live, your driving history and even your credit score (a factor in almost all states). Both USAA and Safeco weigh these factors differently, meaning that you are very likely to get a different quote from each company.

To give you a sense of how USAA and Safeco compare rates, we've put together average rates based on a few different factors. Have a look at the figures below to get a sense of which company could be most affordable for you.

Cheapest average rates medal
Cheapest average rates

USAA is typically the more affordable option with average monthly rates at $94.


USAA vs. Safeco: pricing by credit score

For drivers with very poor credit, USAA could be the best option for you. Typically, USAA offers more affordable premiums than Safeco for drivers with credit scores of 579 or less. Those with exceptional credit — a score of 800-plus — should also consider USAA, which typically beats Safeco by $815 annually. View common insurance rates by credit level for Safeco and USAA.

 
RATES BY CREDIT LEVEL: SAFECO VS. USAA
Credit level USAA avg. annual premium Safeco avg. annual premium
Very Poor (300-579) $2,682 $5,308
Fair (580-669) $1,247 $2,716
Good (670-739) $1,057 $1,967
Very Good (740-799) $910 $1,871
Exceptional (800-850) $840 $1,655

Auto insurance data methodology

The auto insurance rates published in this guide are based on the results of The Zebra's State of Insurance car insurance pricing analysis. This analysis of more than 83 million insurance rates spans every U.S. ZIP code, using a sample user profile: a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord, good credit and full coverage at these levels:

  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident for bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 per incident for property damage liability
  • $500 deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage

To generate pricing for particular rating factors, we adjusted the driving profile based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies. These factors include credit score, coverage level, driving record and others.

In some instances, average rates from Liberty Mutual were derived from internally sourced sales data.

USAA vs. Safeco: rates for high-risk drivers

If you have an at-fault accident, speeding violation, reckless driving violation or DUI on your driving record, USAA could be a better choice than Safeco. Every car insurance company prices policies differently after a violation, so don't be afraid to shop around to understand which insurer suits you.

 

RATES BY CITATION: SAFECO VS. USAA
Violation USAA avg. annual premium Safeco avg. annual premium
At-fault accident (damage < $1,000) $1,304 $2,546
At-fault accident (damage > $1,000) $947 $1,969
DUI/DWI $1,952 $2,796
Reckless driving $1,472 $2,853
Speeding ticket $1,124 $2,512

USAA vs. Safeco: rates by age

Auto insurance companies use a driver's age as an indicator of potential risk and price policies accordingly. Car insurance is commonly priciest for young drivers — due to their relative inexperience compared to older drivers. Because every car insurance company rates age brackets in a different way, it's worth shopping around and finding the best rate for you.

As a general rule, teen drivers should choose USAA before Safeco: USAA offers average yearly savings of $4,901, compared to Safeco. USAA was also cheapest for drivers of all ages.

 

RATES BY AGE: SAFECO VS. USAA
Age bracket USAA avg. annual premium Safeco avg. annual premium
Teens $2,864 $7,765
20s $1,261 $2,566
30s $963 $2,566
40s $957 $2,128
50s $889 $1,745
60s $845 $1,687

 

Cost aside, USAA and Safeco each carry pros and cons, including discount programs, customer satisfaction ratings, add-ons and financial stability. Dive into the data before making your decision and be sure to shop around and compare rates before purchasing a policy.

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Ratings comparison: USAA vs. Safeco

Both USAA and Safeco are among the highest-rated car insurance companies and continue to be very popular options. Third-party ratings and customer satisfaction scores are often quite high for each company. Compare recent ratings from each company below, including scores for financial strength, customer complaints and overall customer satisfaction.

USAA VS. Safeco
Ratings comparison USAA Safeco
Financial strength (A.M. Best) Superior Excellent
JD Power (claims satisfaction) Excellent Average
JD Power (customer satisfaction) Excellent Average
NAIC rating Excellent Below Average
The Zebra's editorial review score 5/5 3.5/5
The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey 4.6 N/A

Which company scores best?

USAA


As one of the top-rated insurance companies in America, it's no surprise that USAA scores better than Safeco. However, Safeco still maintains a solid score from A.M. Best and JD Power, and could be worth looking into if you don't qualify for USAA.


The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey

To get a better sense of how the overall customer experience, The Zebra conducted an independent survey taking a look at many different factors. Safeco did not meet the criteria to be included in this survey, but you can see how customers viewed their experiences with USAA below.

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USAA

USAA topped the list as the best auto insurance carrier with an overall score of 4.6, winning in every category except Online Experience. Here are some other highlights:

  • Top-rated overall
  • Highly rated by both male and female respondents
  • Highly rated by drivers in all age groups

The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey methodology

Findings are based on an online quantitative survey of 4,134 current U.S. auto and home insurance customers, with Census-balanced sampling by age, gender and region. Categories with n=<20 responses are considered insufficient sample size and are not reported. This survey was developed by The Zebra and executed by independent research firm Maru/Blue in 2021.


USAA vs. Safeco: discount comparison

Discounts can be a good way for eligible drivers to save money on their premiums. While most discounts are quite small, they can add up to sizable savings. See each company's available discount selections below.

USAA VS. SAFECO: DISCOUNT COMPARISON
Discount comparison USAA Safeco
Good student
Multiple policies
Multiple vehicles
Anti-theft device(s)
Anti-lock brake system
Air bags
Good driver
Defensive driver
Student away at school
Driver training
Green vehicles
Affinity membership alum
Advanced purchase
Pay in full
Homeowner
eSign or ePay
Telematics
New Vehicle
Annual Mileage
Military
Continuous coverage

In general, Safeco offers a number of discounts aimed at younger drivers, including those for young drivers who become newly independent and continue coverage through Safeco. USAA offers fewer discounts on car insurance but could still offer a lower rate despite this shortcoming. If unsure, ask a representative about which discounts for which you may qualify.


Telematics options: USAA vs. Safeco

Telematics programs utilize technology to help track your driving habits and set a rate appropriate for the amount of risk that you pose. For safe drivers, this can translate to savings. Both USAA and Safeco offer telematics options. Have a look at the options available from both carriers below.

USAA logo
USAA SafePilot

SafePilot offers customers the chance to have their driving habits monitored in exchange for cheaper car insurance rates. A discount of 10% is offered just for signing up, with up to 30% savings possible for safe drivers at policy renewal.

Safeco logo
Safeco RightTrack®

Safeco RightTrack® allows customers to choose either a plug-in device or an app to monitor your driving for 90 days. The company claims that safe drivers may be eligible for savings between 5 and 30%, though no savings are guaranteed.

Zebra Tip: Explore telematics offerings from each company if you are a safe driver


Both USAA's SafePilot and Safeco RighTrack are good options overall. In fact, USAA scored second place for best online experience in The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey, indicating good app and website experiences from users.


Roadside assistance: USAA vs. Safeco

For those who find themselves on the side of the road after a breakdown, a roadside assistance program can be a blessing. It's a great safety net to have in case of emergencies. Below you can find a quick rundown of the roadside assistance options offered by both USAA and Safeco.

USAA

USAA offers the following roadside assistance services to policyholders:

  • Towing
  • Flat tire changing
  • Fuel delivery
  • Jump-starts
  • Lock-out service
  • Stuck vehicle assistance

Another perk of USAA membership is that these services are also available at reduced rates to policyholders without roadside assistance on their policy.

Safeco

Safeco offers and optional roadside assistance package that is on par with most other major carriers. Roadside assistance can be requested through the company's mobile app or by calling 1-877-762-3101. Drivers who choose to add roadside assistance from Safeco can expect the following services:

  • Towing
  • Battery jump start
  • Fuel and fluids
  • Flat-tire change
  • Lock-out services
tow truck

USAA vs. Safeco: home insurance

As with auto coverage, both USAA and Safeco have home insurance options that are similarly popular among policyholders. Below, we take a look at how the two companies compare.

USAA homeowners insurance review

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5 Rating from The Zebra Question mark icon

Similar to USAA's car insurance, customer eligibility is limited to those in the armed forces and their families. The company's coverage is highly rated and quite popular — in fact, it's the third most popular option for homeowners insurance in the U.S. Most customers will find the coverage satisfactory for their needs, and policies can be amended with a good number of add-ons and opportunities to save with discounts.

USAA topped every category in the homeowners portion of The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey, indicating a strong focus on the customer and affirming its esteemed standing in the home insurance market.

  • The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey — 4.6/5: USAA topped every category of our homeowners customer satisfaction survey.
  • J.D. Power Rating — Among the Best: J.D. Power rates USAA above average in claims and customer service satisfaction.
  • Financial strength — Superior: A "Superior" financial strength rating by A.M. Best shows USAA's ability to pay out claims is solid.
  • NAIC Rating — Excellent: Regarding USAA, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) received relatively few customer complaints when compared to the market median.
Learn more

Safeco homeowners review

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3.5 Rating from The Zebra Question mark icon

In general, Safeco provides good homeowners insurance coverage at relatively affordable rates. The company offers all of the basic coverage types one would expect, plus additional options for valuable items and equipment breakdowns. The company tends to be among the cheapest home insurance providers, which could certainly be appealing for some. However, customer satisfaction scores remain below average, meaning that customers looking for a high level of service may be disappointed.

  • The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey — N/A: Safeco was not included in The Zebra's homeowners insurance customer survey. 
  • Customer satisfaction (J.D. Power) — Average: Safeco customers expressed average levels of satisfaction, according to J.D. Power's 2021 study. 
  • Financial strength — Excellent: Safeco's excellent financial strength — tracked by AM Best — indicates a strong ability to pay out claims.
  • NAIC rating — Poor: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) received more complaints than average regarding Safeco in 2020.
Learn more

Which company comes out on top?

USAA


USAA has a strong reputation for taking care of its policyholders. Paired with affordable rates and a robust selection of coverage options, USAA is a great choice for homeowners insurance for eligible customers.


USAA vs. Safeco: home insurance rate comparison

USAA's average homeowners insurance rate is around $127 per month, and Safeco comes in a bit lower at $103 per month. 

Similar to auto insurance quotes, each company has its own underwriting methods for homeowners insurance. This means your rates are highly likely to vary from one company to another. Learn more about the factors insurers use to price your home insurance quote.

Things such as your claims history, crime rates in your area and your proximity to fire stations can have a big impact on how much you pay. As with car insurance shopping, we suggest getting quotes from many different companies when looking for home insurance policies.

Cheapest average rates
Cheapest average rates

Based on the data we have available, Safeco has the cheapest home insurance rates at around $103 per month.

Homeowners insurance data methodology

The homeowners insurance rates published in this guide are based on The Zebra's analysis of the cost of home insurance in every U.S. ZIP code. These rates are based on a sample user profile: a 45-year-old married homeowner living in a 2,500-square-foot single-story home built in 2011 with these coverage levels:

  • $200,000 for the dwelling
  • $20,000 for other structures
  • $100,000 for personal property
  • $100,000 for personal liability
  • $1,000 deductible

To generate pricing for particular rating factors, we adjusted the homeowner profile based on common pricing factors used by major home insurance companies. These factors include location, coverage limits, claims record and others.


USAA vs. Safeco: homeowners discount comparison

Homeowners insurance discounts can be a good way to bring down your premiums. To be eligible for such discounts, policyholders must meet certain criteria. See how the homeowners discounts from USAA and Safeco stack up below.

USAA VS. SAFECO: HOMEOWNERS DISCOUNT COMPARISON
Discount comparison USAA Safeco
Claims free
Recent home buyer
Multi-policy
Early signing
Newer/more durable roof
Protective devices (smoke/burglar alarms, etc.)
Paid in full
Early signing
Auto pay
Newer home
Renovated home
Senior citizen

Other insurance products and bundling options

USAA and Safeco both offer multiple lines of insurance. Oftentimes, these separate insurance lines can be bundled together, allowing you to streamline your insurance policies and potentially leading to savings. While shopping for auto or home coverage, you may want to check into coverages such as life, pet or small business insurance available from USAA and Safeco. Take a look at the additional coverage types available from each company below.

USAA VS. SAFECO: OTHER INSURANCE PRODUCTS
Other products USAA Safeco
Boat insurance
Condo insurance
Life insurance
Homeowners insurance
Travel trailer insurance
Renters insurance
RV insurance
Motorcycle insurance
Mobile home insurance
Umbrella
ATV insurance
Pet insurance
Commercial insurance

Find the best insurance policy for your needs.

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RECENT QUESTIONS

Can I avoid paying for insurance for my car while I am away for active duty military leave?

The reason banks require comprehensive and collision coverage on a vehicle in storage is because it could be damaged by a fire or a collapse of the building in which it is stored. In addition to the bank, Massachusetts requires any vehicle registered in the state to also be insured.
Aug 28, 2017 Dartmouth, MA

Our son-in-law is a USAA member (Navy). Can we join also?

Parents are not eligible for USAA. USAA eligibility flows "downstream" — so descendants, i.e.
Sep 8, 2019 Greenville, CA

Does my son-in-law's status as a Marine qualify me as USAA member?

USAA membership extends to spouses, children, and possibly parents. Assuming your child (who is married to your son-in-law) is on the membership as well, you may be able to qualify.
Feb 15, 2018 Austin, TX

Does USAA membership extend to grandchildren

From my knowledge, your parent's would also have to be members in order for you to qualify. But, as I'm not an agent for USAA, I would call them and speak to an insurance agent directly.
Jun 4, 2018 San Antonio, TX

Ross Martin photo
Ross MartinManager, Content Quality

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. As a licensed insurance agent, he specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

Ross holds a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London and has a background in copywriting and education. As a former teacher, he applies his educational skills to explain insurance concepts in ways that consumers can understand.

Ross's work has been cited by The New York Times, AxiosInvestopedia, The Simple DollarThe BalanceCar and Driver and Fox Business. He has been quoted by CNET, I Drive Safely and Kin Insurance

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.