USAA began as the United States Army Automobile Association in 1922 when 25 U.S. Army officers joined together to insure one another’s automobiles. They took the step because no one else would offer them insurance.
They elected William Garrison their first president and hired Harold Dunton as general manager -- their first employee.
Two years later the name was changed to United Service Automobile Association to reflect its opening membership to officers of all military services.
In 1934, Stuart Gwyn becomes the first woman on USAA's management team.
By 1936, 14 years after its founding, 60 percent of all eligible U.S. military officers were members.
In the 1950s, USAA began writing policies in Europe, which allowed its membership to grow rapidly.
In 1995, the board of directors voted to extend eligibility to enlisted servicemen and women.
In 2008, eligibility requirements were expanded yet again to include military retirees and widows or widowers of military personnel killed in action. Their spouses and children also were made eligible.
Military members and veterans who have been honorably discharged can pass down their membership to the next generation.
USAA is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. When company headquarters opened in 1976, it featured its first fitness center for employees and a company store.
USAA is a pioneer in the concept of direct marketing. Most of its business is conducted over the telephone or Internet using employees instead of agents.
It is licensed to sell automobile insurance in all states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
USAA offers safe-driver and good student discounts as well as an accident forgiveness program for good drivers. Discounts and programs vary by location.
In addition to personal automobiles, USAA offers coverage for aviation vehicles, boats/jet skis, motorcycles and scooters, motor homes, collector vehicles and antique automobiles, business and commercial cars, and for automobile use as a Mexico tourist and along U.S. borders. It also offers other insurance products.