Part of the cost of owning a home is paying for a home insurance policy to protect it against accidents, like fire and theft. As you begin your search for a homeowners insurance policy, you’ll find that many insurance companies want to acknowledge your military service to the country with a discount on your premium.
The This Old House Reviews team has compiled a list of the companies that offer this type of discount and provide tips to help you find the best home insurance policy for you.
Best Homeowners Insurance Companies for Veterans
To find the best home insurance providers for veterans, we looked at companies that are either exclusive to military members or veterans or offer a military discount. Here are the three companies that stood out in terms of perks, coverage options, and pricing.
1. USAA: Best Membership Perks
Only current military members, veterans, or their immediate family members are eligible for a USAA membership. As a USAA member, you get to enjoy unique perks, like banking and financial services through USAA and discounts on security systems and car rentals, on top of affordable insurance coverage.
Pros and Cons of USAA Home Insurance
|Policy automatically comes with $5,000 worth of identity theft protection in all states except NC, AK, NJ, and NY||Difficult to find a list of endorsements on the USAA website|
|Home sharing endorsement protects the property you’re renting||Lower Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating than the Armed Forces Insurance and Geico|
|Offers unique membership perks, like shopping discounts|
Here are the five discounts available through a USAA homeowners insurance policy:
- Bundling auto insurance or another type of insurance with your home insurance policy
- Being claims-free
- Having home security systems
- Insuring your home for the full amount of the rebuilding cost
- Having a new home
2. Armed Forces Insurance: Best Endorsements
Like USAA, Armed Forces Insurance (AFI) is only available to current or past military members and their families. The defining feature of AFI is its long list of endorsements. While USAA and Geico offer only a few endorsements, AFI offers 15 to customers, including coverage for earthquakes and floods.
Pros and Cons of AFI Home Insurance
|Offers more discounts than USAA and Geico||Has fewer insurance products than big name insurance companies, like Allstate and State Farm|
|Provides endorsements for natural disasters||Doesn’t offer 24/7 customer service|
|Has over 130 years of home insurance experience|
Here’s a list of Armed Forces Insurance discounts:
- Central station burglar and fire alarm
- New home
- Gated or guarded community
- Building code effectiveness grading
- Windstorm mitigation feature
- IBHS-fortified for a safer living home
- New roof
- Companion policy
3. Geico: Best Customer Service
Geico isn’t exclusive to service members like USAA and Armed Forces Insurance, but the company does partner with military associations, like the Association of the United States Army, the Navy League of the United States, and the Armed Forces Benefit Association to offer a 15% discount to military members and veterans.
Geico is the only provider in this review that offers 24/7 customer service and provides a customer portal, online chat, and mobile app to round out the customer experience.
Pros and Cons of Geico Home Insurance
|Has a customer portal, online chat, and mobile app for self-service||All insurance products go through an underwriter|
|Available in all 50 states||Customers must talk to a company representative to finish getting a quote|
|Provides an option to pay your monthly premium through Geico|
Aside from the military discount, Geico offers three additional discounts to customers:
- Multi-policy (bundling car insurance with home insurance)
- Having smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in the home
- Having home security systems
Note: Where you live will determine the underwriter for your Geico policy, and that underwriter may offer more discounts than the three provided by Geico.
What Home Insurance Companies Offer Military Discounts?
Aside from Geico, here are some other home insurance companies that offer discounts to past or current military members:
- Liberty Mutual
How Does Deployment Affect Homeowners Insurance?
While this review is geared toward military veterans, insurance companies often lump current and past military members into the same category. Here are a few factors to consider if you’re a current military member getting ready for deployment.
Vacancy or Occupancy Clause
Most insurance companies won’t cover a home if it will be vacant for more than 30 to 60 days. This is because your home is at an increased risk of an event, like theft or vandalism. Here are a few options if you’re deploying:
- Contact USAA or AFI—If USAA or AFI is your insurance provider, you may be able to work with them to come up with a solution to avoid losing coverage during a short deployment period.
- Get a vacant and unoccupied insurance policy—If you work with a different company that isn’t tailored to military members, like Geico, you may have to purchase a separate policy to cover your home when no one is living there.
- Rent out your home—One way to avoid leaving your home vacant during deployment is to have someone rent it. This allows you to continue your homeowners insurance policy without interruption.
Under normal circumstances, your personal property is protected no matter where you are. For example, if you bring your belongings with you on vacation or leave your personal belongings in your car, your policy will cover them. However, acts of war are often listed as exclusions on home insurance policies, so if you get deployed to a war zone and your belongings are damaged while there, your policy will not pay to replace them.
Compare Homeowners Insurance Options for Veterans
|Provider||USAA||Armed Forces Insurance||Geico|
|Provider||USAA||Armed Forces Insurance||Geico|
|Unique add-ons||Flood||Golf cart, animal liability, ordinance or law||Valuable collections, rebuilding|
|Customer service||24/7 for claims; limited for sales and service||24/7 for claims; limited for sales and service||24/7|
To make owning a home more affordable, some insurance companies offer a military discount and other perks to military families. The three insurance providers that serve veterans best are USAA, Armed Forces Insurance, and Geico. We recommend getting quotes from these three providers to see how much you could save.
Frequently Asked Questions Homeowners Insurance for Veterans
What is a VA home loan?
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs works with private lenders to help military members, veterans, and their families get a loan to buy a home. The loan usually doesn’t require a down payment, and the interest rate is low. Similar to other home loans, VA loans require homeowners insurance for the length of the loan’s life.
How does homeowners insurance work?
Whenever a covered peril damages the structure of your home or your personal property, file a claim with your insurance provider immediately. It usually takes about 48 hours for your claim to be approved. Once your claim is approved, you’ll pay your deductible and the agent assigned to your claim will walk you through the rest of the process.
How much is homeowners insurance?
In 2017, the average homeowners insurance policy cost about $101 per month, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, the total cost of your premium will depend on the following factors:
- Number of pets
- Home susceptibility to natural disasters
- Condition of your home
- Square footage of your home
- Cost to rebuild your home
- Credit score
- Claims history
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