What is parked car insurance?

Parked car insurance, also known as storage coverage, is a way to insure a vehicle that will be parked for an extended period of time. Rather than provide full coverage, these plans are comprehensive-only coverage policies. They cover things like:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Flooding and hail damage
  • Glass breakage
  • Damage caused by an animal

In other words, your car will only be covered for things that could conceivably happen while your car is parked. You won't have liability coverage or collision coverage, which protect against damage that occurs while driving.

The biggest benefit of switching to storage coverage is that your premiums could be much lower, especially if you currently have full coverage. With parked-car insurance, you drop liability and collision coverage.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you have parked car insurance, your car should be parked in a location away from traffic – preferably in your own private garage. If you plan to park on a public road, you generally must have liability insurance, which parked car insurance usually does not include.

Do you need auto insurance for a parked vehicle?

Generally speaking, you should have insurance for every car you own, even if the vehicle is parked. There are a couple of reasons for this.

For one, although damage to a parked vehicle is unlikely, it could still happen. Consider the damages mentioned in the previous section, such as hail damage. If you have the car parked in your driveway, there is still a chance of dents and broken windows.

The other consideration is whether you intend to use your car again at some point in the future. If you let your insurance lapse, insurers might see you as a higher risk and increase your rates when you open a new policy. You could even have trouble obtaining insurance altogether.

Unless you don't intend to drive the car again, going uninsured is almost never a good idea.

What type of coverage do you need for a parked car?

The type of coverage you need for a parked car depends on the car itself, as mentioned in the previous section. For instance, if you have a car that is seven years old and you own it outright, you might be able to have your insurer switch you to a comprehensive-only insurance policy.

But if the car is newer and not fully paid off, or is a lease, you might have no choice but to maintain full coverage. Your insurer can help you determine what options are available to you.

How to get parked car insurance

Parked car insurance isn't something you can typically find easily by visiting your insurance provider's website. Instead, you will probably have to call the insurer and ask about storage coverage. You might have to have yourcar parked for 30 days before you can switch to parked car insurance, although that isn't always the case.

Here are some general parked-car insurance guidelines:

  • You need to own the vehicle and not be paying it off. If you are currently leasing, or your car is not paid off, you probably won't be able to switch to parked car insurance.
  • You need to be fully insured. In order to comply with state laws, you should have full coverage or at least liability before you switch to parked car insurance.
  • You may need to cancel your registration. In most states, you must have liability coverage if your car is registered. Because parked car insurance doesn't include liability coverage, you will want to cancel your registration first.
  • You need to find out if you can get this coverage. Call your insurance provider. When you are ready to make the switch, give your insurer a call. You may not be able to switch your coverage online.

What happens if someone hits your parked car?

The idea with parked car insurance is that your car will be in a private location, away from cars that might be able to bump into it. Comprehensive-only insurance doesn't cover this situation, so you may have to pay for any damages out of pocket in this scenario.

If someone does hit your parked car, your options might be limited. Say your car is sitting in a parking garage, and someone in the garage hits your car. If there is security footage showing their license plate, you can file a claim under the offender's liability property damage coverage – assuming they have it.

If they don't have insurance, or you aren't able to find out who the person is, you may end up having to pay for the cost yourself.

Auto insurance FAQs

Can I file a claim with insurance for a parked car?

You can and insurance claim for a parked car provided that you have an active policy and you are covered for the cause of the damage. For instance, if you only have storage coverage but your car is parked on the street and there is a hit-and-run, you won't be covered.

Do you have to insure a car that is not being driven?

In general, yes. Every state except New Hampshire requires at least liability insurance. One way around this is to cancel your vehicle's registration while it is not in use. However, this leaves you vulnerable to any damages that occur while you are away.

Can I cancel storage coverage for my parked vehicle?

You can't always cancel storage coverage for a parked vehicle. If you are still making payments on the car, or if it's a lease, you may not be able to cancel. And even if you can cancel coverage, you might end up with higher rates if you intend to resume coverage later.