Are you PCS’ing to another new assignment and planning to rent your first (or 12th) home or apartment, or maybe to live on base?
It’s easy to get swept away with all the excitement or bogged down with stress, especially with so much to do. As if you need one more item piled on top of your plate, but this one simple and affordable item is an absolute must…proper insurance coverage for your property and your personal liability toward others.
When do I need Renter’s Insurance?
The good news is, it’s not a complicated answer. Bottom line…if you don’t own the residence you live in; then you need Renter’s Insurance. As a tenant, whether living in base housing (on “Post” for our Army friends) or in a rented civilian house or apartment, you are entirely responsible for losses of your belongings and any personal liability for property loss or injury incurred by somebody while visiting your rented property.
This may include the replacement of your household goods due to fire, lightning, wind, theft, or other perils. Or, you may be on the hook for causing a kitchen fire while cooking, or perhaps a neighborhood child who is injured while jumping on your poorly constructed trampoline. Without proper renter’s insurance coverage through a reputable company, these situations put you at significant personal financial risk.
Part 1 – Household Goods Insurance
A basic renter policy for household goods provides “named peril” coverage, meaning the policy states specifically what you are insured against. Some of the typical standard named perils are:
- Fire, smoke, explosion
- Vandalism or Malicious Mischief
- Windstorm, Hail
- Accidental Discharge of Water
Always seek the counsel of a qualified agent to help tailor your coverage amount based upon your individual situation, which boils down to the amount of “stuff” you own and how much it’s worth. One way of calculating the right amount is by using checklists or guides such as the downloadable Household Inventory Booklet from Armed Forces Insurance.
Part 2 – Personal Liability Insurance
Personal Liability Insurance pays for claims against you and any family members residing in your home. This coverage reimburses for any expenses due to bodily injury or property damage incurred by others resulting from your negligence. For example, the postman slips on your icy porch, a pet bites someone, or you accidentally injure someone while mowing the grass. Or consider the potential costs for accidentally causing a fire or water damage when the landlord is seeking damages from you. Let your imagination run wild because the list of possible accidents and claims for which you might be held liable is nearly endless.
Again, consult a qualified agent to determine the level of protection you need so that you can ensure adequate protection. The experts at AFI typically recommend a minimum of $300,000 in liability insurance.
Many companies offer policies that cover more than just the minimums, sometimes as part of a basic package, upgraded package, or simply as individual add-ons. For instance, while our friends at AFI include many of the following items as part of their basic package, these items might be considered separate upgrades through other providers:
- Property loss of others up to $500
- Fire Department Service Charge up to $500
- Credit Card, Electronic Funds Transfer Card or Access Device, Forgery, and Counterfeit money loss up to $1000
In short…military service often takes us to far-flung places all around the world, so you need to ensure your policy covers your property no matter where your orders take you.
Coverage During Your PCS
Whatever you do, don’t cancel your coverage just to save a few bucks because you’re in between permanent locations or perhaps your belongings are in storage while you’re on a long deployment. If you don’t have a current homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy in place, then you are at significant financial risk should something go wrong with your movers, the moving truck, or while your property is being stored.
In October 2015, the Department of Defense announced it would no longer pay renter’s insurance policy premiums for military tenants and as such are being phased out. Don’t be confused about your need for renter’s insurance when living in military housing. You are a tenant…who does not own your residence, and you have stuff, and sometimes accidents happen due to negligence or through no fault of your own. So yes, you need renter’s insurance.
This excellent resource is provided by our friends at Armed Forces Insurance, an insurance company with over 125 years of commitment to protecting those who protect our nation. Visit their website today and speak to an AFI agent (yes… a real, live person!) for a quote on Renters Insurance from a company who provides competitive rates, personal service and an understanding of the unique challenges that come with military service.