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Putting Your Car In Storage, But Do You Still Need To Insure It? Questions to Ask so You Are Not Caught off Guard!

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Updated November 15th, 2020

There may come a time when you need to put the car you are driving in storage.

First off, there isn’t a policy or coverage called “storage insurance” for vehicles. What you will get is comprehensive coverage. 

Finding yourself in that situation, you may also wonder if you are required to keep the same levels and types of car insurance coverage in place on that stored car.

As with many situations in life, the answer to that question is, it depends.

As as former agent I am asked if you need a policy when your car is in storage? That fact of the matter is if you have a registered vehicle it is going to need a policy for most states. Your best option is to suspend liability and collision coverage when your vehicle is in storage for 30 days or more. Don’t let your policy lapse. 

Here are some considerations you’ll need to address to be sure that any car you put in storage (for any period of time) has the proper types and levels of insurance coverage in place.

Insurance Needs Based on Storage Reasons

To determine if and how much car insurance you’ll need to have in place on any car you plan to store, you’ll need to be clear on at least the following questions:

Why are you Storing your Car

If you have a lifestyle change that requires you to put your car in storage (such as a move for a job, deployment on a military assignment, or extended travel in another state or country) you may want to let your current car insurance coverage run its course and insure your stored car as personal property only.

If you plan to keep the registration active and valid on your stored car, you may want to put a low-cost comprehensive coverage option in place with a higher deductible just in case something happens where you car is being stored that would damage your car.

Cost of comprehensive coverage with different deductibles.Note: When you put a vehicle in storage you can get a comprehensive policy and drop the other coverages. As you can see from the illustration above the cost of the coverage drops significantly when you increase the deductible. If you have your vehicle in a well protected place your best option for maximum savings is to get the highest deductible.

How Long will you be Storing your Car?

If the time you plan to have your car in storage matches or nearly matches the current term of your car insurance coverage, you may not need to worry about any supplemental insurance for it.

If the time you need to store you car exceeds the term of your current coverage, you may want to look into a short-term extension of your current policy or consider a completely separate short-term car insurance policy with coverage options and limits in place more suitable for your stored car.

Where will you be Storing your Car?

If you plan to store your car on your own property or at a friend or relative’s property, you may want to consider adding the stored car to a homeowner’s or even a renter’s policy (especially if nobody will be driving the car while it’s being stored.)

If you plan to store your car at a separate storage facility, ask if they offer insurance on the items being stored there.

Be sure to read all the fine print on any insurance or rental agreement if you store your car at such a facility and be aware of any limitations on terms or value of property being stored and insured.

(You may also want to compare rates of any insurance offered by a storage facility with your current insurer.)

Be aware that some facilities specifically designed to store cars require that you keep a minimum level of insurance coverage on your car, even if you do not plan to have anybody driving it while it’s being stored.

Percent savings when raising your comprehensive coverage in 5 states.

Note: When you want to maximize your savings while your vehicle is in storage you can see the percentage difference in price in 5 states in the illustration above. With a $250 deductible you get 5% to 8%. If you raise it to $1,000 you can get 10% to 18% in savings.

What are the Insurance Laws of Your State?

While nearly every state requires licensed drivers to carry a minimum amount of car insurance, there are some states that also require you to have a minimum amount of insurance on any vehicle with a valid registration, even if you do not drive it.

Before you store your car, make yourself aware of your state’s insurance requirements for registered vehicles.

If you own only one vehicle and would like to put it in storage, say you are going to walk to work and never driver the car, you will not be able to cut back to comprehensive only.

Any single registered vehicle by an individual is going to be required to maintain the minimum coverage required by the state.

Basically, at the end of the day, you will have two vehicles one in storage and the other is your day-to-day ride, etc.

Deductible Price Difference with Cost by State

To give you an idea of the cost difference between a $250 and $1,000 deductible I have provided a table for each state.

Included is the cost per state for liability only and the cost with a full coverage policy with $250 and $1,000 deductibles. Deductibles are only for comprehensive and collision coverage.

The illustration below is to help you see the significant price difference.

In most of the states it was a $300 price difference. For others it was as high at $600.

Please keep in mind you are able to get deductibles higher than $1,000. If so, you can get even more savings since you are obviously taking more risk.

I didn’t go higher than $1,000 since the majority of drivers opt for $1,000 and below. 

If you would like to find your state please type it in the search bar.

StateLiability OnlyCoverage $1,000 Coverage $250 Difference
North Carolina$385$918$1,030$112
North Dakota$512$1,475$2,053$578
New Hampshire$587$1,331$1,656$325
New Jersey$1,086$2,377$2,735$358
New Mexico$612$1,513$1,809$296
New York$891$1,725$2,095$370
Rhode Island$1,026$2,014$2,417$403
South Carolina$654$1,572$1,859$287
South Dakota$431$1,309$1,766$460
West Virginia$669$1,633$2,072$439

Will the Vehicle ever be Driven?

If during the time you plan to store your car it should ever need to be driven, that can determine what and how much car insurance you’ll need.

A classic case where this occurs is if you have kids headed to college and they aren’t taking cars with them to campus.

Most of the time parent’s children head off to college without their vehicle. They forget about the policy on the car and let it ride. Costing them hundreds of dollars over the year. If the college student’s vehicle is going to sit and not be driven, drop the coverage to comprehensive and save. 

A growing number of insurance companies will actually give you a discount on the premium for covering a car in this case if your college bound kid attends a school that is a minimum distance (often 100 miles) from home.

In some of these cases, you may want to get a limited driving or what is sometimes referred to as a weekend driver policy.

This type of insurance covers the vehicle for a limited number of miles each year.

These policies are fairly inexpensive.

A Few other Considerations

If you are storing your car because it happens to be a classic, vintage or antique car you only bring out for special occasions, that can be covered by a policy specifically designed for that purpose.

Most major insurance companies offer classic car insurance to address the unique insurance needs of vintage vehicles.

One alternative to consider if you need to store a car for any length of time (especially if it will be on your property) is an umbrella liability policy.

As the term suggests, this allows you to put numerous items of value under the umbrella of a single liability policy.

These options routinely have very high levels of potential coverage and most insurance companies will count this as a separate policy and offer you a multi-policy discount on your premium.

Final Thoughts

If you need to store you car for any length of time, you don’t want to have to worry if something happens to it and you need to repair or replace it when you go to bring it out of storage.

Take a few moments and answer these questions, or consult with your agent to get these questions answered, and you can rest assured that you and your stored car will be protected.

Jeff Davidson

Jeff Davidson

Jeff Davidson, a former insurance agent, is a writer with Reply!. He has more than 25 years of experience in market research, public relations, consulting, writing and sales work in all areas of the auto industry.

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