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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Car & renter's insurance overseas

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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Location: United States

After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Car & renter's insurance overseas

This is a never-ending debate around Germany and everywhere overseas in Europe.  Do you go with a trusted name you know....from the US, or do you pick one of the many discount companies that line up and down the streets accessing our bases and posts?  I'll throw some things out there to help you decide.

We all know that USAA is a very popular company with us military peeps...not just banking, credit card and investments but also with renter's and car insurance.  Yes, I said renter's....don't get lulled into a false sense of security thinking the military, or should I say, moving company will pay you the full value of your stuff.  Plus, you'll need insurance should someone break into your home and take your stuff or God forbid you suffer through a fire.  Renter's insurance is peace of mind, and you'd be a fool not to have that...especially when it is relatively in-expensive.  Just IMO.

Even though I am cheap, I do not skimp on insurance.  I know from experience and the experiences of people I know, that if I file a claim with USAA, it'll be processed quickly, no questions asked, and I don't have to have serious documentation on every shred I own....I also know they have great customer service, speak very good English and will be there for me should I get in an accident.  Of course, our insurance here in Belgium is about 4x what it was in Germany (I believe because they have to go thru a third party company)...and that Germany was more expensive than what we paid in the States....I don't care....I want peace of mind again and am therefore willing to pay the higher premium.

Many also use Geico for insurance.  They are available at most bases in both Germany and Belgium too.  I don't know how good they are on claims (you might want to research that), but they are cheaper than the rates you would get thru USAA.

Now there are also about four local companies here in Belgium that offer insurance....also in Germany you'll see quite a few choices....most outside the frontgate, although here, I saw a portable building on SHAPE that housed one of them....don't ask me how they were able to finaggle that one.

I can tell you though that I spoke with two people who had local Belgian insurance and both of them had terrible claim experiences....that dragged on for longer than you would think.  Another who posted on a message board said he had recently switched from USAA due to the cost difference and was so sorry he did, as he had to jump through hoops to get any value back for the stuff that was stolen from him in a robbery....they cleaned him out, and he had almost nothing left, even taking furniture.  He said that if he didn't have a receipt for it, they weren't going to pay him for it and that the process was just dragging on and difficult.

Now I don't want to spread any gloom and doom here....and I bet each person's experience will be different...but what I want to get across in this post is for you to check out the company you want to hire....not just what they charge but research their claim process.  How quickly is their claim turnaround?  What is the process?  Go with whatever company, local or otherwise, that answers all the questions and gives you a warm fuzzy.

Do you have any overseas insurance stories to share?

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Blogger Ms. Sarah said...

We are going through usaa. Our rate is not bad and think its fair. We have heard to much about the local companies we have shyed away. I am loving the life in germany just not used to the write a letter in advance for canceling and everything else.

February 24, 2011 at 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Car Insurance Quotes Lose Angeles said...

Nice and very informative post. Really these are great tips to find a budget auto insurance policy. Thanks for such a great share.

March 3, 2011 at 7:25 AM  
Anonymous susanna said...

Unfortunately, you might be forced to go with a not so well known and wonderful company if you driving record or your credit score isn't that great. I knew of several folks in Germany that were not accepted by USAA and therefor had to switch.
So glad you mentioned renters insurance overseas, that is something I would completely overlook.

March 6, 2011 at 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good advice, thanks. We are looking to buy a Euro car once we get to Germany, however my husband is looking to ship his 1968 Shelby GT500 with the military in hopes of making a "big profit" (his words). Has anyone heard anything about that market? Heard anything about classic car insurance companies? USAA outsources in the states, but has nobody in Europe. Also told the Gov't only cover up to $20K for auto damage during transport. Any advice?

June 4, 2011 at 4:38 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

I can say with certainty that I don't know much about this subject! I do know a friend who wanted to sell his classic Corvette...and after wondering why he could not find a buyer, he found out that the Germans would have to pay huge import taxes and some other fees I've now since in the in the end, he would've had to accept much less than what he originally wanted to even entice a buyer. Now I have no idea about a 1968 Shelby...sounds cool....but your DH needs to research this fully (selling an American spec car to a German in Germany) before bringing it over to make sure he can indeed make a profit on it. Let me know how it goes. Maybe we can educate others on here...I seem to remember someone once before asking about a newer American car...can't remember what I said there.

June 4, 2011 at 8:54 AM  

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