Military Renters Insurance

Written by: Tom Jackson

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Military life can be pretty demanding. The last thing a soldier or sailor needs to worry about is losing all their possessions.

Is such peace of mind worth 50 cents a day?

That’s about what most renter’s insurance policies cost. It’s the kind of insurance most military members need, since most don’t own homes.

Renter’s insurance covers belongings that might be lost due to theft, fire, vandalism, flooding or some other misfortune. Whatever the cause, imagine what it would cost to buy new furniture, clothes, electronics, jewelry and the rest.

Now imagine the relief when you realize that bill will be taken care of by the insurance company.

There are two forms of renter’s insurance – broad form and comprehensive.

Comprehensive covers everything you own, unless an item is specifically excluded. It provides a higher personal liability limit in case someone is hurt in your home and you get sued.

Most renters choose broad form, which is less expensive. It covers specific events, like theft, water damage from utilities, smoke damage and vandalism. It usually doesn’t cover losses caused by floods or earthquakes.

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding which policy is best for your military housing situation.

Regular Renter’s Insurance vs. Military Renter’s Insurance

There’s not much difference between military and civilian renter’s insurance, other than that some companies offer military discounts.

Military members often think their belongings are covered if they live in barracks. That’s the same faulty assumption civilians make when they rent apartments or houses.

The landlord, in this case the U.S. government, is responsible for insuring the building. It does not typically insure the tenants’ personal belongings.

If it does, the policy may cover only items that are stolen. If they are lost in a fire or damaged by water, too bad. Make sure you understand all the ins and outs of whatever coverage is offered.

Is Renters Insurance Necessary for Military Members?

Military members are like civilians. They are not legally required to have renter’s insurance. But that choice could be an expensive mistake.

The risk is higher for military personnel, since many live in barracks. Doors are left unlocked, belongings are less protected and thieves generally know everybody’s work schedule. As much as we’d like to believe a military member would not steal from a fellow soldier or sailor, that’s not always the case.

Renter’s Insurance Cost

Can you afford to buy a couple of Big Mac Meal Deals and an extra order of fries every month? If so, you can afford renter’s insurance.

The average renter’s insurance policy costs $174 a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Compare that to a homeowner’s insurance policy, which averages $1,383 a year for a house worth $250,000.

The price of renter’s insurance depends on the value of what you want to cover. For instance, if your property is valued at $30,000 and you get $100,000 in personal liability coverage, your monthly bill will be between $15 and $30 a month.

That variance depends on a lot of things, including your age, previous insurance claims, location, credit history and deductible. Don’t overlook that last one.

The higher your deductible, the lower your premium. The standard deductible on renter’s insurance is $500. That’s often the lowest deductible offered.

Insurance companies place limits on the value of individual categories of property. For instance, a policy might limit total payments to $300 for cash and coins; $1,500 for jewelry and watches; $1,000 for guns.

As with any purchase, it pays to shop around. That’s relatively easy to do on the internet, so contact multiple companies. A good place to start is your auto insurance provider, since it may offer a discount for bundling services. And be sure to ask companies if they offer a military discount.

Renter’s Insurance Coverage

Renter’s insurance covers repairing or replacing personal belongings, or it pays you cash for each item that’s lost or destroyed.

Reimbursement can vary since some policies offer reimbursement minus depreciation. In other words, they won’t give you $1,200 for a 15-year-old couch that’s worth about $300. Full replacement value coverage is also available, though, so be sure you understand the policy options.

Renter’s insurance also typically covers food if it is spoiled due to power failure or flood. It pays for hotels, meals and laundry if you have to vacate your rental during repairs.

It provides limited coverage for credit card fraud or check forgery. It also protects your belongings while you are headed to your next duty assignment. The moving company is usually liable for such losses, but renter’s insurance can help fill in any financial gaps in case the moving company weasels its way out of paying.

How Much Coverage Should You Get?

Your coverage amount depends on the value of your property. Take inventory of the belongings you want to insure, noting what you paid for each and its current market value.

It helps to take photos or a video of your possessions. That can serve as proof of ownership if you need to file a claim and help the insurance company estimate your payment.

Store those records in a safe place, preferably not in your house since they might be destroyed in a disaster.

When you’ve gathered all the information, the insurance company will determine the cost of your monthly premium. Whatever it is, it will not only cover all your possessions. It will give you something military members might find even more valuable.

Peace of mind.

About The Author

Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson focuses on writing about debt solutions for consumers struggling to make ends meet. His background includes time as a columnist for newspapers in Washington D.C., Tampa and Sacramento, Calif., where he reported and commented on everything from city and state budgets to the marketing of local businesses and how the business of professional sports impacts a city. Along the way, he has racked up state and national awards for writing, editing and design. Tom’s blogging on the 2016 election won a pair of top honors from the Florida Press Club. A University of Florida alumnus, St. Louis Cardinals fan and eager-if-haphazard golfer, Tom splits time between Tampa and Cashiers, N.C., with his wife of 40 years, college-age son, and Spencer, a yappy Shetland sheepdog.


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