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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joshua is a copywriter at Obrella who for more than 10 years has been creating content about insurance, health care, and more. He helps companies explain complex insurance subjects in simple ways so that customers can make smart buying decisions. He spends way too much time binge-watching Netflix, loves the outdoors and has a cat who tolerates him.

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Reviewed by Joshua Adamson
Joshua Adamson

UPDATED: Feb 10, 2016

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Do I Need to Insure My Car If I Am Not Using It?

If you have a car that you’re not using, it might be tempting to try to save some money by cancelling the insurance policy on it. However, the risks involved can end up costing far more than any savings you might get from not paying premiums.

A Lapse in Coverage

If, for any reason, you are not going to use a vehicle for a certain period of time, and you decide to cancel insurance, it will result in what’s called a “lapse in coverage.” A lapse in coverage is a serious thing and makes you a higher risk to insure.

Insurance companies have no way of knowing that you were out of the country for the past three months and that’s why you weren’t using your car. They may wonder if the car incurred some damage and that is why you are now seeking insurance. If this happens, your former insurer may not be willing to extend another policy to you, and you may end up needing a high-risk policy for a period of six months or more.

In addition, your state may have penalties for owning a registered vehicle that is not insured. On top of higher insurance premiums you could also end up with fines and even suspension of your driver’s license.

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Other Options

In order to stay out of trouble and avoid the cost of penalties, fines, and reinstating your driver’s license, the safest thing to do is to keep your insurance in place. However, if saving money is a priority, your insurance provider may have other options for you.

Some companies allow you to remove all coverage other than liability for the months your vehicle isn’t in use. This can reduce your monthly premium as well as keep you in compliance with your state’s laws and the requirements of your insurer. When you’re ready to hit the road again, all you’ll need to do is contact your insurance company and add the other coverage you need back to your policy.

You may also be able to surrender your car’s license plates and registration to the state. If you don’t have a registered vehicle to insure, then your months without coverage will be less likely to be viewed as a lapse. However, there is no guarantee you will have the same insurance rate you had before when you reinstate registration and coverage.

Overall, your best bet is to maintain insurance, but you may still be able to save some money. If you want to make sure you have the car insurance coverage you need, give an agent a call. They can help you find the right insurance policy for you with a price that fits your budget.

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