?Any veterans, military personnel, or retirees who may be considering trusting USAA with their financial goals and safety, would be much better served by placing that trust in an institution with a higher standard of integrity. USAA may have the moving, inspirational, commercials in which they present an image of a solid, proud institution which is dedicated to serving those who served. This image USAA has carefully cultivated is simply a shameless lie. The reality is that USAA only commitment to service is that of servicing it's bottom line, no matter the promises it must break, or the veterans it must dishonor.
Here's the true story of what USAA did to my family, and likely, the families of many other veterans. This is story about insurance, which can be a complicated matter, so this report is rather lengthy.
In October of 2008, I bought my family's first home. [continued below]....
..... We'd previously had USAA for our auto insurance company, and thankfully, I'd never needed to make a claim against that policy, so they were a natural choice for homeowner's insurance. That was a mistake I didn't realize I'd made until nearly 3 years, and almost $3,000 in premiums years later.
On Jan 6 2011 my wife's purse got snatched by a low-life putting ads on craigslist for expensive merchandise. He would put up the ads, meet his marks in public places, knowing they brought the cash to buy the advertised item. When my wife pulled up to discuss the sale, the guy forced himself into the window of the vehicle, grabbed the purse and ran-off. After the police were called, and reports were filed, she called USAA Auto Insurance company, and made a claim against the auto insurance policy to get the ball rolling. It seemed like the right thing to do, considering the theft happened from the car.
USAA opened the claim, then called back a few days later asking for a list of documents, including the police report, information pertaining to the crime, a list of stolen items, and our marriage license. Wait, our marriage license? Why would they want that? Unbeknownst to us, USAA transferred this claim from our auto insurance, where it apparently didn't belong, to our homeowner's insurance, where USAA says it's supposed to be. That wasn't such a big deal to me, so long as we were covered.
A month or so passed, and my wife and I were working on getting a list of stolen items, their values, and associated information together, when the police caught the guy who did this. They also found several items we described to the police in his possession when the thief was arrested. The police couldn't tell us which items were recovered, because the detective wouldn't divulge information about an ongoing investigation. We didn't want to list these items which were recovered, so we kept in constant contact with USAA, through several calls a month, while we waited the outcome of the investigation.
Months passed, as the whole ordeal was more or less tabled by my family while we waited on the slow wheels of justice to turn. That's when I received a letter from USAA, the letter stated that I was a liar, and a fraud, and that I was trying to scam USAA. It also stated that USAA would be denying my claim, and dropping me from coverage in two weeks.
Immediately I noticed that was unable to access any information about the claim, because my entire online account had been canceled. My auto insurance information, my banking accounts with USAA, every financial trust I had in USAA was unavailable to me. I called them very confused. They replied that I lied about being married, that I took too long to get them the information requested, and that I was untrustworthy. When I asked about my access to my other accounts online, they replied that website access was a privilege I was no longer entitled to, no matter that USAA doesn't have a physical presence outside of San Antonio, and is primarily an online financial institution.
A round of calls, and phone tag then ensued wherein I was shuffled from department to department. From supervisor to supervisor, until, after an accumulated 20 hours of phone time, I was finally able to put together what had happened.
My wife and I aren't legally married, and this shouldn't have been a problem because I never claimed that we were. We've been together for ten years, have three children together, but we just never got around to actually doing the wedding thing. However, when I signed up for USAA I was very clear about this point, listing us both as single and friends on my profile, which is what the title company and USAA went off of when creating the insurance policy. While transferring the claim from automobile insurance to homeowner's insurance, an employee of USAA named Elizabeth took it upon herself to update my profile, and change our status to married. Secondly, even though we have been in constant contact with USAA, they said we had passed the deadline for turning in the documentation on stolen items.
At this point, I was thinking, Well, these are just mistakes, and shouldn't be that hard to work out. Well, USAA latched on to these technicalities, introduced by their own employees, and used them as a basis to deny my claim, and drop me from their insurance. On top of that, they disabled my access to the claim information in an effort to scuttle my attempts to right the wrong, and during the course of these conversations, reminded me several times, that it wouldn't be a very good idea to sue.
Wouldn't be a good idea to sue? Why would USAA bring up the idea of a suit? I thought USAA and I were trying to work things out and set this situation to rights? Absolutely not. USAA made several errors, some of which might be outright illegal and then attempted to shut me out completely, hoping I would just go away before I noticed.
My wife is listed as an insured on the automobile coverage, but as a resident of the property, the homeowner's coverage only covers her property that is in the residence. Is that the reason for the switch from automobile to homeowner's? Now, when my wife calls, USAA says it's illegal for them to communicate in any way with her, so why did they allow her to open a claim under the homeowner's policy? If she was an insured in January of this year, why wasn't she an insured in October? If she wasn't an insured, then why did they move the claim to homeowner's without contacting me to see if it were okay, if she's not allowed to communicate with USAA. Why did a USAA employee, with no documentation and without my leave, take it upon herself to update my profile, and set our insurance policies to married? There's only one possible answer to all these questions, USAA wants to collect insurance premiums, but doesn't want to pay out when a perfectly legitimate claim is presented. This confusion, and muddying of the waters on behalf of USAA was nothing more than an outright shell game, played by USAA with the nefarious purpose of fleecing a veteran.
At this point, I'm not quite sure what to do about this problem, other than sending letters to John McCain, John Kyl, Jeff Flake, and informing the Arizona Department of Insurance, and it's Federal counterpart if it exists.