USAA Car Accident Claims & Settlements Guide (2024)

Laptop on desk with USAA auto accident claims page displayed.

In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about USAA Car Accident Claims and Settlements in Texas.

Here is an overview:

About USAA

USAA Insurance agency office with claims adjusters working at desks.

USAA’s Market Presence

  • United Services Automobile Association (USAA) was founded in 1922 by Army officers in San Antonio, Texas.
  • USAA provides insurance to U.S. military members, veterans, and their families.
  • USAA is the 5th largest auto insurer in the U.S. with a market share of 6.3%.
  • As of 2020, USAA had over 13 million members.

Famous Campaigns and Spokespersons

“What USAA Isn’t” Campaign: USAA’s advertising strategy includes campaigns that highlight what the company stands out for, such as not needing financial bailouts and differing from typical Wall Street banks.

Rob Gronkowski Commercials: Rob Gronkowski, the former NFL player, has been featured in USAA commercials. His involvement in these ads adds a well-known public figure to USAA’s marketing efforts, potentially broadening the appeal and recognition of their campaigns. Gronkowski’s athletic background and popularity bring a distinct dynamic to USAA’s advertising strategy.

USAA’s Car Accident Claim Process

USAA’s 5-step auto claim process simplifies handling personal injury claims:

1. Report

Describe the accident, reserve a rental, and set up inspection. You can report your car accident to USAA online or by calling USAA at 210-531-8722.

2. Investigation

A USAA claims adjuster will investigate your claim and determine responsibility, typically within 14 days, and communicate next steps.

The investigation phase of USAA’s claims process involves:

  • Adjuster Review: Your assigned adjuster reviews the information from your initial report to set up next steps.
  • Claims Center Timeline: A timeline within the Claims Center outlines USAA’s actions and any requirements from you.
  • Fault Assessment: The adjuster assesses the accident based on police reports, your information, pictures, and submitted statements to determine fault.
  • Deductible Responsibility: If at fault, you’re responsible for your policy deductible, usually paid to the repair shop before work begins.
  • Dealing with Complex Issues: In cases of at-fault accidents, the adjuster coordinates with other parties for damages, injuries, or liabilities.

For a detailed explanation, please visit USAA’s Claims Process.

3. Estimate

The “Estimate” phase in USAA’s claims process involves:

  • Vehicle Inspection and Repair: Choices for repair locations can affect the claim’s timeline. Options include USAA’s network or any shop of your choice.
  • Virtual Inspection: Available in most states, with instructions provided post-claim filing.
  • Estimate Speed: The photo estimate tool can provide an estimate in as little as four hours.
  • Payment Process: USAA covers reasonable repair costs. For USAA-preferred shops, payments are made directly minus any deductible.
  • Total Loss Valuation: If declared a total loss, USAA compiles a market valuation report based on the pre-loss condition and market comparisons.

4. Payment for Property Damage

The “Payment” phase in USAA’s claims process includes:

  • Payment Collection: Repair shops collect payment from you or USAA.
  • Deductible: Paid directly to the repair shop if owed.
  • Independent Shop Payment: If using a non-USAA preferred shop, payment may be made to you for repair costs.
  • Total Loss Process: In case of total loss, USAA provides valuation reports, settlement amounts, and handles vehicle transfers.
  • Settlement Payment: Settlements are paid via check or electronic deposit. Loan balances are prioritized in payments.

5. Payment for Bodily Injuries

In USAA’s claim process, when settling liability claims involving non-USAA insured parties:

  • Assessing Liability: The USAA-insured at-fault driver may need to cover damages to other vehicles or property, as well as injuries caused.
  • Coverage Limits: Each injured party has a compensation limit, and there’s a total limit for all injured parties under the policy.
  • Legal Proceedings Possibility: Accidents might lead to legal actions, especially for significant injuries or disputes.
  • Financial Implications: If costs exceed coverage limits, the USAA-insured individual might need to pay the extra amount.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate your settlement options, negotiate for a more favorable offer if necessary, help you get paid faster, and assist you with the settlement paperwork.

How Long Will It Take to Settle Your Claim?

Man looking at calendar wondering how long he has to wait,

The time to resolve a USAA claim varies based on its complexity. According to USAA’s website, simple claims might be resolved in as little as an hour, while more complex ones, involving multiple vehicles or injuries, could take weeks. To expedite the process, USAA recommends the following:

  1. File a claim immediately via or the USAA Mobile App. Additional details can be added later.
  2. Utilize the photo estimation tool for a faster estimate, potentially within four hours.
  3. Schedule repairs quickly, as completed repairs can speed up claim payouts.
  4. Opt for electronic funds transfer (EFT) for direct deposit of any owed amounts.

How to Negotiate with USAA After a Car Accident

Man on phone negotiating car accident insurance claim settlement with USAA.

Negotiating with USAA after a car accident involves several crucial steps:

  1. Essential Steps Post-Accident: Immediately following an accident, avoid giving recorded statements to the insurer. Instead, focus on gathering evidence such as photos, witness statements, and an official accident report. Seeking prompt medical attention is also vital, as it provides a record of any injuries sustained.
  2. Why You Shouldn’t Settle Immediately: Quick settlements may seem convenient but can often result in lower compensation than deserved. Accepting an early offer might mean missing out on covering future medical expenses or damages not initially apparent.
  3. Importance of Legal Review: Before accepting any settlement offer, having an experienced car accident lawyer review the terms is critical. A lawyer can help understand the implications of the settlement and negotiate better terms if necessary.
  4. Navigating Settlements and Claims: Writing a comprehensive demand letter is a key part of the claims process. This letter should detail the accident, the damages incurred, and the compensation sought. For guidance on drafting an effective demand letter, it’s beneficial to consult a detailed guide or legal advisor.

For further information on effective negotiation strategies, refer to the article: How to Write a Demand Letter for a Car Accident Settlement in Texas.

Examples of USAA Settlements & Verdicts in Personal Injury Cases

Jury foreperson reading jury verdict in courtroom in texas.

The outcomes of personal injury claims against USAA can vary greatly, depending on the specifics of each case. Here are some examples that illustrate the range of settlements and verdicts:

$416,448 Jury Verdict Against USAA in Dallas Car Accident Lawsuit

  • Accident: Plaintiff rear-ended, resulting in back injury aggravation. Plaintiff had uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage with USAA at the time of the wreck.
  • Previous Medical Condition: Plaintiff had a pre-existing lumbar injury that required surgery and periodic injections.
  • Post-Accident Treatment: Multiple surgeries and injections recommended for worsening back condition.
  • Negligence Claim: Against the at-fault driver, settled for his $50,000 liability policy limit.
  • USAA UIM Claim: Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against USAA to recover the portion of her damages that exceeded the other driver’s insurance policy limit.
  • Defense Argument: USAA acknowledged that the wreck made the plaintiff’s back condition worse, but argued that it was only temporary. USAA argued that plaintiff needed surgery before the defendant hit her; therefore, the defendant should not have to pay for it. USAA pointed out that the crash report had an “N” for “not injured” and that plaintiff declined an ambulance at the scene of the wreck.
  • Plaintiff’s Claim: Significant impairment, loss of earning capacity.
  • Jury Award: $416,448, reduced by USAA’s credit for the $50,000 settlement with the at-fault driver and the plaintiff’s $300,000 UIM policy limit. Here is a breakdown of the different categories of damages that the jury awarded:
    • Past Medical Costs: $41,448
    • Future Medical Costs: $150,000
    • Past Physical Impairment: $75,000
    • Future Physical Impairment: $25,000
    • Past Loss of Earning Capacity: $75,000
    • Past Physical Pain and Mental Anguish: $25,000
    • Future Physical Pain and Mental Anguish: $25,000
  • Citation: Burgar v. USAA, DC-17-11126, in the 44th Judicial District court of Dallas County, Texas (Jan. 28, 2020).

$195,000 USAA Settlement in Bexar County Personal Injury Lawsuit

  • Accident Context: The plaintiff was injured in a collision involving the defendant’s car hydroplaning and striking the plaintiff’s tractor-trailer. The defendant had a USAA auto insurance policy.
  • Injuries Reported: The plaintiff suffered from neck and elbow injuries, including cervical disc bulge and herniation.
  • Medical Treatment: Involved pain management, chiropractic visits, and steroid injections. Surgery was later recommended.
  • Negligence Claim: The plaintiff alleged the defendant’s negligence due to speeding under wet conditions.
  • Medical Costs: Approximately $48,800 in incurred medical expenses.
  • Settlement Resolution: The case was resolved in pretrial mediation with a $195,000 settlement from USAA.
  • Citation: Wyatt v. Gonzalez, No. 2020CI19922, in the 73rd Judicial District Court for Bexar County, Texas (April 01, 2022).

$115,000 Jury Verdict Against USAA Insured in Montgomery County, Texas

  • Accident Details: Plaintiff, a medical doctor, was rear-ended by a USAA-insured defendant who was allegedly distracted by a phone call.
  • Injuries: Plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) with memory and cognitive deficits, and a cervical disc injury.
  • Defense Strategy: USAA emphasized plaintiff’s minimal treatment and past head injuries;
  • Pain and Suffering Calculation: Plaintiff’s counsel suggested that the jury calculate the plaintiff’s damages for pain and suffering using the per diem method.
  • USAA’s Role: Defended the negligent driver, focusing on reducing the compensation due to the plaintiff’s pre-existing conditions and current health status.
  • Total Verdict: The plaintiff obtained a jury verdict totaling $115,000. This included $15,000 for past physical impairment, $50,000 for past pain and suffering, and $50,000 for future pain and suffering.
  • Citation: Lambert v. Muehr, No. 20-06-06632, in the 284th Judicial District Court of Montgomery County, Texas (Mar. 31, 2022).

$75,000 Settlement in UIM Lawsuit Against USAA

  • Accident Overview: Plaintiff collided with another vehicle at an intersection. Defendant disregarded a traffic signal.
  • Plaintiff’s Injuries: Cervical and lumbar disc herniations, with radiating pain.
  • Medical Treatment: Included therapy, injections, and radiofrequency ablation.
  • Negligence Claim: Defendant’s failure to observe traffic signals and control speed.
  • USAA’s Defense: Challenged causation of injuries and relevance of certain treatments.
  • Settlement: Plaintiff settled with USAA for $75,000 in mediation.
  • Citation: Bush v. USAA, No. 2020CI24232, in the 285th Judicial District Court of Bexar County, Texas (May 21, 2021).

Litigating Against USAA

  • Professional Adjusters: USAA adjusters are known for being professional and responsive.
  • Anonymity Policy: USAA does not disclose adjusters’ last names, possibly due to safety concerns or legal strategies.
  • Legal Defense Tactics: In Texas, USAA’s legal team aggressively defends comparative fault cases, especially chain collisions.
  • Settlement Approach: Generally reasonable in settlements, despite aggressive defense strategies.
  • Legal Team Quality: USAA’s lawyers are experienced and effective, maintaining professionalism.
  • Policy Limits: USAA policies often have higher limits than the Texas minimum of $30K/$60K, more so than State Farm, Progressive, or Allstate.


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