Do You Need Insurance for a Vehicle You Don’t Drive?

Many people own at least one vehicle that isn't on the road much or at all. They may keep a valuable car in storage for now or they may work on an old beater in their spare time to get it functional again. Maybe they have a car they only drive in the summertime. If you're in a situation like this, you may wonder whether you have to carry car insurance on a vehicle you don't actually use. The answer typically involves whether you keep the vehicle registered and what your particular state laws are.  

What Do State Laws Say?

Depending on the state where you live, the law may mandate that you carry liability insurance for every vehicle you have registered. Other states allow you to cancel coverage or let your coverage lapse for vehicles that aren't on the road. 

If your state requires insurance for registered vehicles, insurers in these states typically must inform the department of motor vehicles if policies lapse or are canceled on those cars and trucks. You can't simply hope the DMV doesn't find out.

Why Do Some States Require This Insurance?

You don't have to renew registration on any of your vehicles if you don't plan to drive them for a while. However, as long as you have current license plate tags, the DMV in some states assumes you may very well drive that car or truck—even if you don't plan to.

If your primary vehicle breaks down, for instance, it may simply be too convenient to use the other one for a day or two. Drivers figure the risk of an accident is extremely low and that running around without insurance for a couple of days can't hurt, but if they do get into a collision, they are in for trouble.

Is There Any Way to Avoid the Expense?

Some states allow drivers to cancel their vehicle registration if they won't be driving the automobile. If that's the case where you live, you then can cancel your insurance, too. However, as soon as you want to drive the car or truck again, you'll need to pay for registration renewal. Doing this can cost more than keeping a minimum amount of liability coverage on the vehicle.

Contact auto insurance agents in your area, like from United Security Agency, and find out whether any companies offer low-cost policies for vehicles that are registered but not on the road. You may find a storage policy option, for example. Keep in mind that with this type of policy, your vehicle will probably have to be stored somewhere secure, not just parked in your driveway.