Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • If you put your car in storage for extended periods of time, you’ll need to review your car insurance policy
  • It’s pertinent that you keep all of the mandatory coverage on your car if it’s registered while in storage
  • Whenever you’re storing a car with a suspended registration, you can save money and purchase storage insurance
  • Car storage insurance is specifically for cars that will be parked and need physical damage coverage
  • You can suspend your insurance to keep your loyalty discount and reinstate it when the car is ready to be driven

Do you have a car that you won’t dare drive in the winter? Are you going to be out of the country for the entire summer season?

If you’re planning on storing your car for an extended period of time, you may not need to purchase the same auto insurance that every other vehicle owner is expected to carry. Auto insurance is mandatory on most vehicles, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

It’s up to you as a consumer to find out when you have the right to buy reduced coverage limits and when you’ll have to maintain the state requirements.

Compare car insurance premiums today to make sure you have the coverage you need for the best rate.

If you remove coverage on your stored car before qualifying for the exception, you could have lapses to answer for. Here’s what you need to know about insuring a stored vehicle:

You Must Maintain Insurance on Registered Vehicles

If your car is registered, you need to maintain the required insurance on the vehicle. Not only do drivers have to be licensed to drive, vehicles have to be licensed by their owners to be driven.

As long as you’re driving a vehicle on a public road or parking in a public lot, you need valid tags on the car or it could be towed and impounded.

As long as your car is registered it must be insured. In some states, you can choose another method to prove that you’re financially responsibility other than buying insurance.

You will need to check your state’s auto insurance laws to determine how much insurance you must carry and what alternatives are available.

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Can you suspend your registration on your vehicle?

It seems like a waste of time and money to register a vehicle that you’re not planning on driving in the near future. If you already have tags and they are about to renew, you do have the option to suspend your tags.

It may not be called a suspension but instead filing for a Planned Non-Operation (PNO) status.

Placing your registration on hold can be referred to as filing for a Planned Non-Op or submitting an Affidavit of Non-Use.

No matter what it’s called, the process of changing your registration status is usually the same.

Most states require you to file the application when you registration renews. In most instances, you’re given 90 days after the expiration date of your tags to submit the application and the PNO fee.

Removing Insurance from Vehicles with a Non-Use Status

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You’re allowed to remove your insurance from your vehicle as long as you’ve filed the car as a PNO or submitted a non-use affidavit. You won’t be penalized for removing the coverage on the vehicle as long as you’re not caught driving the car or parking it in public.

When that happens, you could be cited for no registration and no insurance.

If you’re going to be storing a vehicle that’s financed or leased, the requirements for insurance are a bit different. You can’t remove insurance off of the car because you must carry comprehensive and collision at all times.

Insurers will offer your comprehensive on a stored car but not collision.

Not only do you have to have the physical damage coverage options on your car, but you also have to maintain high limits of liability coverage when the car is leased. This is why you never have the option to buy storage car insurance on cars that are currently being leased.

Can you buy car storage insurance if you don’t have coverage?

If you currently don’t have any insurance on your car, the first thing that you should do is look for a specialty storage policy. These policies include strictly comprehensive coverage for the vehicle so that it has protection while it’s on private property or in a storage shed.

Not all companies will offer new customers a storage policy. These carriers will only sell complete policies to their clients and then change the policy to a storage plan at their request.

You’ll have to do some shopping around to find carriers with more lenient new business underwriting guidelines.

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How can you change your existing auto insurance to meet your needs?

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If you currently have a full-fledged insurance policy in place on a stored vehicle, you could go about changing your auto insurance to lower your premiums.

It might not be called a storage insurance endorsement when you’re making the change. Instead, you will suspend the liability insurance and other options that you only need while the car is being operated.

If you’re going to cancel your insurance on a stored car, think twice even when you don’t need the comprehensive coverage.

By suspending the policy, you’ll still have the same policy number and the same inception date.

Here are some of the benefits of suspending coverage:

  • You’ll get the same loyalty credits that you were getting before without suspending the coverage.
  • It’s easy. You could easily pick up the phone and call your agent to reactive your liability coverage and change the status of your policy in a day.
  • It’s fast. As long as you call the day before you plan on driving, you’ll have your old coverage back in the blink of an eye and you can be billed for the change later.

You can buy car insurance for a stored car under the right circumstances. Make sure that you’re comparing premiums for storage insurance before binding a new policy.

If you do cancel your insurance, you can use an online rate comparison tool to activate a new plan before you’re going to buy a new plan. Always shop around before you commit to paying too much for insurance. Enter your zip code below to shop around and compare!