What Is Car Storage Insurance?

Definition & Examples of Storage Insurance

Man smiling and looking out of the window of his car

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You might think about saving on insurance if you don't plan on driving your car for a while. A car storage policy is just comprehensive insurance. It will cover anything that could happen to your car while it's parked or stored away.

Just because you're not driving your car doesn't mean nothing can happen to it. Learn why you need storage insurance and if you can use it. Find out when it can come in handy.

What Is Car Storage Insurance?

There's no auto insurance called "storage insurance." It's a kind of slang term people often use to describe the least insurance coverage needed for cars that aren't being driven.

You can often drop or reduce insurance that covers events while driving if your car is parked in storage for a time and you never drive it. In the best case, you can go with only comprehensive coverage. But some states will not allow you to only have comprehensive coverage, even if you're not using your car. The same goes for lenders if you have a lien against the car, such as an auto loan.

If you can't drop liability, uninsured motorist, collision, or other coverage, you can at least reduce them while your car is in storage.

  • Alternate name: Parked car insurance

What Does Car Storage Insurance Cover?

Comprehensive coverage is all you'll need for a car in storage if your state allows it. This protects it against fire, theft, building collapse, vandalism, and any other damage that could happen to the vehicle while it's sitting still.

You'll only have to pay the cost of your policy deductible if you have comp insurance and your parked car is damaged due to any of these events.

People often assume that a car would be covered by their homeowner's insurance if damage occurs in their garage. This isn't the case. You may be able to add such a rider to your auto policy, but you'll still have to have comp coverage for your vehicle in most cases.

How Does Car Storage Insurance Work?

Talk to your agent about options for your policy if you decide that you won't be driving your car for a while. Maybe you'll be out of the country, or you can all share one car within your household. Your agent should be able to help you minimize your nonessential coverage while staying on the right side of your state's law.

At the very least, you'll need comprehensive coverage if you don't want to be financially responsible for damages to your car while it's stored away. You can file a claim with your agent if you have a comp policy in place and something happens to your parked car.

Your insurer will send an adjuster to assess the damage, so make sure you document everything with pictures. You should be present so you can show the adjuster what happened.

Your state will also cancel your registration if it allows you to cancel liability insurance while your car is in storage. You would no longer be allowed to drive the vehicle. You'll often have to turn in your license plates. Plus, you might have to store the car in a locked facility, not on the street.

Switching to Car Storage Insurance

Most car insurers allow coverage to be changed at any time during a policy period. Sometimes physical damage coverage—including comprehensive coverage—can be frozen from being added to a policy if a major natural disaster is on the way, such as a flood. You would not be able to add comp coverage to a vehicle at this time.

Contact your agent as soon as you know you won't be driving for a period of time.

When to Get Car Storage Insurance

Putting a car in storage is great if you have more than one vehicle and you only drive one of them. It's most often done with sports cars that don't handle well in the winter months, or are too costly to leave out in the elements. Or maybe you've inherited an auto and you're not driving it. Comp coverage is the perfect answer. It's often very affordable.

The key thing to remember about putting a vehicle in storage is to call your agent to add coverage back when you will be driving the car again. The last thing you need is a collision with no car insurance coverage in place.

Storage insurance is best for seasonal savings. Trying to save a few bucks by switching coverage biweekly could cost you big if you forget and drive a vehicle without the proper coverage.

Alternatives to Car Storage Insurance

You have a few options for reducing your insurance coverage when you're driving less or not at all. Your agent can help you decide on the one that works best for you. Of course, the best thing to do is sell the car you're not driving if you really want to save money.

Key Takeaways

  • There is no specific "car storage insurance" policy. The term is shorthand for minimizing your coverage while your car is stored away.
  • You will need comprehensive insurance to be covered against events that might happen in storage.
  • State laws vary in terms of whether you can drop other forms of car insurance.