Your Guide to Auto Storage Insurance (2021)
Whether you are storing your car because you are not using it or are just looking to preserve the vehicle, you should keep it insured to avoid forfeiture penalties down the line. But do you need to purchase separate car storage insurance, or do you already have protection built into your current policy?
This article will look at how auto storage insurance works, when you need it, and when you can give up other parts of your insurance coverage when you’re not using your vehicle. Our team of experts have ranked and reviewed the best auto insurance companies on the market, and we’ll give our recommendations for which providers might be right for your vehicle when it’s out of service.
If you want to purchase a new insurance policy or find a better coverage rate while your car is in storage, you can compare free quotes from top rated insurers in your area below.
In this article:
Is Auto Storage Insurance a Type of Coverage?
If you are storing a vehicle or not driving for an extended period of time, there are a number of reasons why it makes sense to maintain some level of car storage insurance. Your car could still be at risk for damage, and removing coverage could make it harder (and more expensive) to get insurance later.
However, when you visit an insurer’s website, you probably won’t see the term “auto storage insurance”. Instead, you’ll want to look for a comprehensive coverage policy. This type of auto insurance protects your vehicle in most still situations. This is usually part of a full coverage auto insurance policy and works differently from collision coverage or liability coverage, which also covers certain instances of vehicle damage.
Here are some causes of damage generally covered by a comprehensive policy:
- Natural disasters (hail, flood, fire, tornado)
- Falling objects (such as a tree branch hitting your car)
- Animals (such as hitting a deer or damaging the car wiring by rodents)
These are some of the most common issues you might encounter when your vehicle is in storage, which is why comprehensive coverage is a great option for car storage insurance. If you experience covered damage, your insurance company will pay the bill up to the actual cash value (ACV) of your car, less your deductible.
What coverage should you have if your car is in storage?
If you don’t drive a vehicle for a long time and plan to store it, you should ask yourself: How much auto insurance do I need? Since you will not be using the vehicle, check with your insurer for full coverage only.
An insurance company can offer its customers full coverage only if they plan to store a vehicle for 30 days or more. If an insurance agent can adjust the policy, you will be able to remove third party liability and collision coverage from your comprehensive coverage policy. This will likely reduce your premiums significantly.
While it’s cheaper, dropping auto liability insurance means that the scope of things you can do with your vehicle is quite limited. You will not be legally allowed to park it on a public road, so you will need to keep it in a garage, driveway, or storage unit.
Driving the car will also be out of the question, as you will not meet the minimum insurance requirements in your area. This means that if you need to take your car out of storage, you will need to tow it or reinstate your liability insurance.
Some states may not allow car owners to waive their liability insurance. In places that do, you will likely have to unregister your vehicle and return your license plates to the DMV.
Besides states that prohibit drivers from waiving liability insurance, there are other situations where you won’t be able to reduce your coverage, such as if you lease or finance a car.
Lien holders typically require someone with an auto loan to purchase full coverage auto insurance. Most states require drivers to carry liability insurance, but liability insurance only covers damage to other drivers’ vehicles after an accident. For your own car (which your lender technically owns), you’ll need collision insurance and full coverage.
These policies also ensure that a lien holder can recover the value of a vehicle if it is a total loss. A lender will ask you to maintain auto insurance coverage as long as there is an outstanding balance on the auto loan, whether it is in storage or used as a daily driver. So, until you own the vehicle, you will need to purchase auto storage insurance that meets your lender’s requirements.
How much does auto storage insurance cost?
The cost of a comprehensive auto insurance policy is not fixed. Insurers take several factors into account when calculating rates, including:
- Driver’s age
- Vehicle make, model and mileage
- Credit score
- Driving record
- Previous insurance claims
- Your level of coverage and deductible
Location also plays an important role in determining insurance costs. Since states set their own minimum coverage requirements, which may include coverage for uninsured motorists and personal injury protection depending on where you live, the price of insurance for someone living in New York York will be different than a person from 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 United States paid $ 167.91 to add full coverage to their existing policies in 2018..
Why You Should Maintain Coverage On A Stored Vehicle
Some might think there is a loophole in auto storage insurance: dropping coverage altogether. After all, why should you insure a vehicle that is going nowhere, especially if it is stored in a safe place? Well, going down that road comes with financial and legal risks.
Insurance history is one of the first things an insurance agency will look at when submitting a quote to you. If coverage fails, a provider may charge a higher premium when you decide to restart coverage – or they may refuse to fully cover your vehicle.
If you’re stopped without wearing your state’s minimum required coverage, you’ll likely get a ticket – or worse. Driving without auto insurance coverage is illegal in almost all states, and being fined is something an insurance provider is sure to see. Plus, if you are the victim of an accident without being insured, the cost of property damage and personal injury will be entirely out of your pocket.
Our recommendations for auto insurance
If you’re looking for insurance options while your vehicle is 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 took an in-depth look at the auto industry and found that USAA and Geico are two great coverage choices. 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.
Whether you are planning a long-term deployment or are a veteran snowbird who won’t be driving your car for the winter, USAA can be a great choice for car storage insurance. USAA offers comprehensive coverage and even offers discounts to customers for things like owning multiple vehicles, on-site vehicle garaging, rollout or bundling of insurance policies.
The only catch with USAA is that only military personnel and their families are eligible for coverage. That said, we named the company Best for Military in 2021. It has an A ++ financial strength rating from AM Best and many positive customer reviews online. Read our USAA auto insurance review for more information.
Our research team awarded Geico the title of Best Overall Supplier for 2021 due to its competitive pricing, 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 happy with the company’s discount opportunities. Geico also offers up to 15% off for military personnel and even has a 12 month overseas insurance plan.
For more information, see our Geico auto insurance review.