Military renters and insurance
Military employees and renter’s insurance used to have a happy, carefree relationship back in the day the Department of Defense had it included in the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). Leases signed after Jan. 1, 2015 no longer have that option due to the change in the National Defense Authorization Act.
BAH used to include rent, reasonable utilities and renter’s insurance, but the latter is no longer a free service provided by the federal government even though it accounted for only 1 percent of the BAH. Since the change, any requirements previously included in any privatized housing project to provide the insurance policy to on-base military tenants at no cost have been removed.
However, even though the policy is no longer a component of the BAH and there are no laws requiring individuals to carry such insurance, it is smart to have it. The Air Force, which carried the policy for two years longer than the Armed Forces recommended, advises Airmen and women to get independent renter’s insurance to fully cover their personal property, as well as personal liability coverage.
Renter’s insurance is an important safety net for all renters, even more so for military residents as most of them rent rather than own their residences. It’s both cheap and easy to get, yet not too many have it.
The federal government provides military members with a free place to live and food from the dining facility, but it confuses many into thinking that in case of property loss they will be covered, when in fact they must take care of this issue themselves. Renters insurance covers personal property and possessions and that falls under the care of all renters, regardless if they live in a conventional community or in the barracks.
The military is self-insured against losses, just like large corporations. Thus, if a government building burns down, the U.S. military has sufficient capital reserve to rebuild it. But just like renting from a landlord, the military’s insurance policies only cover the building’s structure, not the personal belongings inside the building. In other words, in case of fire, tornado or some other disaster that destroys the building and its contents, the items inside the property won’t be covered unless there is an active resident’s insurance policy. This is applicable to all those living in any kind of military housing, including on or off-base housing, barracks or dorms, or transitional housing such as billeting.
A job in the military has its insurance perks—many companies in the country offer a military discount, so make sure you ask about it. Another way to lower your expenses with insurance is to bundle them—check with your car insurance coverage company to see if they offer renter’s insurance. Two more things: just like all insurance purchases, research well before making the purchase and be sure to update the policy when you move.