As you prepare for deployment, you need to think about how to protect your assets while you’re gone. Many of you may have a spouse, relative or a roommate to help you take care of your property while you’re deployed. But if not, you’re probably grappling with what to do. Do you leave your home vacant for the duration of your absence? Do you rent it out? How will being gone affect your home and auto insurance rates and coverage?
Below, I’ve addressed some of the most pressing concerns that I’ve come across, and outlined three key tips for you to consider before stepping on that plane:
- If your property will be vacant during your deployment, don’t assume your homeowner’s insurance will provide coverage for property or liability damages while you are away. Most homeowner’s insurance policies have a vacant exclusion clause meaning you may be without protection at the time of loss if the carrier determines your property was vacant. So, before you leave, contact your homeowner’s insurance carrier and ask about acquiring a vacant home policy or any other options they may have. And, remember to have a close friend or relative check on your property frequently while you’re away.
- If you plan to rent out your property, you should likely require the occupants to carry renters insurance, for your protection and theirs. If you rent out your home and choose to keep your personal property at another location such as a storage facility, call your insurance agent to learn how much protection for your personal property is provided when it’s off premises. If the coverage is not enough, make sure and ask the storage facility about their insurance programs.
- If your car will be out of commission while you’re away, you should consider reducing your auto insurance coverage to the lowest possible amount to lower your premium, but don’t cancel it entirely. If cancelled, your insurance carrier could misinterpret your gap in coverage and raise your premium when you return. As soon as you return to the states and prior to driving the car(s) you lowered your premiums on, call your insurance carrier and have the coverage increased back to the limits you had prior to deploying.
For more information regarding the insurance needs of deploying soldiers, check out this in depth article from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, http://www.naic.org/consumer_military_insurance.htm .