Whether you’re storing your car because you’re not using it or if you’re just looking to preserve the vehicle, you should keep it insured to avoid lapse-of-coverage penalties down the line. But do you need to buy separate car storage insurance, or do you already have protection folded into your current policy?
This article will look at how car storage insurance works, when you need it, and when you can drop other parts of your insurance coverage while you’re not using your vehicle. Our team of experts has ranked and reviewed the best car insurance companies on the market, and we’ll give our recommendations for providers that may suit your vehicle while it’s out of commission.
If you’re interested in getting a new insurance policy or finding a better rate for coverage while your car is stored, you can compare free quotes from top-rated insurance providers in your area below.
Is Car Storage Insurance A Type Of Coverage?
If you are putting a vehicle in storage or not driving for an extended period of time, there are a number of reasons it’s a good idea to maintain some level of car storage insurance. Your car could still be at risk for damage, and dropping coverage could make it harder (and more expensive) to get insurance later on.
However, when you look at an insurer’s website, you probably won’t see the term “car storage insurance.” Instead, you’ll want to look for a comprehensive coverage policy. This type of auto insurance protects your vehicle in most non-moving situations. It’s typically part of a full coverage auto insurance policy and works differently than collision coverage or liability coverage, which also cover certain instances of vehicle damage.
Here are a few causes of damage usually covered by a comprehensive policy:
- Natural disasters (hail, flood, fire, tornado)
- Falling objects (like a tree branch hitting your car)
- Animals (such as hitting a deer or rodent damage to car wiring)
These are some of the most common issues you may run into while your vehicle is in storage, which is why comprehensive coverage is a great option for car storage insurance. If you incur any covered damage, your insurance company will foot the bill up to the actual cash value (ACV) of your car, minus your deductible.
What Coverage Should You Carry If Your Car Is In Storage?
If you’re not going to be driving a vehicle for a long period of time and are planning to put it in storage, you should ask yourself: How much auto insurance do I need? Since you won’t be using the vehicle, check with your insurer about comprehensive-only coverage.
An insurance company may offer customers comprehensive-only coverage if they’re planning on storing a vehicle for 30 days or more. If an insurance agent can adjust the policy, you’ll be able to drop liability and collision coverage from your full coverage policy. This will likely reduce your premiums significantly.
Drawbacks Of Dropping Coverage
Although it’s cheaper, dropping liability car insurance means there’s a pretty limited scope of things you can do with your vehicle. You legally won’t be allowed to park it on a public road, so you’ll have to keep it either in a garage, driveway, or storage unit.
Driving the car will also be out of the question, as you won’t be meeting the minimum insurance requirements in your area. That means that if you need to get your car out of storage, you’ll have to tow it or reinstate your liability insurance.
Some states may not allow car owners to drop liability coverage. In places that do, you’ll probably have to cancel your vehicle’s registration and turn in your license plates to the DMV.
When You Can’t Drop Coverage
Besides states that prohibit drivers from dropping liability insurance, there are other situations in which you won’t be able to reduce your coverage, such as if you’re leasing or financing a car.
Lienholders usually ask someone taking out an auto loan to purchase full coverage auto insurance. Most states require drivers to purchase liability insurance, but this only covers damages to other drivers’ vehicles after an accident. For your own car (which your lender technically owns), you’ll need collision and comprehensive coverage.
Those policies also ensure a lienholder can recoup the value of a vehicle if it’s a total loss. A lender will require you to maintain auto insurance coverage while there’s still a remaining balance on the car loan, whether it’s in storage or being used as your daily driver. So until you own the vehicle outright, you’ll have to carry car storage insurance that meets your lender’s demands.
How Much Does Storage Insurance Cost For A Car?
The cost of a comprehensive car insurance policy isn’t set in stone. Insurance providers consider multiple factors when calculating rates, including:
- The driver’s age
- Make, model, and mileage of the vehicle
- Credit score
- Driving record
- Previous insurance claims
- Your level of coverage and deductible
Location also plays an important factor when deciding insurance costs. Since states set their own minimum coverage requirements, which can include uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection depending on where you live, the price for insurance for someone living in New York will be different than for someone in North Dakota.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks the average cost of insurance in all 50 states and Washington D.C. Its most recent report on the average cost of insurance found that drivers in the U.S. paid $167.91 to add comprehensive coverage to their existing policies in 2018.
Why You Should Maintain Coverage On A Stored Vehicle
Some might think there’s a loophole for car storage insurance: dropping coverage entirely. After all, why should you insure a vehicle that’s not going anywhere, especially if it’s stored in a secure location? Well, going that route poses financial and legal risks.
Insurance history is one of the first things an insurance agency will look at when giving you a quote. If there’s a lapse in coverage, a provider may charge a higher premium when you decide to restart coverage – or they may refuse to cover your vehicle altogether.
Driving Without Insurance Is Illegal
If you’re pulled over without carrying your state’s minimum required coverage, you’ll probably be getting a ticket – or worse. Driving without car insurance coverage is illegal in about every state, and being fined for it is something an insurance provider will definitely see. Plus, if you’re in an accident while uninsured, the cost of property and injury damages will be coming entirely out of your pocket.
Our Recommendations For Car Insurance
If you’re looking for insurance options while your vehicle stays off the road, take the time to see what level of comprehensive car storage insurance is offered by your current insurer. If it doesn’t meet your criteria, consider shopping around and getting insurance quotes from different providers.
Our research team has thoroughly reviewed the car industry and found USAA and Geico are two excellent choices for coverage. You can read on to learn more about them, or click below to start getting free quotes from highly rated insurance companies in your area.
Geico: Best Overall
Our research team awarded Geico the title of Best Overall provider for 2021 due to its competitive rates, solid coverage, and discount options. The nation’s second-largest insurer, Geico has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and many customers are satisfied with the company’s discount opportunities. Geico also offers up to 15 percent off for military members and even has a 12-month overseas insurance plan.
For more information, check out our Geico auto insurance review.
FAQ: Car Storage Insurance
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.