Can you suspend car insurance?

Suspending coverage means you might also have to suspend or cancel your car’s registration and then, if you want to put the car back on the road later on, reinstate it. Some states have a procedure for doing this, but it might be more of a hassle than it's worth.

And it might not even be possible; your insurance company may or may not allow you to suspend your car insurance coverage.

Finally, if you financed your car, be sure to check the loan documents. Lenders require you to carry insurance on the vehicle and generally don't allow coverage suspensions.

What are the consequences of suspending your car insurance coverage?

Before taking any action on your existing car insurance coverage, it’s important to consider the consequences of suspending that coverage. Although the car will be safe from traffic accidents because you won't be driving it, it could still be at risk for damage from other causes, such as a hailstorm, flood, or vandalism. Or, it could be stolen, especially if parked outside an unoccupied house for months. Comprehensive insurance protects you in case of theft or damage from events other than traffic wrecks.

Because of these risks, suspending the entire policy is probably a bad idea. If you're keen on suspending it, see if you can suspend portions of the policy and maintain comprehensive-only insurance or storage insurance.

It's important to know that you should never simply stop paying your bills and let the insurer cancel the policy. Insurers will consider you a bigger risk with a canceled insurance policy due to nonpayment on your record. You'll pay higher premiums as a result once you're ready to purchase another car insurance policy – even if you go through a different company.

What are the alternatives to suspending your car insurance?

Instead of suspending your liability coverage while your vehicle's not in use, you can consider other options. Here are two:

  • Reducing your coverage - lowering the liability limits and removing add-on/optional coverages like roadside assistance.
  • Switching to usage-based coverage - choosing coverage that is based on car usage, including pay-per-mile programs.

Finally, take the time to shop around. You might find a much cheaper policy that gives you the coverage you need within your budget.