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Published Aug 16, 2022 9:39 AM

If you’re in search of the best homeowners insurance for military members, there are only a handful of providers that understand the unique coverage needs of those who serve their country. Underwriters like USAA and Armed Forces Insurance both work exclusively with active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. But a few other nationwide insurance companies also offer special programs and discounts to military households. 

Knowing where to look — and what to look for — can save you time and money, especially when you’re closing on the purchase of a new home and need a policy relatively quickly. To that end, we’ve rounded up the top military and non-military insurance carriers that protect the place you call home.

Best for Auto and Home

Liberty Mutual is not exclusively for military members, but its collaboration with the nonprofit Military Benefit Association provides eligible policyholders with “special savings on your auto and home insurance.” While its website is unclear as to the extent of this savings or its requirements, you’ll likely learn more when you request a quote.

When it comes to protection, personal property comes standard with all Liberty Mutual policies — as does personal liability, medical payments, dwelling, and wind, hail, and hurricane coverage. The underwriter offers add-on endorsements for damage caused by backed-up water and overflow, no-deductible jewelry theft, and replacement cost payouts with no depreciation.

On top of that, you’ll save money on your premium through a laundry list of discounts. Policyholders will save for being claim-free, having a new roof, and purchasing either a new or newly-renovated home. You’ll also earn discounts for smart account management, such as going paperless, enrolling in autopay, and carrying multiple policies.

Yet, military households may find their best rate elsewhere. Even with military discounts for home and auto, Liberty Mutual may still cost more than its competitors. Nonetheless, premiums are personal, and the one this provider quotes you may well be competitive.

In any event, Liberty Mutual scored high marks in J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction survey, which signals that it meets the needs of its policyholders quite well.

Key Features
  • Military discount on home and auto
  • Policy and claims management via website and mobile app
  • Well-regarded for philanthropy and community partnerships
Why It Made The Cut
  • While many providers offer bundled savings for insurance needs, a partnership with the Military Benefit Association may result in Liberty Mutual being the best for auto and home coverage.
PROS

Multiple discounts available

Multiple endorsements for home hazard insurance

Above-average rating for claims satisfaction

CONS

Not all discounts available in every state

Often not the cheapest option

Best for Active Duty

Established in 1922 to provide veterans, active-duty service members, and their families with low-cost insurance, USAA has grown into a full-service financial institution providing products such as mortgage loans, deposit accounts, credit cards, and home and auto insurance, to name a few.

Yet, USAA is a cut above the competition when it comes to homeowners insurance, especially for active-duty military who could be called to serve their country at a moment’s notice. When you are deployed and your home is vacant, USAA waives occupancy clauses that void coverage — many other providers will cancel a policy after 30 to 60 days of vacancy.

USAA will also pay deployed and active-duty policyholders the full replacement costs for personal items, including military uniforms, without depreciation — even for belongings damaged or destroyed by an act of war. Furthermore, it provides a financial services and planning hub to make “deployment easier for military families.”

In addition, USAA offers home-sharing coverage for any policyholder with vacation rentals, investment properties, or those who rent out their primary residence.

Although USAA provides fewer discounts than other home insurance companies, it is well regarded for offering some of the lowest premiums on the market. It’s easy to see how USAA regularly takes the top spot for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power surveys.

Key Features
  • Coverage not reduced for vacant homes during deployment
  • Home-sharing coverage for both primary residences and vacation rentals
  • Provides mortgage loans, deposit accounts, credit cards, and more
Why It Made The Cut
  • USAA is among the best for active-duty military because of the range of protections it offers specifically to deployed service members, including occupancy clause waivers and war zone exemptions.
PROS

Uniforms covered for both active-duty and deployed personnel

Replacement cost paid for personal items without depreciation

Resources for both the deployed and those preparing for deployment

CONS

Fewer discounts than other providers

Not all exemptions available in every state

Best for Customized Coverage

Founded in 1887, Armed Forces Insurance (AFI) has been on a singular mission “to protect the people who protect our nation.” It’s this expertise that has helped AFI grow into one of the largest purveyors of insurance products for military households, including policies for auto, home, pets, watercraft, business, umbrella insurance, and more.

In fact, AFI’s homeowners insurance is arguably the most customizable in the marketplace. Its brochure provides details for over 30 endorsements with which to customize your home insurance policy. Whether you’re looking to insure your ranch’s water supply or a small business operating from your home, AFI may have an add-on to suit your needs.

This military insurer also shines when it comes to premium discounts — it has eight total on its website. Policyholders will save when they purchase a new home, install safety alarms, and get certified for either a Building Code Effectiveness Credit or a Safer Living Home Credit. Those who live in gated communities will also earn a discount, as will homeowners who fortify their properties against windstorms.

Moreover, AFI provides additional services for military families and veterans, including a PTSD Resource Center, Permanent Change of Station (PCS) information hub, and the Armed Forces Military Spouse of the Year program.

Key Features
  • Highly customizable insurance with over 30 endorsements
  • Underwrites military policies for Nationwide, The Hartford, and Safeco
  • Will insure against natural disasters
Why It Made The Cut
  • Armed Forces Insurance has 135 years of experience working exclusively with military households — and it understands the varied home insurance needs of each and every one.
PROS

Multiple discounts available

Offers educational resources

Expertise in military insurance policies

CONS

Underdeveloped mobile and online platform

Best for Retired Military Members

If you’re looking for home insurance with a nationwide reach and discounts just for veterans, then you should know about Geico. Although this carrier is better known for its auto insurance, Geico also contracts homeowners policies through its third-party network. In some ways, outsourcing underwriting can be a disadvantage (during the claims process, for example). But for veterans, it means Geico can match them with a partner best suited for their specific needs.

What’s more, not only can veterans enjoy the provider’s standing military discount of 15 percent, they can further save by being a military association member, which includes the Armed Forces Benefit Association (AFBA), Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Navy League of the United States (NLUS), and more.

Active-duty service members may appreciate Geico’s emergency deployment discounts when they serve in areas designated by the Department of Defense as “imminent danger pay areas.”

On the other hand, Geico offers the home insurance that one expects to see — but not much else. The provider’s standard policy will likely meet the needs of the majority, but homeowners who want a menu of endorsements and add-ons from which to choose may want to consider Armed Forces Insurance or another company.

Still, Geico offers coast-to-coast coverage, cheap rates, and plenty of experience in the insurance industry.

Key Features
  • Discounts for members of military associations
  • Military discount of up to 15 percent
  • Options for mobile, manufactured home, and condo insurance
Why It Made The Cut
  • Although not solely for military families, Geico is among the best for retired military members due to its steep discounts for members of military veterans associations.
PROS

Military discount extended to National Guard and Reserves

Emergency deployment discounts

Rate quotes available online and by phone

CONS

Fewer local agents than other providers

Does not underwrite its own policies

Best for Condos

On-the-go military personnel and those living off-base may have a lot to like about Farmers’ condo coverage. This well-established underwriter offers an affinity discount to “customers who are active-duty, active reserves, retired, and honorably discharged military veterans.” But you’ll have to get a rate quote either online or by phone to know how much of a discount Farmers will give you, as availability and the amount of savings varies by both state and policyholder. Nevertheless, since condo insurance rates are typically on the cheap end of the cost spectrum, military households stand to save big.

Keep in mind that condo insurance is nearly identical to a home policy — the primary difference being lower limits, and the fact that homeowners associations (HOAs) generally cover the exterior of the home, such as the roof and structural walls. This is presumably why Farmers sprinkles a few extra perks onto its standard policy. Military on deployment may enjoy the complimentary insurance for lost luggage and personal property while traveling, and the $5,000 worth of coverage for theft of jewelry and watches when serving overseas.

However, Farmers may have some customer service issues. J.D. Power gave this provider below-average marks for customer satisfaction in a recent report. That said, J.D. Power also awarded Farmers the bronze medal for property claims satisfaction, too. So, it may be best to speak with an agent and decide for yourself.

Key Features
  • Major endorsements come standard, including fire and hazard
  • Reimbursements for extended living expenses during repair
  • Lawsuit protection comes standard with liability coverage
Why It Made The Cut
  • Farmers Insurance may be the best for condos owing to the provider’s military discount and the several extras that come standard with all condominium policies.
PROS

Multiple discounts available

Perks like worldwide baggage insurance

Nationwide agent network

CONS

Often not the cheapest option

Below-average rating for customer satisfaction

Things to consider before buying military home insurance

All homeowners should be familiar with their home insurance policies, especially active-duty military who may be deployed. Here are a few of the things to consider when looking for military home insurance.

Occupancy clauses

Review your policy for vacancy clauses or occupancy clauses that limit, reduce, or even void coverage when the home is unoccupied for a certain period of time, often 30 to 60 days. If you’ll be deployed without family living in your primary residence, consider purchasing a separate policy or switching to USAA — it waives vacancy clauses during deployment at no additional cost to you.

Furthermore, if you choose to rent your residence while deployed, be certain to secure the correct type of coverage beforehand, frequently called home-sharing or landlord insurance.

War exclusion

Providers will generally cover personal belongings even while traveling overseas, but many exclude damages or losses due to an act of war. Policyholders who are deployed to a combat zone will need additional coverage, unless they are insured with USAA or AFI — both of which do not write war exclusions into their home policies.

VA loans

If you’ve financed your home purchase with a VA mortgage, the Department of Veterans Affairs has specific home insurance guidelines that must be followed. Thankfully, these government-backed loans are so common that whichever provider you choose will be familiar with insurance requirements for VA loans. Check out our guide on everything you should know about VA home loans.

FAQs about homeowners insurance for military members

Q: How does homeowners insurance work?

A: Homeowners insurance works by protecting your residence from hazards such as fire, storm damage, burglary, and so on. In the event that you experience such a peril, you’ll file a claim with your insurance provider. An agent will request information, assess the damage, and payout to replace or repair any losses.

Q: What does homeowners insurance cover?

A: Homeowners insurance typically covers damage to a residential property’s interior and exterior due to fire, storms, and flooding caused by rainfall or burst pipes. It also covers stolen belongings and property destruction by means of vandalism.

Q: Is homeowners insurance required?

A: Homeowners insurance is not required by law. However, for homes that have been financed with a mortgage loan, it is likely required by the lender until the balance is paid in full. In any event, home insurance is highly recommended to protect what is perhaps your most valuable asset against damage and destruction.

Final thoughts

Many times, home insurance can be an afterthought or a hurried decision — particularly for first-time home buyers who are eager to get the keys to their dream homes. But military members face certain challenges owing to their unique line of work and the likelihood of deployment. Taking the time to compare quotes from several providers will ensure that you find the coverage you need, at the price you deserve. 

Methodology

To choose the best companies and products for this list, the team at Task & Purpose looked at a large number of financial products from various providers. We focused on cost, product features and options, ease of use, customer service, and past customer ratings as the most important factors in our ratings. Learn more about our methodology in the Task & Purpose review guide