The recent changes to BAH have had a trickle down effect that may not have been anticipated by the DoD when they initially made the new rules. When making the changes, the DoD decided they would eliminate the renters insurance portion of BAH. Previously, BAH included a small monthly amount to cover renters insurance based on local rates (averaging around $20 per month in most locations).
Since this component of BAH was removed, the US Air Force has removed the requirement for landlords in privatized housing to provide renters insurance at no cost to military renters (this doesn’t affect current leases; only leases made on or after January 1, 2015). There is no requirement for individuals to carry renters insurance, but it’s incredibly smart to do so – especially when you can often find coverage for as low as $12 per month. Here are the reasons why every renter needs renters insurance.
All Military Renters Need Renters Insurance – Even in Base Housing
Moving from post to post with the military is stressful. Not only do you have to pack, move, and unpack everything you own (again!), but there’s the financial aspect of the equation as well. You have to get utilities turned on and off, get your TV service moved, find a new bank or at least change your address with your bank, do the same with your credit card companies… the list can become overwhelming.
And this is on top of your normal 10-12 hour day being in the military.
However, let me caution you on one thing you simply cannot afford to go without no matter how complex and confusing your move is: renters insurance.
This critical piece of insurance can make or break your situation should something terrible happen to your residence. Going without it can cost you dearly, and sadly, purchasing it is amazingly inexpensive. (You can get a renters insurance policy for as little as $12 per month).
What is Renters Insurance?
Renters insurance is insurance coverage that will replace the contents in the rental unit you are in. Your landlord has his or her own coverage to protect the structure of the home, but that insurance doesn’t protect everything you own. With renters insurance if your rental home burns down you will be able to replace everything you own — your clothes, your electronics, your furniture — up to whatever the coverage limit is.
Why is Renters Insurance So Important for Military Members?
Renters insurance is important for every renter, but the point is more dramatic when you consider most members of the military rent rather than own their residences.
Going without renters insurance is financially foolish because of how inexpensive the coverage is on a monthly basis compared to what level of coverage you receive.
Imagine if your home burned down and you come home only with the clothes on your back. You have to repurchase every single thing you own down to socks and toothbrushes. You’re dealing with the emotional trauma of coming home to a destroyed structure, but the financial cost of going without insurance can have an even larger impact.
Live in the dorms or barracks? You need renters insurance too. The military will not cover the cost of your items if they are lost, damaged, destroyed, stolen, etc. But you will be covered if you have renter’s insurance.
How to Lower Your Renters Insurance Costs
As mentioned, renters insurance is cheap for the level of coverage you receive. You can often find renters insurance policies offering $20,000 in coverage for less than $20 per month. That’s only $240 per year to replace every item in your house — assuming it fits under that coverage cap.
If you think $20 per month is too pricey, don’t worry. You can use a few strategies to get a discount on your renters insurance:
Use Your Military Discount
Many companies in the United States offer a military discount. Don’t forget to ask for your discount with your insurer (or from multiple insurers if you are price shopping). You might be surprised to find you can get a discount on your military renters insurance.
Bundle with Other Insurance Policies
The most common strategy to lower your insurance costs is to bundle them with other coverages. The same is true for renters insurance. Check with your automobile insurance coverage company to see if they offer renters insurance. Often you can get renters insurance for practically free by combining it with your car insurance.
Where to Purchase Renters Insurance
There are multiple companies that offer renters insurance. Start with your current insurance provider to see if you can get a discount for bundling your policies. Another option is USAA, which has renters insurance policies for as little as $12 per month.