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Car Storage Insurance: What You Need to Know for 2022

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Why you can trust Insurify

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Mallory Profeta

By: Mallory Profeta

Edited by Jackie Cohen

Updated September 15, 2022

Drivers put their vehicles in storage for a variety of reasons, from long-term travel to protecting an expensive sports car during the winter months. While there’s no federal legal requirement to maintain an insurance policy on a stored car, it’s wise (and maybe required) to keep coverage that protects the vehicle in case of non-collision damage like vandalism or severe weather.

We can help you understand your options for insuring and protecting a vehicle that’s stored or parked for a long period of time. You can probably save money by simply reducing your current coverage. And if you’re shopping for a new auto insurance policy, Insurify’s free, easy price-comparison tool gives you quotes from multiple insurance companies at once.

Quick Facts

  • There’s no federal law that requires auto insurance on motor vehicles that are kept in storage or not driven.

  • However, there *are* reasons you might want or need to keep at least some type of insurance on your stored car.

  • The good news is you can likely reduce your insurance premiums while still maintaining essential coverage.

Reasons to Keep Car Insurance Coverage for Stored Cars

Do I need insurance for a car in storage?

Legally, no, a car not being driven does not need to be insured. However, to protect against theft or damage, insurance is always a good idea.

You might be tempted to completely cancel the insurance on a car you’re not using so that you don’t have to keep paying the premium. But completely scrapping your auto coverage could cost you much more in the long run, and it might not even be allowed depending on where you live and if you have a loan on the car. Here’s why:

Property damage can happen to your vehicle even if you’re not driving it. What if you’re storing a car in your garage and a tree falls and flattens your vehicle, or someone breaks in and vandalizes it? Odds are, homeowners insurance won’t cover those things. Keeping insurance on your vehicle while it’s stored makes sure it’s still protected.

If you’ve taken out a car loan for your vehicle, your lender might require that you maintain auto insurance—full coverage—even if you’re storing it or not driving it for an extended period of time. Check with your loan company about their requirements.

If you cancel your plan entirely and later try to buy a new plan, insurance providers will be able to see that you’ve had a gap in your coverage, and this will suggest to them that you’re high-risk to insure. The outcome? You’ll have higher premiums on your future auto insurance.

Luckily, there’s a good chance you can at least reduce your coverage so that you still get the essential protection you need but at a lower cost than your current car insurance policy. Talk to your insurance agent about options through your current company, or if you need a new plan, you can start shopping with Insurify’s price-comparison tool.

See More: Best Car Insurance Companies

Car Storage Insurance Options

There’s not a specific type of coverage called car storage insurance or parked car insurance. Usually, these terms simply refer to what’s known as comprehensive insurance—coverage for damage that’s not caused by a collision/wreck but by things like natural disasters, theft, or vandalism. If you’re not driving the vehicle at all, this is theoretically the only coverage you need.

A good rule of thumb is that if you’re keeping your car parked for more than a month, you might not need “full coverage” and thus might be able to drop or reduce some parts of your insurance, like collision, liability, and uninsured motorist coverage. Reducing your policy, especially to comprehensive only, will lower the cost of your premiums but keep your protection.

Before reducing auto insurance coverage on your stored vehicle, it’s important to check your state’s minimum requirements so that you don’t accidentally end up with less coverage than legally mandated. And remember to restore appropriate coverage before driving the vehicle again. Driving without the right insurance isn’t only illegal—it could ruin your finances, too.

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What Comprehensive Insurance Costs and Covers

An auto insurance policy typically includes one or more components that cover different things and situations. Comprehensive coverage is the part of a policy that helps pay for repairs or replacement if the vehicle is damaged while not in use. It’s very important to note that you cannot drive a vehicle if it has only comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive coverage is useful because it applies to damage resulting from a variety of risks that could endanger a vehicle even while it’s parked or in storage, including:

This type of coverage might be optional for you, but it’s often wise to have it, whether the vehicle is in storage or not. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of comprehensive insurance is only $134 per year. Since this insurance could theoretically replace your car in the event of a catastrophe, it’s a lot of coverage for not much money.

Some insurers will require proof that your vehicle has been in storage for at least 30 days before allowing you to reduce your policy to comprehensive coverage only.

See More: Car Insurance Quotes

How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Storage

This depends on where you’re leaving it, for how long, and what type of maintenance will be provided during storage. For example, are you leaving it in your cousin’s driveway for a year, or in a full-service storage facility for three months? Regardless of location or duration, be sure to remove all valuables from the vehicle.

No matter where it’s stored, you should change the oil and refill all the vehicle fluids like antifreeze, coolant, wiper fluid, and brake fluid. You also need to fill the gas tank, add a fuel stabilizing product, and then drive for about 40 miles before leaving it parked or in storage. If you’re not connecting the battery to a tender for the duration of storage, remove it.

You’ll also need to decide whether to remove the car’s tires and store it on blocks or leave the tires on. If keeping them on, add 10 extra pounds of pressure to each. And if you’re storing the vehicle outdoors—even in a covered location—invest in a well-fitting, weather-proof cover. Be sure to plug/cover openings like tailpipes so insects or animals can’t make their way inside.

See More: Cheap Car Insurance

Considerations If You Do Cancel Your Coverage

If you’ve decided to cancel your coverage completely (for example, if the vehicle is no longer running and you don’t intend to repair it), you need to cancel your vehicle registration first so that you don’t have any gaps in coverage. Insurance gaps can result in higher premiums when you try to reinstate coverage, whether you’re working with the same insurer or a different one.

Depending on where you live, if you entirely cancel your auto insurance, you might also be required to return the vehicle’s license plates to the local department of motor vehicles. Check your state’s rules regarding registration cancellation and car insurance mandates.

Long Story Short: Keep Essential Coverage on Stored Vehicles

You’ll probably want or need some type of vehicle insurance even if your car’s parking brake will be engaged for a while. Comprehensive coverage is a popular choice because it costs less than full coverage but still protects your car against non-collision damages that can happen during storage. But check your lender and state’s requirements before changing your insurance.

If you’re already insured, contact your current company to ask about coverage options if you’re planning to store your vehicle or if it will be out of commission for more than a month. If you’re shopping for a new plan, make it easy with Insurify’s free price-comparison tool. You’ll get personalized quotes from multiple car insurance companies in your area at once.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • First, consider the level of protection you want. Do you need an indoor or covered storage unit, or are you OK with keeping the vehicle outdoors? Also, look at the security and other services that storage facilities might offer, like routine maintenance. As with all shopping, ask around and read online reviews before deciding where to spend your money.

  • You’ll need to work with both the storage facility and your car insurance provider to determine who is responsible for covering the losses. Depending on the details of the situation, you might need to file an insurance claim.

  • Insurance rates are determined by many factors, including your insurance history. To save on premiums, consider raising your deductible or bundling with your home insurance or life insurance. Call your insurance agency and ask about any discounts you might be eligible for. And always shop around! Compare plans and get insurance quotes from multiple companies.

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  • Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.

Mallory Profeta
Mallory Profeta

Insurance Writer

Mal Profeta is a writer, editor, educator, and public health advocate. They serve as the communications director of an NIH-funded clinical and translational science research center that focuses on addressing health disparities in Appalachia. A former Fulbright recipient, they hold a bachelor's degree from Transylvania University and a master's from New York University.

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