If you are a current member of the military, it’s important to understand your auto insurance policy and how your coverage could be impacted should you be deployed or temporarily stationed overseas.
Should you be deployed, you can decide to continue or discontinue your coverage during this time, either option has pros and cons.
Continued auto insurance coverage
You may decide to continue your auto coverage while you are deployed or out of the country. This would mean you would continue carrying auto insurance on your vehicle even though you aren’t using it.
Although this can be an expensive option, if you continue your coverage while deployed it will eliminate gaps in coverage. This is important because most insurance companies view coverage gaps as a negative when they are determining your rates. So, if you turn on and off your coverage, you will get penalized long-term on your rates.
You could also revise your current insurance plan to provide only the basic coverage while you are deployed if you go the route of continuing coverage. Having liability-only, comprehensive and collision on your vehicle will bring down your cost while still providing you basic coverage.
3 types of coverage
Liability coverage - If you are going to be storing your vehicle while deployed you will need to determine if the car be stored with tags or without tags? If you are keeping your tags then you may need to maintain liability coverage, even if you are deployed. This is also an option to consider if the vehicle will be driven while you’re gone, even if it is infrequently.
Comprehensive coverage - Comprehensive coverage protects you if your car is damaged by weather, an animal, stolen or vandalized while in storage. Depending on where you are storing the car this could be an important coverage to keep.
Collision coverage – This coverage protects you against damage regardless of who is at fault. Some banks and lenders will require you to have collision coverage if you still have a loan or lease on the vehicle. If you lease your car or have a lien be sure to check with your lender before you make any revisions to your policy.
Another reason for continued car insurance coverage is if you will be taking your car with you overseas. Some insurance companies may protect your vehicle while being shipped overseas, others may allow you to get coverage on a vehicle you use out of the country.
Insurance rules vary depending on the host country and the insurance company, so you will want to find out your options prior to deployment.
If you are continuing coverage you will also want to ensure your insurance payments continue to be made on time. Many insurance companies offer automatic electronic payment plans, which makes paying your premium easier while deployed. What’s more, many insurers offer a discount for enrolling in autopay.
If your insurance company doesn’t offer an e-payment option be sure to have a plan set to pay your monthly premium.
Discontinued auto insurance coverage
If you’re being deployed, and no one else will be using your car during that time, it may make sense to discontinue coverage until you return stateside. Canceling your auto insurance can free up this monthly expense and save you money.
If you do decide to cancel your policy, you will want to check if your insurance company charges a cancellation fee. Some companies will waive the fee for deployment with proper documentation. Be aware if you go this route and something happens to your car while you are deployed, you will be liable for all costs.
Military members car insurance plans
Because of the unique needs of military personnel, some insurance companies offer military auto insurance policies that are designed specifically for military members and their families.
Military insurance policies are just one-way that companies recognize the service of military members and veterans. They also help address specific challenges military personnel face during deployment.
For example, GEICO and USAA offer a discount of up to 15% once the military member provides proof of deployment.
Auto insurance discounts for military members
USAA offers a variety of homeowners, renters and auto insurance options for military members and their families, including spouses and children. To access insurance rates, you first need to become a USSA member. There is no fee for membership.
Some USAA programs have certain requirements such as:
Military member on active duty, guard or reserve.
Veteran who has retired or separated from the United States military with an honorable discharge.
Current spouse, widow, widowers or unremarried former spouse of a USAA member.
Cadets and midshipmen at a service academy or affiliated prep school.
USAA plans are built with the military member's needs in mind. They offer policies such as car insurance plans that provide coverage for overseas driving. They also offer discounts if you have multi policies with USAA, accident forgiveness and discounts if you have maintained a clean driving record for five years or if your vehicle is less than three years old.
USAA members also have access to their account via an app. This makes viewing policy information, documents, making claims, checking on status and making payments easier, even when deployed.
GEICO insurance provides current and former military options and discounts on their auto insurance. To qualify for a military discount, you need to be on active duty, retired from the military or a member of National Guard/Reserves.
The company offers a military discount of up to 15% of the total insurance premium. They also offer emergency deployment discounts. Another perk is GEICO’s storage protection plan. This plan helps address military members' needs to store their vehicle for more than 30 days. While in storage, GEICO will reduce or suspend coverage and restore it when you return.
Esurance does not offer a specific military discount but they do offer deployment options which allow you to cancel and reinstate your policy without it being considered a lapse in coverage. This can save you from higher rates once you return home.