What Is Storage Insurance for Cars?

Car in warehouse, covered in bubble wrap
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Putting your car in storage is a great way to save money on car insurance. Not everyone understands how to use storage effectively to save the most cash and still stay protected. Get a great overview of why storage insurance is a great option, who can use it, and when it can come in handy.

Comprehensive Coverage

Technically, there is not a car insurance coverage called storage insurance. It is actually kind of a slang term people often use because it is the coverage selected when cars are put into "storage." In other words, for the purposes of thinking about insurance, a car that’s in storage is one that is not being driven for an extended period of time. If you aren’t driving your car a lot, even if you only typically have liability insurance, it’s a good idea to up your ante to a premium type of coverage.

The coverage we are talking about is comprehensive coverage.

But why would you want to spend more money on your vehicle when you’re not even driving it? The short answer: because accidents can always happen. Comprehensive protects a stored vehicle against fire, theft, building collapse, vandalism, and any other damage that could possibly happen to the vehicle while sitting still. Did you know home insurance never automatically covers any kind of damage to automobiles? It may be possible to get a special rider for a stored car on a home policy, but most companies do not offer it.

So that means, if your garage has a fire, only an auto insurance policy will cover automobiles. The longer answer: if the car is truly in storage, you can let your liability coverage lapse, meaning it isn’t really a more expensive option in the end.

Who Can Put Their Car In Storage?

Most insurance carriers will not allow a single vehicle car insurance policy to have comprehensive coverage only. Reducing all other coverage to none, and eliminating the legally-required (in most states), liability coverage requires the vehicle not to be driven on any public roads. Even if it is true, you won't be driving your vehicle, insurance policies are not set up that way. Anyone with a car insurance policy should have one actively driven vehicle unless you have a non-owners policy in which case you would not be the owner of any vehicle including an undriveable one.

Confused yet? Simply put, the named insured must have more than one vehicle on a car insurance policy in order to put one in storage. Why? Well, I do not make up the rules, I just write about them.

When Can I Put My Car In Storage?

Most car insurance policies allow coverage to be changed at any time during a policy period. Sometimes physical damage coverage including comprehensive coverage can be frozen from being added to a policy, if a major natural disaster is on the way, such as a hurricane. At this time, you would not be able to add comprehensive coverage to a vehicle.

When Should I Put My Car In Storage?

Just because you can does not mean you should put your car in storage. Putting a vehicle in storage is great for those people who have multiple vehicles and only drive one per season. It is most often used for sports cars which do not handle well in the winter months or are too valuable to have out in the elements. Maybe you inherited a vehicle and are not driving it currently or maybe you want to wait to sell a vehicle yet want it protected against possible damage. Comprehensive coverage is the perfect solution because it is usually very affordable.

The most important thing to remember about putting a vehicle in storage is to call your insurance agent to add coverage back on when it is going to be driven. Even if it is a one-time drive a short distance from your home to the body shop or wherever, call your insurance agent! The last thing you need is a collision with no car insurance coverage.

It is not recommended to take a vehicle in and out of storage frequently. This is how mistakes get made. Storage insurance is best for seasonal savings. Trying to save a few bucks by switching coverage biweekly could cost you big if you forget and drive a vehicle without the proper coverage.

Make smart decisions with your car insurance coverage. Reducing coverage when a vehicle is not in use is a great way to save money on car insurance. Use it to your advantage and remember to always check your coverage before heading out on the road for the first time.