How to Put Your Auto Insurance on ‘Vacation’ While You’re Out of Town

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There are often times when we have to get away from our day-to-day lives, whether we’re taking an extended tropical vacation, spending time with an ill family member out of state, or taking a military tour of duty outside of the country.

When we spend extended periods of time away from home, there are a lot of issues to take care of before leaving. In addition to finding care for the pets and having someone check on the home, ensuring the car is properly taken care of is critical.

Depending on how long you’re away from your vehicle, you may also find that keeping up your auto insurance payments is something you’d like to avoid.

Canceling Auto Insurance While on Vacation

Probably one of the first things you might want to do when leaving your vehicle for an extended period of time is avoid paying for coverage. It’s a perfectly sensible thing to want, but it’s not the best idea.

While it’s true that you won’t be driving your vehicle on the road while away (unless you allow a friend or family member to drive it), you still want to make sure it’s protected.

For instance, suppose you leave your vehicle in your garage while you’re out of town and a storm blows through that forces the garage to collapse on your vehicle. How will you pay for the damage if your car is no longer insured?

Or suppose your father offers to keep your vehicle in his driveway while you’re gone, only to come home to find it has been vandalized. Without comprehensive insurance, will you have the money to pay for repairs out of pocket?

The moral of the story is that, whether you drive the vehicle or not, accidents can occur which is why it’s important to keep some type of coverage on your car at all times.

How to Save Money on Auto Insurance When Out of Town

So if it isn’t a good idea to cancel insurance when you leave your vehicle for an extended period of time, how can you save money on auto insurance when you’re not using it?

Here are a couple of options to consider:

  • Cancel just liability and collision coverage. If you know for certain that your vehicle won’t be on the road while you’re away, you can save money by temporarily canceling your liability and collision coverage. Since liability is a requirement in 49 out of 50 states, however, it’s important to explain to your insurance representative why and for how long you’d like to keep just comprehensive.
  • Increase your deductible. If you’re not comfortable with canceling a portion of your insurance while you’re away from your vehicle, consider increasing your deductible during this period. Since the likelihood of issues with the vehicle decreases with it not being on the road, you may be able to benefit from lower premiums and a higher deductible until you return.

It’s important to note that, if you plan to keep your vehicle on or near the street, you should hold on to your uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured motorist coverage is an addition to a standard auto insurance policy that pays for damage to your vehicle when another driver is legally responsible for an accident but is uninsured.

Are There Reasons to Avoid Suspending Coverage?

If you’ve thought about suspending a portion of your coverage, before calling your agent, consider a few instances when holding on to the insurance you have is a smart idea.

When to Keep Your Full (Comprehensive, Collision and Liability) Coverage:

Even when you’re away from your vehicle, there are circumstances when it’s smart (or required) to hold on to your complete auto insurance coverage package.

  • When renting a vehicle. If you plan to rent a vehicle while you’re away, it’s important to continue paying for all of your coverage in full. This will help you save money on expensive auto insurance offered by rental car companies. Also, you will have access to other features you’ve already paid for, including medical payments and roadside assistance.
  • When leasing or financing your vehicle. Under circumstances where you owe money for your vehicle under a leasing or financing agreement, you must keep your complete coverage under the guidelines presented by your lender.

When to Keep your Liability (If This is Your Only Coverage):

If you only carry liability insurance on your vehicle, you may be thinking about canceling your coverage altogether, if the vehicle is not being driven.

There are two reasons that this isn’t always the best idea:

  1. Insurance companies penalize gaps in coverage: In many circumstances, if you go more than 30 days without auto insurance, you can expect to pay more when you decide to resume coverage.
  2. You may have to submit your license plates and registration: Because you are required in most states to carry at least liability insurance, canceling it and having no coverage for your vehicle could mean you will be required to surrender your registration plate, sticker and card until you resume coverage.

With so much to worry about when leaving your home and vehicle for a long time, it’s helpful to know there are ways to save money on auto insurance. To know the specific options that best suit your personal circumstances, be sure to contact your insurance agent in advance of leaving town.