Do I have to insure a car that’s just sitting?
My husband is deployed and will be gone for several months. We have two vehicles, one car and one SUV. I wanted to know if I can take the car off the insurance until he returns to save us some money. I don’t drive the car, so it just sits there. Is this possible?
Not only can you do so, it’s a smart idea. You’ll have to meet a few conditions, though.
First, you have to own the car outright. Any lender will insist that you carry comprehensive and collision coverage on the car to protect its interests; if you drop these coverages on a car that is financed, they will be notified and buy their own “forced-place” policy to protect your car at a very expensive rate.
Second, you’ll have to turn in your license plates. Why? Because any registered vehicle has to carry at least minimum liability insurance in nearly every state.
Third, your state may require you to file what’s called an affidavit of non-use, allowing you to legally own an unregistered and uninsured vehicle.
Fourth, you’ll also have to find a place to park the car besides a public road, even if it’s front of your house.
So, if you own the car, can turn in the plates and have a driveway or garage, you’re good. But what if you can’t do all of those things? You might try putting the car in storage. Many insurance companies offer substantial discounts – as much as 90 percent -- for deployed members whose vehicles are stored on base or in a storage facility.
Lastly, let your insurance company earn its keep. Talk to your agent or the company’s customer service team. They can spell out options that might include cutting back on coverage, greatly reducing the amount of mileage that is calculated into your rates, temporarily dropping your husband off the policy, or turning up a discount.
Des Toups is a writer, editor and expert on insurance, cars and personal finance. He has written extensively about all three for national publications such as MSN and major newspapers such as the Seattle Times. He has been quoted about insurance issues in The New York Times, USA Today and Kiplinger's.
Follow him on Twitter @destoups