Maybe it’s a classic convertible; maybe it’s a car your son or daughter won’t need this semester; maybe it’s a car you plan to fix up over the course of a number of months—or years. Whatever the reason, you might find yourself in a position to protect your car from winter’s harshest elements and take it off the streets for a few months. But should you keep car insurance on a car you’re not driving? And just how much car insurance is required for a stored vehicle?
In almost every state, a car must carry the legal minimum insurance if it is registered in that state. So, if you’re truly taking a break from the car in question, you’ll want to cancel your registration, in addition to locking it up in storage and canceling your insurance. But laws on this vary from state to state, so check your individual DMV for more information.
Your best first best? Give your insurance agent or company a call. Some companies, like GEICO, offer storage protection plans to military members who store their vehicles for more than 30 days, allowing them to reduce or suspend insurance coverage.
Other companies may have unique discounts or options as well, explains Jonathan Wagner, licensed insurance agent with The Zebra. “For a vehicle in storage, certain companies offer “comprehensive only” coverage,” Wagner says. “Comprehensive is the coverage the protects the vehicle from fire, theft, vandalism, weather damage, etc.—in other words, the sort of losses one would be concerned with on a stored vehicle.”
Some companies, however, will only issue a comp-only coverage policy if the vehicle will be in storage for at least six months. But if you can swing it, Wagner explains, it can make a real difference: “By purchasing only the comprehensive coverage option, and not collision (protection for accidents), or liability, the vehicle is not legal to drive, but the policy is much cheaper.”
Store Your Car Carefully
Also keep in mind just where it is your car will be stored—and remember that space has to be locked to count as storage (anything else, including your front lawn, is just parked in the eyes of the law and insurance companies.) As Esurance explains, “The more secure your car’s storage space, the lower your collector and classic car insurance rates can often be. For instance, renting out a garage spot for your vehicle can typically net a lower premium than using a carport. You’ll also rest easier knowing there aren’t prying eyes on your valuable vehicle.”
A Final Tip
Feel like adjusting your insurance is the right choice to get you through this long winter? Great—just make sure to remember to call once the season changes so that you don’t find yourself on the road without coverage in the event of an accident.