Auto Insurance for Infrequent Drivers

If you're an infrequent driver or your car is in storage, auto insurance is still a must. Ask about popular discounts like low-mileage or pleasure usage coverage.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Apr 22, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • If you’re an infrequent driver or your car is in storage, you still must maintain your auto insurance
  • Failing to carry insurance on a vehicle that you own is against the law and it can result in major penalties
  • If you put your car in storage and notify the DMV, you may be able to put your insurance on hold temporarily
  • Be sure to get all of the usage discounts that you qualify for when you rarely drive your car
  • Some popular discounts include: low-mileage, pleasure usage, daytime driver, and extra vehicle

Not all Americans rely on automobiles. There are people in the United States who are licensed to drive and who own cars that choose not to drive on a frequent basis.

In fact, the average number of miles that are driven in the US is on a steady decline. For many, this is a sign that fewer people will own cars in the decades to come.

If you go from being in the car on a daily basis to rarely driving your car, you need to take a look at your insurance portfolio. How often you drive can have a dramatic effect on how much you should be paying for your existing coverage.

Compare car insurance rates today and see how much you could save.

Before you go to cancel your coverage entirely, here’s what infrequent drivers need to know about insurance:

Driving Infrequently Doesn’t Eliminate Your Need for Insurance

If you think that you can activate and deactivate your coverage each time you go for a drive because of your infrequent driving habits, think again.

You’re expected to carry auto insurance on your vehicle at all times. Since coverage is typically mandatory, you can’t remove insurance on the vehicle just because it’s not a risk.

If there’s a compulsory law or there’s a financial responsibility law in place in your state, you have to satisfy that law for as long as the car is registered in your name.

The minute that your car is no longer registered, you no longer have to prove that you possess financial responsibility or have insurance.

If your car is in storage for the winter or you’re going to go quit driving for an extended period of time, there’s one way that you can cancel your coverage without having to worry about the serious and also expensive legal consequences.

To do this, you’ll have to contact the DMV, let them know about your intentions to store the car, and then you can file the car as a Planned Non-Op. As soon as the car is filed this way, you can’t drive it until you reactivate your registration.

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If you rarely drive, should you take out a minimal policy?

You’re only required by law to buy a minimum amount of insurance. Usually, the minimums are extremely low considering how much damage a car can cause in an accident.

One way to keep premiums as low as you can is to select the lowest possible liability limits required. The only problem with doing this is that you’re at risk when you’re driving from time to time.

If you’d like to avoid being underinsured if you have a loss, you can always bump your limits up before you drive. Just be sure to call your agent the day before you plan on driving so that you can raise your limits to a sufficient limit.

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Can you put your car insurance on hold?

Instead of raising and lowering your limits, there’s always the option to put your insurance on hold. Putting insurance on hold is often referred to as suspending your insurance.

Putting insurance on hold is only a good alternative for you when you already have changed the registration status of your car.

When you suspend your coverage, the insurance company won’t provide you with any coverage:

  • liability
  • uninsured motorist
  • medical payments
  • collision

You may still keep your comprehensive cover if you want protection for your car while it’s parked. When you need coverage, you can simply call and have the policy activated just as it was before the suspension.

Why is it better to suspend your coverage?

If you’re confident that you’re not going to be driving for at least a few months, then suspending your registration and your insurance could be a money-saving decision.

You could always cancel your insurance, but there are advantages to suspending it instead. Here are some of those advantages:

  • You can keep insurance in place without any lapses to save money on future coverage
  • You can continue to receive a loyalty discount when you need to reactivate coverage with the company
  • It’s much easier to activate your insurance than it is to apply for a new policy
  • You can still keep physical damage coverage on the car while it’s in storage

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Ways to Save on a Standard Car Policy

If you want the option to drive your car in the spur of the money, it’s best that you keep it insured. Even though you have to have insurance on your car, it doesn’t mean that you can’t save money on your coverage because you’re an infrequent driver.

Here are some tips on how you can save:

  • You can classify your vehicle as a pleasure vehicle and receive a low-usage discount
  • You can estimate that you drive under 5,000 miles each year to receive a low-mileage discount
  • If you’re over the age of 55, you may be able to get a Mature Driver and Daytime Driver credit
  • When you have a student off to college and they don’t take their car, classify them as Student Away at School
  • Consider buying a new pay-as-you-go policy where the insurer monitors your usage to give you personalized discounts
  • If you live with family, buy insurance together for large multi-line and multi-car discounts

Infrequent drivers can pay less for their auto insurance than frequent drivers do. The key is to shop around for your coverage before you select the first policy that you find.

You don’t need a lot of coverage while you’re not driving but you will need sufficient coverage like everyone else the moment that you get in a car. Use our free comparison tool to get multiple insurance quotes all at once, and then secure custom coverage that meets your needs.

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