SACRAMENTO, CA --- The owners of nearly 1 million California-based vehicles with insurance coverage by USAA will collectively save about $48 million because of a 7-percent rate decrease that goes into effect Aug. 5. 

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has greenlighted the reduction. USAA specializes in serving active-duty, retired and former members of the U.S. military and their families.

The company's options include commercial auto and property insurance. 

The USAA rate cut reflects a trend; it's the latest in a series of premium reductions by auto insurers in the state during the past three years, the Los Angeles Times reported. Poizner pointed out that he's approved about $1.3 billion in cuts to annual bills requested by firms since he took office in January 2005. 

The firms lowering premiums were 21st Century, State Farm, Mercury General, GEICO and the Automobile Clubs of Northern and Southern California. 

Insurance industry analysts explain the lower rates by pointing to drops in claims because people are driving less, driving more safely and riding in safer cars.