Being a member of the military comes with high honors and respect from the community. The challenges faced by you and your family, however, are not always easy. Large obstacles such as deployment can put a strain on your family both emotionally and financially. Even smaller tasks can have difficulties due to the uncertainties of military life.
Navigating insurance as a military family can be confusing. You may not know what types of insurance you might need or what to do if you are sent on deployment. Check out these insurance tips for military families to help you make smart choices when choosing auto, home and renters insurance policies.
When you’re stateside, you likely enjoy the benefits of having a vehicle. If you’re stationed in an area that doesn’t have a lot of options for public transportation, a car can even be a necessity. One of the difficulties of having a car and being in the military is car insurance.
Almost every state in the country has car insurance requirements, but as you move around you may find that your provider doesn’t cover your new address. You might also need to change the amount of coverage you carry on your insurance to match the requirements of your new location. In addition, a change in zip codes may mean a change to your insurance rates. Even if you move within the same state or region, be sure to update your information with your provider. You might end up with a lower auto insurance premium at your new home.
Car insurance for military families is a little more difficult during deployment. If you share your car with your spouse or have other family members names as covered drivers, you’ll need to continue paying for the car’s insurance during your tour. For families that have separate cars or if you think your car won’t be used while you’re away, you’ll need to consider your insurance options:
- Continue Paying the Premiums: Although the most expensive option, it may make sense for you to continue paying for your normal insurance. This is usually a good option for people building a relationship with their insurance provider, which can lead to loyalty discounts down the road. If you do decide to keep coverage on your vehicle, consider raising your deductible to lower your premium.
- Suspend Your Policy: Some insurance providers offer an option for you to suspend your insurance while out of the country. Not everyone qualifies, however, and if something happens to your vehicle while the policy is suspended you have to pay for repairs out of pocket.
- Cancel Your Policy: This is usually a last-resort option if you financially cannot make insurance payments while deployed. By canceling your policy you’ll take on responsibility for any repair costs if something happens to the vehicle while you’re away. You’ll also have a gap in insurance coverage on your record which may lead to higher rates when you apply for a new policy.
For families moving into military housing, you may think all or most of your housing needs are covered. Many military families overlook the importance of having a renters policy when living on base or in other military housing. Renters insurance, however, is usually an affordable option to help protect your family’s belongings. Your renters policy will also help cover certain types of accidents for which you're liable in your temporary home. For example, if a visitor trips over your child’s toys and breaks a leg, your renters insurance usually helps cover the medical bills.
Renters insurance is among the most affordable types of insurance, but you may be able to lower the cost. Check with your insurance provider for discounts to your renters policy. Many insurance companies offer a discount for safety features such as deadbolts, fire alarm or fire extinguishers. Gated communities or homes with burglar alarms may be able to get an even bigger discount on renters insurance.
As a military member, you are likely qualified for a VA Mortgage Loan. This mortgage program is backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and gives you great perks when purchasing a home. If you’re hoping to purchase a home, a VA loan may be a great option to help you get affordable financing. As with most mortgages, you are required to carry homeowners insurance with a VA loan.
In addition to being a requirement for funding, having homeowners insurance helps protect your property and family from disaster. Similar to renters insurance, many insurance companies offer discounts to your homeowners policy. Be sure to check that you have enough coverage for your military items like awards as high-value items may exceed coverage limits. You can usually increase your coverage of certain items with additional, optional coverage.
Finding the Right Coverage for Your Situation
As a military family, your insurance needs are likely different than that of other families. You can help make finding insurance for your home and vehicle easier by looking for a company that offers policy bundling. Purchasing your car and homeowners or renters insurance from the same company makes it easier to determine your options if you are suddenly moved or sent on deployment. Additionally, you may qualify for a multi-policy discount depending on your insurance company.
To learn more about your insurance options and get a free quote, give us a call at 1-800-640-2920 or fill out our easy online quote form.