If you’re new to the military life, you may not remember the days where on-base housing came with renters insurance. A few years ago, however, that stopped being the case and there were several conversations throughout the community about the importance of renters insurance.
Basically, if you do not own the house you live in, you need renters insurance. That is what covers your items. The homeowner has insurance that covers the house, but not your personal property within it.
But that’s not all renter’s insurance covers. And for a highly transient community like ours, there are some great benefits to having renters insurance. Here are a few of them.
With the horror stories that come to light each PCS season, making sure your belongings are protected is the smart choice. And, your renters insurance does that! It covers your stuff in storage and transit. It’s often under the “off-site belongings” part of your coverage. This also means if you live in a small house and need to store things or you have a child in college under your policy, the items located there are also covered.
Charges from Housing
Moving can also mean money spent to fix the government house where you lived. Wait, what? Yes, it’s true. Marine Corps spouse Sara Carey just learned this lesson when she left her first duty station. “We were charged about $400 for carpets on move out (base housing), and we opened a claim with USAA, and they covered the damages. Deposited the money right into our account. I simply took a picture and emailed it to the USAA agent along with an itemized sheet of our charges on move out.”
You may have already known about this one, but I learned this lesson in the summer of 2012 when the power went out at Fort Meade for 3+ days. And it was the day after payday, so my freezer and fridge were stocked with food. We lost everything, and with a few photos and a quick claim, my renters insurance covered all of it.
Those Really Weird Things
Renters insurance can cover some bizarre stuff. Like if your dog bites someone, or someone dies in your house. I know, very weird, but it happens. And the shots, the dog training, and even the cleanup are covered by your policy. Renters insurance will also cover volcanic eruptions, wildfires, and earthquakes. And when Hurricane Irma was throttling towards us, that was covered too.
This is probably one of the mainstream things that non-military people think about with renters insurance, but it never really crossed my mind before. Your possessions are insured against theft. Now, it’s important to remember that some of the things in your house, especially electronics and jewelry, may need their own policy.
The Completely Unexpected
Did you see the term “open perils” in your policy? You did read the whole thing right? Right. So anything that isn’t specifically excluded in your policy is, therefore, included! The random stuff like the neighbor kid’s golf ball that went crashing through the back window. The time your teenager backed the car into the garage door. All of those things and more are covered.
Do you have renter’s insurance? If you still think you don’t need it, well, reread this.
Written by Rebecca Alwine