Protect your stuff and pass it on

As a USAA employee, I travel quite a bit, speaking to groups about personal finance. I’m often the first USAA employee people have ever met face to face. Thankfully, most of the feedback I get is positive, except for a few folks who hope I can influence their insurance rates. (Sorry, I can’t.)

At a recent event, I was approached by a gentleman who was interested in becoming a USAA member. He did not serve, but his father was a World War II veteran. I explained to him that USAA membership can pass from one generation to the next. You’ve seen the TV commercials by now, right?

If his father joined by purchasing a property insurance policy (such as auto, renters or homeowners insurance), the son would be eligible to take advantage of all that USAA offers.
But there was a problem with my suggestion. After some discussion, it became clear that getting his 90-year-old father, who was a bit set in his ways, to change his current insurance coverage might not be the easiest way for the son to get his foot in USAA’s door.

So we looked at other options. Instead of getting Dad to change his coverage, he could add coverage he didn’t already have. A Valuable Personal Property (VPP) policy looked like it might work. A VPP policy is designed to cover the valuable items people accumulate over the years, and apparently Dad had quite a collection.
In addition to offering important coverage, a VPP policy is an excellent way to open the door to USAA membership for your children. Here are some key aspects of USAA’s coverage:

It’s easy. In most cases, you can sign up online or by phone in just a few minutes.
It’s inexpensive. We have the coverage for my wife’s jewelry, and it’s less than $10 a month. But coverage starts as low as $4 a month. Of course, the premium will vary depending on what you’re protecting. You’ll typically need renters or homeowners insurance, too, but you could save some money on those policies by adding VPP.
It’s for more than just bling. Jewelry can be covered, but so can silverware, fine art, coins, stamps, cameras, guns, furs and musical instruments, just to name a few.
There’s no deductible. While renters or homeowners insurance plans give you some protection for expensive items, you’ll be subject to the policy’s deductible. That’s not true of VPP because there is no deductible.
You’ll get replacement cost coverage. This means you’ll receive the dollar amount it takes USAA to replace your item. And you can get help replacing lost items. USAA even has in-house graduate gemologists who can assist members with claims involving jewelry.

As for the gentleman and his father, I’m happy to report that they got things lined up over the phone before we parted ways that day. How about you? Are your valuable possessions protected?

J.J. Montanaro is a certified financial planner for USAA, The American Legion’s preferred provider of financial services. Submit questions for him online.

This material is for informational purposes. Consider your own financial circumstances carefully before making a decision and consult with your tax, legal or estate planning professional. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its insurance, banking, investment and other companies. Banks Member FDIC. Investments provided by USAA Investment Management Company and USAA Financial Advisors Inc., both registered broker dealers. USAA Financial Planning Services® refers to financial planning services and financial advice provided by USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California), a registered investment adviser and insurance agency and its wholly owned subsidiary, USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and Certified Financial Planner TM in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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