Are you hoping to store a vehicle long-term but have questions about your auto insurance? This is the number one concern car-owners have when it comes to storing their vehicles — and we see why!
It can be confusing to know whether or not to cancel insurance, alter it, or leave it be while your car is in storage. In this post, we’ll discuss what optimal insurance coverage for a stored car looks like, and we’ll also get into the maintenance steps you’ll need to take prior to putting your car away.
Should You Cancel Your Policy While Your Vehicle’s in Storage?
In a word, no. That’s because, for the most part, vehicle insurance is in place to protect your car whether it’s being driven regularly or not.
Let’s look at comprehensive coverage, for example. Every vehicle should have comprehensive insurance whether it’s in storage or not.
Comprehensive insurance protects against unexpected events that could occur at any time — while your car is on the street, in a garage, driving down the highway, at a storage facility, or anywhere else. Areas of coverage for comprehensive plans include fire, theft, vandalism, building collapse, and “acts of God.” You’ll want to keep this coverage to protect yourself and your finances.
Also remember that if you have a classic or collectible car, the type of auto insurance you have may not allow for “slicing and dicing” of the policy. In fact, many car insurance policies for these types of cars assume that your classic car isn’t being driven regularly anyway.
Now let’s look at collision and liability coverage. It seems like you wouldn’t need these areas of coverage while your vehicle is in storage. On the other hand, you cannot remove collision coverage if you have a loan out on your vehicle; lenders prohibit it in most cases.
If your car is paid off, you can certainly remove collision coverage in some situations, but just remember that you might not be saving as much as you anticipate. If you’re only going to store your car for a few months, for example, the savings will likely be nominal.
How to Keep Your Car Safe During Storage
In addition to keeping comprehensive insurance around to protect your vehicle while it’s being stored, you’ll want to prepare your vehicle properly as well. This means taking care of the fuel and fluid levels, oil and filter, tires, inside and outside surfaces, and more. We recommend following these basic steps.
- Check all fluids. Fill up the antifreeze, steering wheel fluid, coolant, wiper fluid, and others. Most importantly, don’t forget to change the oil and remove and replace the air filter.
- Put the car in park. But do not put on the parking brake. This can cause damage to your brake pads. Instead, turn the wheels to prevent the car from moving.
- Fill up the gas tank. Add a product like STA-BIL (fuel stabilizer).
- Whether you can remove the car battery or not; hook it up to a battery tender to preserve its juice.
- Inflate all of the tires.
- Protect your vehicle from rodents by strategically placing cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil (or mothballs) in and around your vehicle.
- And finally, take care when choosing where to store your vehicle. Always choose a clean, dry, safe place with good ventilation and a slim chance of rodent infestation or problems with the elements.
At Smith Insurance and Financial Services, our friendly and knowledgeable agents are ready to help you with any questions you may have concerning auto insurance. Visit our office today or give us a call to find out more!