27 Oct 2020
Do you have renters insurance and is your coverage sufficient?
Effective 1 January 2015, the Department of Defense removed the renters insurance portion of Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). As a result, the Navy eliminated the requirement for PPV companies to provide renters insurance to active duty military PPV tenants. When the PPV provided renters insurance coverage stopped, costs and claims that had been covered by the PPV insurance carrier became the responsibility of the resident.
Recent cases of residents being held financially responsible for damage they cause to PPV units have highlighted the importance of having renters insurance AND having sufficient coverage under your policy.
Renters insurance generally covers your personal property, but a basic policy may NOT cover costs to the rental unit that you can be charged for if you damage the home. Below are some examples where residents have been charged for damage they caused to their PPV unit and the service member did not have renters insurance, or their policy did not cover the costs of the damage they caused.
- Resident put hot BBQ coals into a trash can next to the garage. The trashcan caught fire and caused $15,000 in damage to the garage.
- Resident did not adequately tighten the water supply hose to their washing machine allowing a slow leak to go undetected resulting in extensive mold growth behind the wall. Repair costs exceeded $10,000.
- Resident’s child clogged a toilet causing an overflow and several thousand dollars of water damage to the home.
It is important to understand what your renters insurance covers. Coverage varies between insurance providers. Some companies do not cover the accidental damage you cause to your home like in the examples listed above. Others will cover it under the liability coverage of the policy, and others may require you to purchase additional coverage beyond their basic policy such as water/sewer back up coverage.
To be sure your renters insurance covers costs for building damage you may accidentally cause, ask your agent, “will my policy cover costs my landlord charges me to repair damages I cause to the rental unit? For example if my child accidentally overflows the toilet or sink and the flooring needs to be replaced?” If the answer is no, ask if there is supplemental coverage that they offer, or look at other companies that do provide that coverage.
Protect yourself from unexpected expenses. Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive, often less than $20 a month depending on your coverages. You may also be able to bundle it with your auto insurance and save more money.
The Navy Housing Office is a resource available to you, or consider making an appointment with your Legal Service Office to discuss the policy terms and conditions before you buy the policy.