As an active duty member of our military, you serve your country with pride.
You move, you go overseas, and you often must rearrange your entire living situation every few years.
While the amount of work you do to serve your country cannot be repaid in full, there are insurers out there who respect the service you give to your country and gladly offer special insurance programs for active duty military members.
The car insurance needs of active military vary from your ordinary citizen or even a veteran. After all, you are moving and going overseas, which means your insurance needs can change mid-policy. You want an insurance company that understands this potential and doesn’t penalize you for it.
While you will receive discounts from most companies for your service, it is essential to look at the bigger picture. You want a company that can sway your policy and still unlock deals whether you need temporary coverage while on tour overseas or when you must relocate every couple of months.
Why Military Service Members Need Specialized Coverage
Military members are unique when it comes to insurance. For the ordinary citizen, they obtain a policy but stay in their state long enough to use it. They might stay in the same house for ten years before moving and needing to get a policy for a new state.
Military members, on the other hand, have two risks:
- Risk of deployment; and,
- Risk of reassignment
We will address both issues so that you can understand how to choose your next insurance provider – and how to weed out the options claiming to be “military friendly.”
Deployment Insurance Options
When you deploy, you might not take your ordinary vehicle with you. Also, it might not make financial sense to sell your car and acquire another every time you deploy – especially with deployments having an uncertain start and end dates.
If you intend to keep your car while you deploy, you have a few options:
Use a Storage Insurance Policy
A storage insurance policy works just like it sounds. It allows you to place your vehicle into storage long-term, but still have the comprehensive coverage you need in case something happens to your car. Comprehensive coverage handles the incidentals outside of collision, including theft, vandalism, and storm damage.
Whether you lock it away in an actual storage unit or park it in the garage of a family’s home, you need insurance coverage.
Maintaining insurance coverage will:
- Prevent gaps and higher costs when you return. Gaps in insurance coverage, even for deployments, mean higher premiums the next time you take up a policy. You can circumvent this by maintaining a storage policy that has only comprehensive coverage.
- Prevent you from violating terms of a lease or purchase contract. Most insurance companies require insurance on a vehicle; regardless if you plan to park it. Therefore, they can revoke a lease or repossess a car if you violate those terms. By having storage coverage, you stay within your contractual obligations.
- Lower premiums while you are away. You do not need full coverage on your vehicle if no one will be using it. Therefore, you do not need to pay full coverage premiums. You can raise your deductible if you would like, or just opt for storage coverage that lowers your premiums considerably.
Bring the Car Along and Get Temporary Overseas Coverage
If you are taking your vehicle with you, then you will need temporary coverage that works for your destination country. Most insurance companies that work with military members already have these temporary policies available, and they meet the insurance requirements of the country where you are visiting.
Insure a Rental or Temporary Car
During your deployment, you might rent a vehicle so you can take advantage of the scenery or get around faster than public transportation. In this instance, you will still need temporary coverage for that vehicle (while maintaining the storage policy on your car back home).
Relocation Insurance Options
Every state has its minimums for how much insurance you need, and the premium prices will vary as well by the risks of that state. Explore your options with your broker and look at multiple insurance companies plus their active-duty discounts.
Also, because military members are prone to frequent relocations and new assignments, you will want to make sure the insurance company you go with allows you to change your policy mid-term without any penalties. You may pay more swapping policies in the middle of a term, but this is just to make up for any premium differences between states.
You might even luck out with a state that has cheaper rates than your existing one – which means less due on your semi-annual or annual premium.
What Companies Offer the Best Insurance Plans for Active-Duty Military
Some companies notorious for offering the flexible terms and discounts military members need include:
- USAA: You can only qualify for USAA if you are a military member, former military member, or have a military member in your family. However, because they specialize in policies for active-duty and veterans, you receive substantial discounts compared to other companies. Likewise, they have plans that are specific to deployment situations and reassignments.
- GEICO: GEICO also has plans tailored to active duty personnel. They claim to offer up to 15 percent off on annual premiums, and they have worldwide coverage plans for deployment situations.
- Esurance: Esurance is another popular option for those traveling overseas. You can easily reinstate your policy with a letter from your commanding officer proving your deployment – which means no penalties for lapsed coverage.
Bottom line, being active duty military is a job, but also a commitment to a more significant cause. When you work with an insurance company that respects this mission, you will unlock the savings and coverage you need for whatever your military career throws your way.