More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
If you’re a veteran or on active duty, you have access to top-rated insurance companies like USAA and special military discounts
Published November 12, 2019
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Veterans and active-duty personnel have access to a number of resources that make owning a home easier and more affordable. From Veterans Affairs (VA) loans to membership with top-rated carriers like the United States Automobile Association (USAA) to special homeowners insurance discounts and considerations, there’s no shortage of homeownership perks for those who served their country.
But whether you have a VA loan or a conventional mortgage for your home, you’re going to need homeowners insurance to protect your home and personal belongings in the event that something bad happens. Homeowners insurance is also required for most types of mortgages. The VA, for example, will require that you get enough hazard insurance (aka homeowners insurance) to cover the loan amount.
There are a number of ways you can utilize your status as a veteran or active-duty member to make your coverage both high quality and affordable. Read on to learn how.
Veterans and active-duty personnel have access to a number of homeowner-related benefits, like VA loans and membership with USAA
Members of the military may also be eligible for special homeowners insurance policy discounts
Be sure to check your policy and make any necessary updates to ensure your home is adequately covered while you’re deployed
While there are several homeowners insurance companies that can provide outstanding coverage and offer military-specific discounts, there are a couple of companies that cater exclusively to veterans, active-duty members and their families: USAA and Armed Forces Insurance (AFI).
USAA has over $150 billion in total assets and is one of the largest insurance companies around. With USAA, you can get homeowners insurance, condo insurance, car insurance as well as financial services like banking and investments.
USAA homeowners insurance, in particular, is among the best in the industry, featuring a full suite of flexible coverage options at competitive rates with excellent customer service and impeccable claim satisfaction ratings with J.D. Power.
One particular coverage perk for active-duty members is military uniform coverage, which covers enlisted members’ uniforms if they’re damaged while on active or reserve duty. USAA doesn’t charge a policy deductible for damaged uniform claims.
In order to be eligible for USAA membership, you must be active duty, in the National Guard or Reserve, a veteran, an eligible family member of military personnel, or a cadet or midshipman.
Armed Forces Insurance (AFI) is a much smaller company than USAA but offers much of the same coverage and perks. Like USAA, you must be active duty, a vet, or an eligible family member of military personnel.
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One of the overarching benefits of a service member and veteran status is access to VA loans, which are mortgages that require no down payment and typically have a low interest rate. Like most types of mortgages, VA loans also require that you get homeowners insurance and keep the home insured throughout the life of the loan. Once you pay off the loan, you can cancel homeowners insurance if you’d like, but we don’t recommend doing that.
While the VA itself doesn’t offer homeowners insurance, the mortgage lender who got you the VA loan may recommend you homeowners insurance companies or have relationships with certain providers.
Several insurance companies will give you discounts on your homeowners or car insurance based on your profession. This includes if you’re an active-duty member of the armed forces or a veteran. Here’s a list of companies that provide discounts for military personnel. (Keep in mind that some discounts aren’t available in every state. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see if the following discounts apply to your policy.)
Farmers - One way to trim your premiums with Farmers is its affinity discount, which provides a discount for employees, retirees, and members of approved businesses and professional groups in your state. Military personnel and veterans of the armed forces are among the discount-eligible professions.
Liberty Mutual - Liberty Mutual indicates on their website that they offer a military discount to veterans and those who currently serve in the military.
GEICO - According to the GEICO website, if you’re on active duty, a veteran, or a member of the National Guard or Reserves, you may be eligible for a military discount of up to 15%.
There are a couple of stipulations found in most homeowners insurance policies that may impact deployed service members’ coverage.
Most homeowners insurance policies won’t cover the home if it’s been vacant or unoccupied for greater than 30-60 days. Check with your insurance company to see if they offer a separate vacant and unoccupied home insurance policy or endorsement that can activate once you’re deployed for service.
Most standard homeowners insurance policies list “acts of war” as an excluded peril in the policy. That means if you’re deployed and your personal belongings are destroyed by combat overseas, your insurer won’t pay out for the loss.
Check to see if your insurance company offers an exemption to this peril for members of the military. As we touched on earlier, USAA offers uniform and war zone coverage for deployed service members.
Pat Howard is a homeowners insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. He has written extensively about home insurance cost, coverage, and companies since 2018, and his insights have been featured on Investopedia, Lifehacker, MSN, Zola, HerMoney, and Property Casualty 360.
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