Folks often ask me questions about changing insurance info when they move. "Do I need to tell my homeowner's insurance company when we rent out our house?" "What do we do with my car insurance while my husband is TDY?"
I presented these questions to Melanie Hart of USAA, and we had a lovely chat about the importance of keeping your insurance information accurate. Insurance is serious business, and it is an important part of your overall financial plan, so you don't want to mess this up.
The overall theme of our conversation was that you should always communicate with your insurance company when you have changes. The professionals know when you need to change your coverage and when you don't, and can guide you to understand what is happening. Melanie explains that your insurance representatives can help you change your policy to fit the new situation and ensure that you have the right coverage.
Two places where people often get confused are the occupancy status of houses, and when in the process of a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move you should change your vehicle and property insurance.
Melanie advised that "the occupancy of a property must match the occupancy listed on the insurance, or the insurance could be void." This means it is essential to let your insurance company know when your property is vacant, when you are living in, and when someone else is living in it. The occupancy status of the property can create limitations for various situations. For example, when my house was vacant because it was being renovated, it lost the vandalism and malicious mischief coverage that is usually included with homeowner's or rental property (also called fire or dwelling) coverage. I was able to continue that coverage, but at a significant cost.
Then, we talked about when to change the address where your auto and property (renter's insurance) are located. Melanie advised that you should wait until you are settled at your new permanent duty station.
I asked Melanie how you can know that your changes have been made. She suggested that you check your monthly statement for the changes. I'll add here that I suggest you sent a message to your insurance company to confirm the changes you've made. If you use USAA, you can do this by clicking on the envelope icon in the upper right hand corner of your account access screen, then selecting "Message USAA" from the bottom of the list on the right hand side.
Insurance policies are contracts between you, the insured, and the insurer. Having inaccurate information on those policies can invalidate that contract, leaving you without the insurance coverage for which you are paying, and you think you have.
Many thanks to Melanie Hart of USAA for answering all my questions!