Here at Imes Insurance Associates, we’re asked every year about vehicle storage. We can drive our vehicles just about any time of the year in Arizona, but putting it away for longer periods of time when it is not being used is not out of the ordinary. When doing so, you should make sure to protect your vehicle’s value, while minimizing the risk of damage to the vehicle. Additionally, you may feel it’s appropriate to adjust your insurance coverage by removing liability coverage.
Because this coverage is required by law for all vehicles operating on our roads, there’s more to the issue than just removing the coverage. You’ll want to inform MVD of your plans and ask they de-insure the vehicle while it’s in storage. You can do this online by going to ServiceArizona.com. Canceling the liability coverage without notifying MVD can result in a suspended registration, as well as stiff penalties and fines. Should that occur, you will then face higher insurance premiums when it comes time to reinstate the liability coverage and you’re ready to start driving the vehicle again.
How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe
To ensure your vehicle is safe and minimize the chance of damage you want to consider how you store your vehicle.
Some drivers do not plan to use their vehicle for months or even years. You may no longer be driving that vehicle because you’re in the service, protecting our country overseas. Or you may have a vehicle you are holding on to for the memories, with plans to keep it in the family. When it comes to long-term storage, the best location is going to be a rental unit with sufficient security. The Phoenix valley has a number of storage options for vehicles. When choosing one for long-term use, consider:
- Whether they are climate controlled – very important for valuable cars
- Whether they are pest free
- And, the level of security provided while your vehicle is there
Some vehicles only need to be stored for a few months. Like an RV, which may require more room than you have at home or not fit well in your garage. Other items, such as your motorcycle or your college student’s vehicle, can be stored well in a garage. For those needing storage for only a few months, consider these factors about the garage:
- Your car should still be protected from the elements such as sun and wind
- A pest-free space is essential – consider using mothballs, for example, to ward off vermin and snakes
- It should have a tarp or other type of coverage over it to protect it from exposure and dust
Prep your Vehicle Before You Store It
It is also important to protect its value by properly preparing it for long-term storage. This means taking out the battery, topping off the fluids and adding stabilizer to the gas. You also want to consider removing any water tanks and waste tanks from your RV. Storing your motorcycle off the ground a few inches is a good idea as well.
Insurance Coverage While in Storage
If you’ve removed your liability coverage and de-insured the vehicle with MVD, you’ll want to consider keeping comprehensive and collision coverages in place, so that your vehicle is covered should it be damaged while in storage. Yes, this does happen, more often than you would expect.
If you value your vehicle you should still carry comprehensive coverage. This protects the vehicle from losses related to fires, theft, and vandalism. Just because it’s in storage doesn’t mean it can’t be damaged and/or destroyed by something or someone else while in storage.
If you do not plan to drive the vehicle at all, you can remove your collision insurance. However, this means if the vehicle has a collision with anything (even backing it up out of the storage facility or your garage) you would not have coverage for that damage.
Leased and Vehicles with a Loan
If your vehicle is leased or you still owe money on a loan you have on your car, the bank will require you to maintain comprehensive and collision insurance (physical damage coverage) on the vehicle even when in storage, regardless if it’s on the road. As long as those contracts are in place, you’ll want to maintain comprehensive and collision coverage so that your lienholder doesn’t place their own coverage and then charge you for it. This is called forced placed insurance and YES, as you can imagine it’s very expensive.
Getting Your Vehicle Back on the Road
Once it is time to get your vehicle back out on the road, call your insurance agent. Agents here at Imes Insurance Associates can help make sure everything is in place and you are properly covered. Because it’s not always easy to remember to call your agent to have them reinstate the appropriate coverages when you’re ready to drive that vehicle again, especially when it’s an unintended quick errand to the store or bank, we at Imes Insurance Associates, recommend you tape a big, very obvious note to the steering wheel of the stored vehicle, reminding you to call us to have your coverage reinstated.