I had the worst customer service claim experience of my life with USAA. I scheduled a 120K mile service for my insured vehicle a month in advance. My check engine light came on the day before my scheduled service. The service center performed the maintenance and investigated the check engine light, only to find out there was water damage to my DME/ECM (car’s computer). They said this is not due to wear and tear, something someone did, or mechanical failure. This was caused by environmental impacts and suggested that I file a claim for the fix. I filed a claim on Monday November 11th with Ryan XXXXXX out of an Arizona office. During my claim call, he asked me a series of questions I did not know the answers to so I recommended that he call the service center to get those questions answered. At that point, he asked for the contact information for the service center and I provided it. The following day, I saw that an appraisal was schedule on my account for sometime the same week. Then Friday November 15th rolled around and I had not heard anything from anyone.


I logged onto USAA message center and asked, “I wonder what the status of this is? Thank you for your time.” And this was a message reply I received back from Annettee xxxxxx “The file is pending manager review, but it does appear the difficulty with your vehicle is due to wear and tear which is not covered by the policy. We will follow up with you after the manager has reviewed the claim, but it appears, we will not be able to assist you with the repair of your vehicle.” That shocked me because I was unaware an opinion other than what the service center told me had been offered. Then, I looked at who the appraisal was and it was a third-party appraiser, not someone from USAA.


I called the service center and asked what happened because USAA is telling me one thing and they’re telling me another. My service advisor informed me that when Bob, the adjuster called to schedule the appraisal, he told her he suspected the damage was from wear and tear and not due to environmental factors. I informed my service advisor at that point that my adjuster’s name is Ryan and asked if Bob was the person who appraised the car. She said yes, but that he kept referring to himself as the adjuster with USAA. So, not only did third-party Bob lie about who he was, he made up his mind before even inspecting the vehicle. He also didn’t turn over documents to USAA, from my understanding, because I asked for them and USAA never provided them to me. It was at this very moment that I learned my adjuster Ryan didn’t bother calling the service center to answer the questions he had but I couldn’t answer when I initially made my claim. I guess it’s totally acceptable to leave those fields blank?


I expressed my discontent about how my appraisal was handled in the message center. I explained that I was under the impression Ryan, my adjuster, would call the service center to get his questions answered because he didn’t inform me during my claim call on November 11th that he would not do that. In fact, he led me to believe he would because he asked for the service center’s number immediately after I asked that he reach out to them. I also expressed my concern about the fact that a non-USAA appraiser looked at my vehicle with a made-up mind and that USAA was going to accept his advice over the service center’s after he lied to the service center about not really being with USAA. I ended my messaging on the message center by asking to speak with my adjuster’s manager. That never happened.


What did happen, however, is that an Amanda Rhoades with USAA replied with, “The appraiser is the person that communicates with the shop. Your adjuster does not typically speak with the shop unless there is an issue with a supplemental estimate.” That absolutely flabbergasted me. So, a USAA employee is telling me that USAA makes coverage decisions based solely on the opinion of third parties? It would be one thing if the appraiser was at least from USAA.  I could understand my adjuster not contacting the service center if USAA was still involved somehow. They weren’t. Nobody from USAA had any contact whatsoever with the service center and a denial claim was about to be stamped with USAA’s signature.


I was asked again what could be done, through the message center, to improve my experience. I requested to speak with my adjuster’s manager because guess what? He had still not contacted me. All of this was from other employees of USAA who could see my file and account. Ryan xxxxx went AWOL for over a week after my claim was made.


Then, out of nowhere, another appraisal with ANOTHER third party was made. I found out and put the kibosh on that in the message center. That was when Ryan xxxx answered back on the message center, on November 18th, and said he’d cancel the third-party appraisal and schedule a USAA appraisal. Things did seem to get better since Ryan was actually doing his job a week later. We exchanged information appropriately and a USAA appraiser named Bill came out to inspect my vehicle. Bill determined it WAS NOT FROM WEAR AND TEAR! Imagine that? Mind blown. No way!


After Bill’s appraisal, I received a call from Ryan on November 22nd (so all this time I’m waiting for a decision I don’t have my car, by the way) and he asked the SAME QUESTIONS HE ASKED ME THE FIRST TIME I FILED MY CLAIM! Because I gave up on trying to get him to call the service center, I answered the questions as best as I could. It was an okay phone exchange. I don’t feel like there was anything regarding that phone call that was unpleasant and we said our thank you’s for the time each of us took out of the day to answer questions. One thing Ryan mentioned during this exchange was that he thought this happened to my car before I was the owner. He said he was going to have to track down the dealership I bought it from and find out who the previous owners were. I made things easy for him. I told him the previous owner of the vehicle had all of the car’s services at the same service center my car was (and remains to be to this day) parked at. He was surprised and happy. Like he was relieved he didn’t have to do any sleuthing. Well if he had called on November 11th like I asked him he would have known all of this but whatever. I told him I did not think the car’s problems was from before me because I had never had any problems with the car before now. He asked, “Oh? When was the last time you had to take it in?” And I answered, “Never.” Then he asked the last time my check engine light turned on and I again answered, “Never.” Ryan told me he would probably reach out to the service center to get past service records anyways just to be safe and I understood that. Like I said all along, all of this could have been taken care of upfront if he called the service center on November 11th.


Then Tuesday November 26th rolled around and I received a call from Ryan again. He ASKED ME to collect the service records. He reiterates to me that he suspects my car’s problem predates my ownership and that he would like me to ask the service center for the service records of my car and send it to him. I repeated to him that my car didn’t have any problems for the whole 1.5 years I owned the vehicle and that the service center assured me this has never happened before. Ryan LAUGHED AT ME in a “Get real” kind of way and said, “It doesn’t matter what they think. They still have to give me the records.” That really took me aback. I thought that his behavior was very rude and all I tried conveying was the information I had retrieved from the service center because I am the only one who seemed to talk to them. I then asked Ryan why he doesn’t ask the service center for the records since it’s his job. He paused, didn’t respond for a moment, then went, “I suppose I could.” He put me on hold while he made the call and got back on the phone with me to say that he couldn’t reach anybody. He proceeded to tell me what email to use when I retrieve the records myself so he could look at them. Because I didn’t really have any other choice, I picked up on Ryan’s slack again and retrieved the service records within an afternoon.


At this point I was left wondering why I hadn’t seen the appraisals or spoken with Ryan’s manager because I asked for those multiple times over the course of the three weeks I had been waiting on a decision. On Thanksgiving, I inquired on the USAA message center about retrieving the appraisals because nobody had turned them over to me. I suspect Ryan was off because it was Thanksgiving and that’s understandable. Especially if he’s an hourly employee. I am an exempt employee. I was at work. Anyway, Ryan wasn’t the person to provide the appraisal details (shocker). A Roxanna xxxxx uploaded them for me to preview.


My deployed husband reached out to Ryan xxxx on November 29th and left a voicemail because I had not heard any updates from Ryan. Ryan emailed him back and discussed how he was working so hard to resolve this for him. Well my husband isn’t aware the extent of my problems with Ryan or with this claim that was ending on its third week by this point so my husband believed him. My husband has limited phone access and I kindly received an email from my husband asking me to not reach out to Ryan anymore. So, I didn’t.


Then another week went by and I heard nothing.


At a month in on this claim where I still didn’t have a car, hadn’t heard from USAA, and hadn’t heard from my husband to learn whether anyone from USAA had reached out to him, I sent a message to Ryan on December 9th in the USAA message center. I askrf on the status/progress. He responded with, “I submitted the documents I had requested for prior service on your vehicle to our USAA appraiser for review at the end of last week, I have received an email back from him today after his research of these documents and professional opinion on the matter. USAA is currently reviewing for possibility of extending coverage in light of that info, thank you for your continued patience.” I could live with that response. Even though things were taking forever, Ryan’s response seemed rather quick and it provided information that gave me confidence about things plugging away.


December 10th came along, 30 DAYS AFTER I FILED MY CLAIM, and I received a call from Ryan. He informs me the he still thinks my car’s problem occurred during previous ownership but that the appraiser, Bill, informed him that such a claim can’t be proven. That sort of statement made me wonder why Ryan was even bothering with conjectures based on something I thought we resolved weeks ago. He proceeded to tell me all he had to do to come to a decision about my car. Ryan explained things took so long because he tried to pinpoint the date of environmental impact. Then, he informed me that none of that stuff even mattered because my policy doesn’t cover long-term water damage and that USAA would not be extending coverage. That in itself is bogus because it was one incident that eventuated corrosion over time without me realizing it happened. But okay, sure.


THEN I RECEIVE A STATEMENT SAYING MY REJECTED CLAIM IS FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT! The claim letter I received from Ryan stated, “Based on our investigation, the damage to your vehicle is not covered because it is due to mechanical or electrical breakdown or failure.”


So, USAA’s decision to deny me coverage ignores their own USAA appraisal who said it was from environmental factors but almost agrees with a third-party liar who said it’s from wear and tear.


You are all a joke. We’ve had membership for almost 10 years with USAA but we will be moving to a different insurance company.


Moderators note: Post has been edited due to Member Community posting guidelines


@ OregonPatriot,

I'd like to have your concerns reviewed further.  I’ve escalated your situation to a subject matter expert who will be reaching out to you to address your concerns.  Please allow 2-3 business days for contact.   

( Just came across this Community ) 


Exact same experience.  For you to write such a long account of the incident is 

admirable and show your passion.  I went through 2 similar situations with USAA and I a 34 year member.  I tried to get to Stuart Parker (CEO), Wayne Peacock (President USAA Insurance)  and  President of the Agency USAA to no success.  They ( service associates, lower and middle management, including VP)  shelter them from getting information in fear of losing their positions.  For the record, I am licensed ( Federal and State ) for securities (SEC & FINRA), insurance licensed, and mortgage lending licensed.   I own and operate a Private Banking operation.  I am intimately familiar with the rules, regulations, compliance, legal, and code of conduct.  They failed on all accounts and I documented it.  


The first incident they left me exposed to a $50,000 liability on my umbrella policy for 3 years before it was discovered.  The cost of fixing the issue was aprrox $13.00.   When I wanted to get answers to why and have them admit to the wrong-doing …….  no one could come up with an answer, apology, or a solution to monitoring my accounts going forward.  It took 9 months of back and forth until I threatened to file a law suit and complaints with the State Insurance Department.  That is when I received a verbal apology to make it all go away.


The second incident – my wife was in an accident and the car was totaled – for salvage.  They came back with an approx. offer for $800-$900 after the deductible.  It was a 2005 Nissan with very low mileage, immaculate condition, and always garaged.  After reading the adjustors report – it was criminal and fraud.  They lied, mis represented facts, and grossly over or understated various aspects.  That included never reading the odometer and reporting high mileage, pre-existing conditions of the headlights that were destroyed and never recovered, damage to the vehicle that was caused by their own salvage tow service, pre-existing windshield damage that did not even exist after the accident, and they would not pay for a rental car as per the terms of the policy, etc etc etc   Ultimately, after 4 months and me holding the vehicle title hostage, full documentation of their mis-management, etc. – they paid for the rental vehicle and  assessed / awarded the damages approximately $3300.  Over 4 times the initial assessment.


It was not about the money – because I did not need the money.  I had already replace the car with a new Toyota ( $37,000 cash )  --- it was about principle, ethics, honesty, and respect ( for both cases ) after being a member for 34 years and never having filed a claim. 


I just came across this Community – very interesting --- I hope more people speak up so the Board of Directors and Senior Executives realize that what they preach / advertise and what we experience is far from the truth.  SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS.

Thanks for the warning