Men and women who serve in the military sometimes place their vehicles in storage when they are deployed to another country. Although you may be able to save money on your auto insurance premiums, insurance laws vary by state. Therefore, the options available for auto insurance coverage if you store your vehicle while you are deployed elsewhere can vary as well.
Suspending Your Insurance
The laws in some states make it possible for you to suspend your auto insurance coverage while you are serving overseas. But even if your state allows you to suspend coverage, not all insurance companies offer the option.
When you temporarily suspend your auto insurance, you won't be able to file any claims while your policy is suspended. However, insurers won't see you as having a lapse in coverage.
Before allowing you to suspend coverage, insurance companies generally require that you provide proof that your vehicle will be in storage while you are deployed. You must store the vehicle in a locked storage facility, as simply parking it in a garage won't count. Since you also must demonstrate that no one else will be driving the vehicle while you are away, if your policy lists the names of other drivers, you won't have the option of suspending your insurance.
If you choose to suspend your insurance, your vehicle likely won't be covered if it's damaged while in a storage facility. Likewise, if your vehicle is stolen while your insurance is suspended, you won't be able to file a claim to cover the loss. You will have to pay for the cost of replacing the vehicle out of your own pocket. However, the loss of any personal possessions you had in the vehicle at the time it was stolen may be covered under your homeowners insurance.
Purchasing Comprehensive-Only Coverage
Some insurers provide the option of comprehensive-only coverage to individuals in the military who put their vehicles in storage while serving outside of the United States. Since no one will be driving the vehicle while you are deployed and the risk of an accident is not present, you generally don't need liability and collision coverage.
If your state and insurance company allow it, you can buy comprehensive-only coverage that will cover the theft of or damage to your vehicle while it's secured in storage. However, in some states, you must carry the minimum liability coverage required by law even if you store your vehicle.
Canceling Your Auto Insurance
If you cancel your auto insurance policy when you are deployed, you may have a difficult time obtaining auto insurance when you return home. What often happens is that you have to pay a higher rate because insurers consider that you had a lapse in coverage.
In some states, if you place your vehicle in storage and drop your auto insurance, you are required to turn in your license plate to your state's department of motor vehicles. This helps to ensure that no one will be driving the vehicle. But if you financed the vehicle with an auto loan, the lender likely will require that you maintain continuous insurance coverage even while you are deployed on foreign soil.
To learn more, contact an insurance agency like Horgan Insurance Agency.