The United Services Automobile Association (USAA Auto Insurance) was born when several officers from the United States Army joined forces in the 1920's to provide insurance for each other's USAA auto insurance offers great value to motoristsautomobiles. USAA has since grown to offer more than auto insurance.

USAA offers auto insurance and other services only to military members, veterans and their families. The company is a member of the Fortune 500 and it is unique in that it is not organized as a corporation but rather as an inter-insurance exchange. USAA customers are actually "members" and everyone's insurance premiums are pooled together so members are theoretically liable for other members. Luckily, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, where state law limits the liability of each individual member to the insurance premiums he or she pays. As an added bonus of this arrangement, profits made by USAA are paid back to members.

USAA is financially sound. The company's Property and Casualty Group, which is over its auto insurance branch, has received the highest ratings from the three major ratings agencies, Standard & Poor's, A.M. Best Company and Moody's Investors Service.

Additionally, USAA's auto insurance has a well-earned reputation for providing excellent customer service. Well-known global marketing information services firm J.D. Power and Associates conducted a study in 2008 of the auto insurance industry and USAA auto insurance was only one of two to receive the highest possible ratings in all five categories measured.

It's not just J.D. Powers who has acknowledged USAA auto insurance. The Ward Group, which has been conducting an annual analysis of insurance companies since 1991, listed USAA among its 50 Top-Performing Insurance Companies for 2009. USAA is one of only five companies to make the Ward Group's list every year since it began. And BusinessWeek magazine has cited USAA as one of its top two "Customer Service Champs" three years running.

All this is great news, but what's the bottom line for a consumer thinking about purchasing USAA auto insurance? USAA's auto insurance is known as being reasonably priced. Their website points to a recent survey of new USAA members where roughly 80 percent have indicated their premiums were less than what they previously paid with other auto insurnace companies. And, in addition to offering many of the same discounts offered by other auto insurance companies--such as discounts for insuring multiple vehicles with the same company, discounts for driver training, and discounts based on annual mileage driven--new USAA members enjoy a $50 savings off their first premium if they request a quote and buy their USAA auto insurance online.

There are a number of factors to consider when buying auto insurance, including service, the  insurance company's reliability and reputation, and of course, price. On all counts, USAA auto insurance measures up quite well. Auto insurance consumers who qualify to join USAA would be wise to consider USAA auto insurance for their needs.