If you or your spouse is in the military, then you probably have spent some time renting a place to live. Or, more likely, many places to live. If you’ve PCSed a few times, you have a checklist of your own accounts you have to move, like car insurance and bank accounts, along with utilities and services you need to contact at your next location. You probably also know how to scour a lease to figure out what is included and what is required.
What about Renters Insurance?
What do you know about renters insurance? The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that only 31% of renters have renters insurance. Renters insurance is very similar to home owners insurance, except that it doesn’t cover the building or structure. Your landlord’s insurance will not cover your possessions, especially if the landlord is not at fault (vandalism, fire, robbery).
In general, renters insurance includes personal property coverage, liability coverage and additional living expenses.
Personal property includes furniture, appliances, electronics, art and other items. Your landlord will have insurance on the property, but their insurance may not cover your possessions. You may think that you don’t own enough to require coverage. However, it can be useful to perform a room-by-room inventory. Include furniture, appliances, jewelry, clothes and electronics. Think about how much it would cost to replace everything if it were damaged in a fire.
Liability covers your responsibility if someone injured in your home or elsewhere. Liability is important if you have pets who could bite a guest in your home. Renters insurance also protects you if something you do damages another apartment’s possessions, like leaving the tub running and flooding your apartment and causing water damage to the apartment below. Every insurance policy is a little different; make sure to ask questions.
In addition to insuring your possessions and liability coverage, renters insurance can also include additional living expenses. If you can no longer live in your rental home, this coverage helps to cover expenses that you would not normally have (like hotel bills).
Once you begin to look at renters insurance, it is important to know how much coverage is included. You may want to consider increasing the coverage, or even taking out separate policies for priceless works of art or antique pieces that are of high value. Most insurance companies, which offer renters insurance, include tools to assist in assessing how much coverage you may need.
Renters insurance is not just for families living in community housing. No matter what housing you are living in, including barracks on base or privatized housing, you should have renters insurance. The protection you receive through the policy doesn’t just cover you where you live, but covers items stolen from your car.
Renters insurance is very affordable, only a fraction of what most pay for car insurance. Obtaining renters insurance shouldn’t take very long at all – remember to add it to your PCS to-do-list. Many car insurance providers offer packages and can assist you in finding renters insurance as you move from duty station to duty station.
For assistance with home finding, including renting in the community, contact your local Navy Housing Service Center (HSC). www.cnic.navy.mil/ContactHousing.