What Is Car Storage Insurance?
Unlike traditional auto insurance, car storage insurance offers a product that allows you to protect vehicles that are not being driven currently. While some people don’t bother to insure cars that are stored or parked, laws mandate this coverage in many places. Not only that, but it still makes sense to protect your asset, even if you’re not out on the road.
After all, several things could happen to a vehicle, even in storage. Despite the best security, you could face the risk of theft or someone breaking into your vehicle. It could also be affected by damage to the storage location or natural disasters. What kind of cars can benefit from this insurance?
There are plenty of instances where people can opt for storage insurance rather than a standard insurance policy:
- Backup/secondary cars
- Project cars and cars being restored
- Vehicles of those who are being deployed for the military or leaving for work or school for an extended period and will not need their vehicle
Remember, just because you’re not driving your vehicle doesn’t mean that it’s “safe” in storage—it should be, but are you willing to take the risk? Read on to learn everything that you need to know about “storage insurance” and what it can do for you.
What is Parked Car Insurance?
Parked car insurance is basically the same thing as car storage insurance. It’s comprehensive coverage that can protect a vehicle from plenty of instances of damage or loss while it is parked and not being driven. Some people think that “nothing will happen” when their vehicle is parked, and while the chances are certainly lower, they aren’t nonexistent. Therefore, you need to protect your car by making sure that you have enough insurance and the right kind of coverage.
Comprehensive coverage is what technically covers parked and stored cars. There is no actual “parked car” or “car storage” insurance policy or coverage. Comprehensive coverage offers protection from various events and situations when it is not being driven, such as when it is parked or in storage. Some of those instances include:
- Hail/Storm Damage
- Tree Falling on Car
- Theft/Stolen Vehicle
- Unidentified Impact Damage
The last one is kind of tricky—technically, if a moving car hits yours when it’s parked, it falls under that driver’s collision coverage. However, if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run or you have damage on your vehicle, such as a broken mirror or windshield, and the cause cannot be specifically determined, your comprehensive insurance will provide coverage to repair the damages.
What is Car Storage Insurance?
Car storage insurance is another product that provides comprehensive coverage for cars that are stored or not being driven. Those who have cars that are being stored during restoration, military deployment, certain seasons, or even just because they’re not driven regularly, will still want to protect those vehicles, as discussed above. If you’re storing a vehicle in a garage or enclosed space, it will typically be at lower risk than being out in the open, but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely safe.
Comprehensive coverage will allow you to keep your car protected when you’re not using it. As long as a car is going to be parked for longer than 30 days, most insurance companies will allow you to drop all your car insurance coverage except the comprehensive protection. This is a great way to save money while your vehicle is being stored and still make sure that it’s protected. There’s no sense in paying for the rest of your auto insurance coverage if you’re not using it, after all.
This coverage can protect stored cars from all of the issues above, as well as from anything related to damage caused by the facility where it is stored or cover you in the case of just about any other damage that occurs while the car is in storage. This coverage excludes:
- Wear and tear or mechanical failures
- Road damage
- Intentional damage
- Catastrophic events
- Personal contents stolen or damaged in the vehicle
- Any non-installed electronic equipment
- Custom equipment without an endorsement
Of course, if your vehicle is just being stored, you shouldn’t leave any personal effects or expensive electronics inside, so that will eliminate that risk. You’re also not going to see road damage or wear and tear. Your biggest concern here will be that you won’t have coverage in the event of some catastrophes or if you have custom equipment and don’t have additional coverage.
Do Parked Vehicles Need to Be Insured?
Parked and stored vehicles absolutely need to be insured. Not only is it the law in most states, but it protects your investment. Comprehensive coverage for parked cars and stored cars can cost as little as $20 per month, so it doesn’t make sense not to purchase coverage. The exact price that you pay will depend on your chosen coverage amount and deductible, as well as other factors.
The benefits of insuring parked and stored cars include:
- Protection from damage caused by a hit-and-run or unknown source. If your vehicle is parked or stored and is hit by another car or object that causes damage, your insurance will cover it when you don’t know the cause or can’t hold someone else accountable.
- Protection from the risk of theft and vandalism, except for personal belongings left in the vehicle. Even though you can call the police and report the crime, the offender isn’t likely to return the items stolen or pay for the damages. Even if the court requires it, it will take a long time to get the money you are owed. Thus, comprehensive coverage can pay for the repairs in the meantime.
- Compliance with the law. If nothing else, it is illegal and in poor form to leave a car uninsured even if it’s being stored or parked for an extended period. Most states have insurance laws that require vehicles to be covered in all situations and will outline the requirements accordingly. If you want to make sure that you aren’t breaking any laws, keep your vehicle insured at all times, even if only with comprehensive protection.
The best thing to do is to talk to your insurance agent about this coverage and your situation to determine the best course of action to take with your auto insurance. That way, you can have the peace of mind that you have the ideal coverage in any case.
How to Shop for Parked Car Insurance
Now that you understand the importance of this coverage, let’s discuss how to purchase it. For starters, if you already have a “full coverage” policy or an insurance policy with additional coverage beyond comprehensive protection, you may be able to just scale back what you have. Then, you can stay loyal to your insurance company and enjoy discounts based on your history and other perks.
Of course, if you are looking for better rates or coverage, or if you don’t already have insurance on the vehicle for some reason, you’ll be able to shop around and compare rates on parked car insurance. Any company that offers auto insurance coverage will be able to write you a comprehensive-only policy to protect your car while it’s in long-term storage or parked. However, that doesn’t mean that every policy is worth buying—you’ll want to make sure that you do your homework.
Choose Reputable Insurance Providers
Your first job is to make sure that you only look at quotes from reputable insurance companies by comparison shopping on a reputable website. It doesn’t matter if discount-auto [dot] biz has $10/month parked car insurance if it doesn’t actually provide coverage. Or worse, if the company isn’t going to be there when you inevitably need to file a claim. Pay attention here because reputation counts for everything with car insurance.
Explain Your Situation and Needs
Of course, you can’t talk to online quote comparison platforms, but you should have enough options to pick and choose your situational elements and the coverage that you need. If you prefer, you can call and speak to an agent or get on live chat and talk to them about your storage or parked car situation to ensure that you get the best coverage and more importantly, the correct coverage.
Check the Coverage Amount and Deductible
Too often, people focus on the premium when they are getting auto insurance quotes. Yes, your monthly payment matters, but it doesn’t matter at all unless it gives you enough coverage and a deductible that you can afford. Would you rather pay an extra $5-$10 each month, or shell out $1,000 for a deductible before coverage kicks in?
If possible, keep the deductible between $100 and $250 so that you have a minimal out-of-pocket expense. If you’re only getting storage insurance (comprehensive coverage), it should be affordable to get a lot of coverage with a low deductible.
Compare What You’re Getting for the Money
When you are comparison shopping for car storage insurance (which you should be), you will want to compare what coverage you are getting and how much it costs. Check each policy for exclusions and any required endorsements you might need. Make sure that the deductibles match or that you know the variance—you’ll want to be comparing “apples to apples” as much as possible. That way, you can truly know that you’re getting the best comprehensive insurance for your stored or parked vehicle.
Double-Check Any Exclusions
We just mentioned it, but it’s worth mentioning again. Check and double-check the policy for exclusions from coverage, potential special endorsements you might need, and any other fine print that could impact your coverage or impede the claims process. You don’t want to purchase an auto insurance policy now only to realize when you need it that it’s not going to pay, after all.
Check Reviews of Service and Claims Processing
Again, it doesn’t matter what you’re paying for if you aren’t getting the protection that you deserve. You’ll want to check the insurance provider’s claim processing history, customer service reviews, and other insights to ensure that they will be there when you need them. Filing a car insurance claim, even for a stored or parked car, can be quite a hassle. When you’ve got an insurance company on your side that’s going to take care of everything, it can be a lot less stressful.
Not only that, but companies that drag their feet about paying claims or that aren’t reliable in terms of customer service don’t deserve your business anyway. There are plenty of great insurance companies out there with top-quality service and a track record of expedient, reliable claims processing. Stick with them.
Your Next Steps
Take the time to consider all the information that we’ve covered here. Think about how car storage insurance could save you money on your premiums and still give you the protection that you need. Consider why you shouldn’t be overpaying for insurance that you aren’t using and talk to your insurance provider or agent about how you can scale back or buy a new comprehensive-only policy.
When you’re shopping for insurance quotes, check the information carefully to make sure that it’s a policy with only comprehensive coverage. Many online quote platforms make it hard to shop for bits and pieces of insurance like this, but it’s not impossible. All that you have to do is input the information about the type of insurance that you need, and you’ll be on your way.
If you’re transitioning in life or with your vehicles and need new coverage just for storage or parked vehicles, it’s a good time to revisit your policy and shop around to ensure that you’re still getting the best rates. This is a smart way to save money and it might help you find a better insurance provider in the meantime. Even if you don’t find better coverage or rates, you’ll at least have the peace of mind in knowing that you checked. Start comparing car storage insurance rates now.