Avoid Insurance Gaps During Your Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

Foreign Service members who are planning a permanent change of station (PCS) overseas often have many questions as they prepare for their relocation overseas. They and their families need support and guidance, especially with the more complicated aspects of their move, and finding the right international insurance coverage is one of them.

Avoid Insurance Gaps During Your Permanent Change of Station (PCS)


Last updated October 15, 2021 8 minutes read

It can be difficult and time consuming to learn what type of insurance coverage is needed when undertaking a permanent change of station. Many people think the government, their international renters insurance, or their US homeowners or renters insurance policy protects them, but in reality, there are gaps in coverage that are important to know about to always be protected during your PCS.

The Foreign Service Institute’s Foreign Service Assignment Notebook recommends:

“Make certain you have adequate private insurance on your shipment and stored items for damage, loss, and replacement value.

Insurance Coverage Needs for Permanent Change of Station

Insurance is a very specialized field, and coverage needs for Foreign Service members are complex. Typical coverage is designed for those who live, work, and play in the US, but your needs are different as a Foreign Service member.

What Type of Coverage is Important?

Worldwide Auto Insurance

Covering you seamlessly while in your

Borderless auto coverage regardless of where you are stationed in the world or when in transit back to the US. Many policies are location restricted, but a tailored worldwide car insurance policy designed for the Foreign Service needs follows you when you switch posts overseas.

Dad and kids playing in their new home overseas.
Protect your belongings with the right insurance coverage to help make your move overseas stress-fee.

International Household Effects Insurance

You need coverage for your personal property / belongings or renters insurance:

It's Your Move Guide by the Office of Logistics Management, U.S. Department of State.

The US government published the “It’s Your Move” guide which recommends you have transit and at-post coverage with the same carrier to avoid potential gaps in coverage or confusion between carriers as to who is responsible should a loss or damage occur. Their guide reads: “You are strongly encouraged to purchase private insurance to cover your effects.”

A household effects insurance policy created specifically for Foreign Service members changing stations can eliminate both gaps in coverage and any confusion between carriers regarding responsibility.

The US government’s guide recommends private insurance because:

The government also notes, “The Military Personnel and Civilian Employees’ Claims Act of 1964 was not designed to serve as primary insurance – only as a backup mechanism.” This means, “It is strongly recommended that you arrange for private insurance covering loss, damage, and replacement value for your household effects (shipped and stored).”

Cargo Loss at Sea Is on the Rise

Cargo loss in the ocean continues to be an issue that results in tens of millions of dollars in annual losses. An average of 1,382 containers are lost at sea each year, according to the World Shipping Council’s 2020 report.

The statistics below illustrate the severity of the problem. (Source: Bloomberg)

Chart with annual number of containers falling overboard at sea from 2008 to 2021.
Cargo loss at sea is rose to a 7-year high in 2020. Take measures to protect your belongings.

If these had been your items and they weren’t insured, you’d have no way of reclaiming the cost. The only way to make sure you’re protected from costly losses during your PCS is to purchase private insurance.

Benefits of a Policy Specifically Designed for Foreign Service Community

Since your coverage needs as a Foreign Service member undertaking a permanent change of station are different from many other domestic insurance customers, you need a policy designed with your needs in mind. Using an agency with expertise in crafting Foreign Service specific insurance solutions can help you save time and avoid expensive mistakes and doubts about your coverage. The peace of mind that comes from knowing your property is protected at all times is invaluable.

Foreign Service family packing and moving to their post.
Remove the stress from PCSing

Specific Benefits

Final Thoughts

When embarking on a permanent change of station, it’s important to have all of your insurance needs in place before your departure. With specialized insurance solutions for the Foreign Service community, you’ll avoid gaps in insurance coverage, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your items are always financially protected while in transit, at post, or back at home in the US.

Have Any Questions?

Clements Worldwide has provided the Foreign Service community with specialized insurance since 1947. We understand your specific needs for a PCS and can help arrange coverage when you are going abroad or returning to the US. The convenience of one agency handling all of your insurance needs will give you one less thing to worry about as you prepare to move overseas.

Contact us via this form, at, or call us at +1-800.872.0067 to speak to a dedicated account representative.

We look forward to contributing to the success of your next mission abroad.

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