Renters insurance obligation waived in privatized housing

Renters insurance obligation waived in privatized housing

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas — Airmen signing a lease to live in privatized homes on base may no longer be covered by a renters insurance provision, due to a recent Department of Defense change in basic allowance for housing. 

The Department of Defense opted to eliminate the renters insurance component of BAH, an average of $20 each month per member, as of Jan. 1.

As a result of the BAH reduction, the Air Force removed requirements to provide renters insurance to military tenants at no cost, which was previously included in privatized housing projects — a decision made to protect both Airmen and the housing program, said Mark Correll, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Infrastructure.

“Cuts to BAH inevitably affect the program in some manner,” he said. “When that happens, it’s our job to ensure adequate funding for the homes, core services and amenities in our housing communities.” 

The policy change doesn’t negate current lease obligations to provide renters insurance. It does, however, allow housing project owners the flexibility to independently decide if they will continue to provide renters insurance as part of a new or renewed lease. As a result, Airmen who live in privatized housing may have to purchase renters insurance out of pocket, as their colleagues who live off base currently do.

Although the Air Force doesn’t require Airmen to maintain independent rental insurance coverage, Correll said it has always been highly recommended for all Airmen, whether they live on or off base, to fully cover their personal property and provide liability coverage. 

“Under the Claims Act, the government provides up to $40,000 worth of coverage to all Airmen who live in privatized housing situated on government-owned land,” he said, “However, it does not apply at a few projects where some or all of the privatized housing is located on private land. Also, that coverage only applies to personal belongings; it does not provide liability coverage, and reimbursements may be limited under the Claims Act. Liability coverage is recommended to cover damage you, your pet or your belongings might cause to the house and other property.” 

Local housing management or legal offices can help Airmen understand how the Act applies to their situation.

The Housing Privatization Program, managed by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, uses private-sector financing and expertise to provide necessary housing faster and more efficiently than traditional military construction processes allow. 

Today, the Air Force’s HP program boasts more than 53,000 high-quality homes in its inventory, a success that Robert Moriarty, the AFCEC installations director, attributes to careful planning and investment protection.

“More than $8 billion has been invested in this program with the expectation that these developments will last 50 years,” he said. “That includes the cost of initial construction, renovations, maintenance and operation, as well as the costs associated with out-year development and sustainment plans — all of this depends on income from the BAH.” 

The Air Force remains committed to providing quality housing communities where Air Force families will choose to live, Moriarty said. 

For more information on the Air Force’s Housing Privatization Program, visit www.housing.af.mil/home.

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