Do You Need Insurance for When You Put Your Car In Storage?

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Perhaps you are traveling for an extended period of time and won’t be using your car, maybe your daughter is heading off to college and won’t be taking her car with her, or maybe your car is broken down and you haven’t had time to get it fixed yet. Whatever the reason is, putting a car that you aren’t driving for on a regular basis is a good idea. Why? – Because storing the vehicle protects it from vandalism, theft, and weather, or animal-related damage that could end up costing you a fortune.

While storing a car can certainly save you a lot of money, you might be thinking that wondering if you can save even more money by dropping your insurance coverage. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to pay insurance premiums on a vehicle that is rarely in use. But before you decide to drop your coverage, make sure you find out if you’re actually allowed to, and if so, if it’s really the best idea.

Do You Need Insurance Coverage in Storage?

Do You Need Insurance for When You Put Your Car In Storage?If you plan on keeping the vehicle registered while it’s in storage, then yes, you be required to carry car insurance.

No matter where you live, you must show proof of insurance to the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to register a vehicle. You are also required to maintain the minimum insurance requirements for your state for as long as the car is registered. If you really don’t want to pay for car insurance, then you could cancel the registration while the car is in storage; however, do keep in mind that if you do decide to go with this option, you cannot legally operate the vehicle again until you re-insure it and re-instate the registration. If you are caught operating the vehicle, you could end up facing serious penalties, including hefty fines and possibly even jail time.

Is Cancelling Your Car Insurance Coverage a Wise Idea?

If the car is going to be in storage for a prolonged period of time – several years, for example – then canceling your registration and insurance coverage may be worth your while, as you could save a hefty amount of money on those insurance premiums.

But, do keep in mind that even if the car is going to be in storage for a long time, suspending the registration and insurance coverage might not be the best idea. Why? – Because what happens if your car is damaged or stolen while it is in storage? For instance, what if a fire breaks out and your car is totaled, or what if someone steals your car? You would be responsible for paying all of the losses out of your own pocket. So, while not paying those premiums could save you a chunk of change, it could actually end up costing you more in the long run if your car is damaged while it’s in storage.

Another reason why dropping insurance coverage for a vehicle that is in storage is the gap it will create in your insurance history. Insurance companies look at the history of every driver they insure and they love to see continuous coverage. If you have a gap in your history, you might be considered a high-risk driver. When you do decide to register and insure the car after you take it out of storage, you’ll pay higher premiums on your auto insurance coverage; if you can find coverage at all.

Ways to Save Money While Keeping Your Stored Car Insured

While it might be tempting to drop the insurance coverage on a car that’s in storage, it isn’t recommended. There is a way that you could potentially save money on premiums while still maintaining insurance coverage. How? – By dropping liability coverage.

All cars that are on the road must be covered by liability insurance (vehicles that are actually being driven, as it were); however, if the vehicle is going to be in storage for 30 days or longer, dropping liability coverage might be an option. Check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to find out. If it is an option, you will need some type of coverage to keep your car registered. This is where comprehensive coverage comes into play.

Comprehensive insurance offers coverage for incidents that are not related to driving, and generally, this type of coverage is less expensive. By maintaining comprehensive coverage, you won’t have to deal with the downsides of dropping coverage completely, and you could save some money, too. Comprehensive coverage will cost around $10-$20 per month for most drivers.

If suspending liability coverage and maintaining comprehensive insurance is an option for your stored vehicle, make sure that you check with your insurance provider to check with your provider before you change your coverage options. It’s important to be aware of the rules that apply to coverage for a stored vehicle so that you can ensure you are well protected.

The Bottom Line – Do I Need Insurance If My Car Is in Storage?

While dropping insurance coverage on a stored vehicle is possible, in most states you will have to cancel the registration too. Maintaining comprehensive coverage is in your best interest to protect yourself and your car while it is in storage. Buying comprehensive-only coverage for your vehicle is also very cost-effective and will keep your continuous coverage intact. Talk to your auto insurance agent today to ask about your best option for insurance while your car is in storage.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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