does my car need insurance if i don’t drive it?

It’s tempting to not insure a vehicle that’s usually left in storage or in the garage, but that’s not a legally viable option. Your car does need auto insurance, even if you don’t drive it.
Our team has considered the best car insurance providers in the U.S. to discover which ones offer the most impressive deals. It’s smart to compare car insurance quotes from various providers to figure out which ones can keep your rarely used car insured at little cost.

Do All Cars Need Insurance?

In general, all cars need to meet minimum liability auto insurance. Virginia and New Hampshire are the only two states where car insurance is not mandatory for all drivers, but most still get a policy to avoid added fees and the risk of potential damages.

It’s important to be familiar with your specific state laws to understand your legal responsibilities as a car owner. Also, you’ll want to figure out if you still need insurance for a car that simply sits in your driveway. You may be charged with driving uninsured if you take the vehicle around the block, and this could lead to criminal charges, heavy fines and the loss of your driver’s license.

Inoperable cars aren’t required to have auto insurance in every state, but it’s critical that you check. Having an uninsured car labels you as a high-risk driver, a status typically given to those with bad driving histories and DUIs on their records.

Vehicles that run are usually required to have insurance no matter what, so we’ll discuss some ways to avoid an insurance lapse below.

How Does Car Storage Insurance Work?

Those who need auto insurance for a parked car or for a vehicle in storage should carefully consider comp-only insurance. This coverage keeps your car insured against damages from fires, theft, vandalism and weather damage.

It’s important to keep comprehensive insurance on your vehicle whether it’s used or not, as damages don’t always involve collisions. It’s a cheap auto insurance policy add-on that provides protection against potential issues that could arise.

Car insurance companies have different requirements to qualify for comp-only insurance. Some providers will require policyholders to store their vehicles in protected storage facilities rather than on the street. Others mandate that you keep the car for at least six months or for some other extended period of time before you qualify for comp-only insurance.

Can I Drive With Parked Car Insurance?

It is illegal under all circumstances to drive your vehicle with comp-only insurance. At a bare minimum, state laws require bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability coverage for you to legally get behind the wheel. Liability insurance covers injuries and damages to other people or property after an at-fault accident.

Some states have more extensive minimum coverage requirements, so it’s possible that you’ll need uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection as well. Carefully check what your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV) mandates and add that coverage if you’re planning to take even a classic car or a salvage vehicle out for a rare drive.

Can I Suspend My Car Insurance?

Many people wonder whether they can suspend their car insurance policy without creating a lapse in coverage. While it may be possible to temporarily pause your auto coverage, it’s an extremely complicated process that’s actually illegal in many states.

Drivers would generally be better suited by dropping optional parts of their policy such as collision insurance. You’re opening yourself up to potential legal penalties if you suspend your proof of insurance on a car that you plan to drive again in the future.

When Do You Not Need Car Insurance?

It’s smart to always keep your vehicle insured, though you can legally not have car insurance in one instance. To drop your car coverage, get an affidavit of nonuse that allows your car to be legally uninsured if not driven.

Not all states have affidavits of nonuse, though large states such as California and Florida do. You likely won’t need to carry auto insurance if the form is approved, but it will then become illegal for your car to be driven under any circumstances.

Pros of Having Car Insurance

Although owners often wish they could drop insurance on their cars if they don’t drive them, there are advantages to having a policy. Below are some of the most significant:

  • It’s legally required under most circumstances.
  • It offers protection against theft and vandalism.
  • It covers man-made damages and environmental events.
  • Repairs could end up being paid for largely by your insurer.
  • Car insurance often saves drivers money in the long run.

Know that you’ll be required to show proof of insurance if you purchase a new car, have a lender for your vehicle or if you get a rental car. Even those who don’t have their own vehicles often pick up non-owner car insurance for the instances when they get behind the wheel.

The most important reason to have auto insurance on your car if you don’t drive it is because it’s illegal to reject coverage most of the time. For the majority of drivers, it’s not worth the potential legal penalties to try to opt out of an insurance policy.

Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance

Our top recommendations for cheap auto insurance policies are GEICO and Progressive. It’s smart to compare car insurance costs from multiple providers to find the most affordable premiums.

Another good move is to speak to insurance agents about potential discounts. Along with that, consider asking about ways to lower car insurance rates by dropping collision coverage or by increasing your deductible.

GEICO: Best Discounts

GEICO consistently ranks near the top of customer reviews for its exceptional car insurance coverage and impressive discounts. The company also offers some of the market’s cheapest auto insurance premiums, which could help out if you won’t be driving your car.

Progressive: Best for High-Risk Drivers

Progressive insurance reviews indicate that the company has strong reviews for those with alternative vehicle arrangements. It’s definitely worth checking with the provider to see if you could get a bargain rate on parked car insurance.

Car Storage Insurance: FAQ

Can you drive a car without insurance?

Under no circumstances can you drive without car insurance. Even if you’re just taking your vehicle for a spin around the neighborhood, it’s illegal to drive the car on public roads if you’re uninsured.

Is there an instance where I can save on insurance for a car I don’t drive?

You can get comprehensive-only insurance if your car is in storage or parked in a driveway or garage. This coverage will protect your vehicle from issues caused by fires, theft, vandalism and water damage. Your car needs comprehensive coverage even if you don’t drive it because there are risks of damage apart from collisions.

How can I be eligible for comprehensive insurance?

Most insurance companies require that you park your car in a storage facility to get comp-only insurance. Parking your car in a driveway or backyard won’t lead to the best coverage.

Our Methodology

Our expert review team takes satisfaction in providing accurate and unbiased information. We identified the following rating categories based on consumer survey data and conducted extensive research to formulate rankings of the best car insurance providers.

  • Affordability: A variety of factors influence cost, so it can be difficult to compare quotes between providers. Our team considers auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services and discount opportunities when giving this score.
  • Coverage: Because each consumer has unique needs, it’s essential that a car insurance company offers an array of coverage options. We take into account the types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
  • Industry Standing: Our team considers Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, financial strength, and years in business when giving this score.
  • Availability: Auto insurers with greater state availability and few eligibility requirements are more likely to meet consumer needs.
  • Customer Service: Reputable car insurance providers operate with a certain degree of care for consumers. We consider complaints filed with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), J.D. Power claims servicing scores, and customer feedback.
  • Online Experience: Insurers with easy-to-use websites and highly rated mobile apps scored best in this category.

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