Auto Insurance for Summer Only [Options + Advice]

Auto insurance policies are generally sold for terms of six months or one year. Carriers may reduce your rate for the months that you are not driving or you may be eligible for parked car insurance.

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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: May 16, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • You will always be required to carry auto liability coverage as long as you plan to drive any car on a public road
  • If you have a car that you only plan to use during the summer, you may still need to keep your collision and comprehensive coverage active on that vehicle because anything can happen to your car while it is parked or stored and not being used
  • If you are not planning on driving after a certain point, then you no longer need auto insurance coverage and can cancel your policy on your own terms to only keep car insurance just for the summer
  • As long as you have an active auto liability policy, you will be covered no matter what personal car you are driving
  • You will always be required to list all vehicles on your auto insurance policy that are registered in your name

There are plenty of reasons why you might be looking into seasonal car insurance. If you own a car that you only plan to drive in the warmer weather months, then you might try to only get coverage for that car for the time that you are actually on the road.

Unfortunately, a car insurance company will likely insist that you have coverage during the months that your car is not active, although you might be able to get a slightly reduced rate during that time.

There are many types of auto insurance coverage, some of which may help you save money on your seasonal car, like usage-based insurance and stored-car coverage. Let’s go over that and more.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the best rate for car insurance for summer only that you need.

Summer Auto Insurance Options

If you are looking for affordable options for short-term car insurance coverage, the same general principles apply as when you are looking for reasonable rates on auto insurance for long-term coverage.

After you know what the potential rates could be, you will need to check with individual auto insurance providers about what discounts could be available for your policy.

For example, you might get a break on your rate for the following:

  • if you insure multiple cars
  • if you have not had any accidents
  • if you have not had any speeding tickets

If your credit score is below 600, then you might want to consider being added to a family member’s existing policy, as auto insurance companies check your driving record, credit scores, and other personal factors.

If you live in the same house as a family member with a good driving record and credit score, then it could be cheaper for you to be a listed driver on his or her auto insurance policy than having one on your own.

If you’re gearing up to drive your car around this summer, make sure you’re prepared. Summer car insurance for students and seasonal vehicles is pretty easy once you know what you’re looking for. This video discusses some things you can do to prepare and educate yourself for summer-specific driving.

Not only that, but you’ll also have hazards specific to warm months. Allergy symptoms can impair your driving, as watery eyes can affect vision, and feeling crummy can make you less attentive to the road. You’ll also have to worry about weather conditions and summer holiday traffic.

Fatalities increase in the summer months, as you can see below with this information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Traffic Fatalities in the U.S. by Month (2018)
MonthDeaths%
January2,8288
February2,5117
March2,8508
April2,7888
May3,2069
June3,2969
July3,3269
August3,2549
September3,2769
October3,3689
November2,9658
December2,8928
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May to October are the worst months for traffic-related deaths.

July 4th is the single day with the most traffic fatalities, with a yearly average of 132 fatalities between 2014 and 2018.

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Tell Your Auto Insurer About All Vehicles Registered in Your Name

If you are the policyholder on an auto insurance policy, then you are likely required to inform the auto insurance provider about all of the cars that have been officially registered under your name.

Do I have to insure a car that is not being used?  This requirement applies even if you do not drive all of your cars regularly or need auto insurance for your parked car.

You may be able to secure a lower rate on your auto insurance premium if you can show the auto insurance provider that you will not be driving one of your cars during a certain period of time.

You would still have to have your basic auto liability insurance coverage at any point that you want to drive any car including when you would be driving a car that does not actually belong to you.

If you have collision or comprehensive coverage on a vehicle that you only plan to drive during the summer, these coverages could be suspended during part of the year. It’s possible you can just get stored car insurance.

What is parked car insurance? It’s just what it sounds like, and you may look into it if your car will be parked or stored only.

If you are eligible to get parked-car insurance, then you can drop to comprehensive only on that vehicle only. Here are the average rates countrywide for only comprehensive coverage, from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Countrywide Comprehensive Auto Insurance Rates
YearCountrywide Comprehensive Coverage Rates
2015$148.04
2014$143.45
2013$137.77
2012$133.3
2011$131.8
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Typically, this is only available if you have another vehicle that is your main mode of transportation.

You have options if this is the route you want to go, such as car storage insurance with Geico, ASI — a subsidiary of Progressive— car storage insurance, and State Farm’s car storage insurance.

It is unlikely that an auto insurance provider will simply allow you to suspend optional coverages, but they might be willing to offer you a reduced rate on that coverage.

You need to check with your individual provider to see what options are available to you for a car that you only use during certain seasons of the year.

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Cancel Your Auto Insurance Coverage Early

If you do not need to drive a car at all after the summer season is over, you can drop your coverage completely. You should only do this if you are absolutely certain that you will not need to drive after your coverage has been stopped.

This video from Allstate goes over the different types of auto insurance, so you can see if any of this sounds like something you’ll need in the winter months.

Even if you have coverage for a full year, you are allowed to cancel that coverage early mid-policy.

When you cancel your auto insurance coverage, you should receive a refund of the portion of your premium that has not already been applied to the dates that your coverage has been active.

Be prepared to pay a small cancellation or administrative fee to have your coverage stopped and premium refunded prior to the end of your current policy term.

Other than making sure that you are complying with all auto insurance laws, another reason that you should be cautious of canceling your car insurance coverage early is that you could end up paying a bit more when you have to have your car insurance coverage reinstated.

The reason for the higher payment is that auto insurance companies generally like to see that their policyholders are responsible and maintain current coverage at all times.

There are certain situations where you might be able to get your coverage put on hold or suspended by the auto insurance company including situations like these:

  • if you are on a military deployment
  • if you are serving the government in some capacity and will need to be out of the country for an extended period of time

Check with your car insurance company about whether you could qualify for one of these exceptions.

Final Words for Summer Auto Insurance

Car insurance policies are generally sold for a specific policy term, which is usually six months or one year. If you need coverage for a shorter period of time, you can cancel it early as long as you do not plan to drive at all during the time that you do not have current coverage.

If you have a car that you only plan to drive during the summer, you may be able to get a reduced rate on optional coverages, such as comprehensive or collision coverage, for the months of the year that your car is not being driven on the roads.

It is very rare, however, for a car insurance company to allow you to suspend coverage completely during the months of the year that you are only storing your car because it could still be damaged in storage.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the right company for your summer auto insurance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve added a few FAQs below so you can learn more about short-term auto insurance.

Can I insure my car for 6 months only?

You can’t really suspend car insurance temporarily, but you can easily change coverage levels every six months, as that is the length of time most policies are underwritten for. After six months, it would be easy to go to comprehensive-only for a parked or stored car if you’re eligible. Otherwise, you may want to lower your limits if it won’t be driven.

If you truly will not need it for six months, you may have the option to suspend your registration. If your car is registered, it is required by law to carry insurance. In some states, such as California, you have the option to file your vehicle as Planned Non-Operable (PNO) for the period of time you’ll be leaving it undriven.

Can you insure a car just for weekends?

Most companies aren’t going to cover your car for weekends only. That’s just too much risk on their part, in case you get into an accident when you shouldn’t have been driving and try to claim it happened Saturday morning. However, you might be a good candidate for usage-based auto insurance.

Do I need car insurance if I don’t drive my car?

If you aren’t going to drive your car at all and want to completely drop insurance, you’ll have to suspend your registration with the DMV. Registered vehicles are required by law to have at least liability auto insurance coverage.

Can you put storage insurance on a car with a loan?

You’re almost certainly going to be required to keep full coverage auto insurance on a financed vehicle. If you don’t, the lender can put force-placed insurance on your vehicle which only covers them, something Consumer Finance notes is far more expensive than normal coverage.

You’ll still be required to keep full coverage for your car, and you’ll probably be considered high-risk at that point since you didn’t keep the agreed-upon coverage. High-risk drivers pay extra for auto insurance, so it’ll end up costing you a lot more if you don’t keep full coverage.

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