Do you need insurance on a car that doesn’t run?

Do you need insurance on a car that doesn't run? In most cases, you do need insurance on a car that doesn’t run. If your car is temporarily out of service, you might be able to suspend your policy and save the money you would normally pay on insurance. If you want to store your car and you’re looking for parked car insurance, you can purchase storage coverage to make sure the vehicle is protected from damage. However, if your car is registered, you probably need to keep it insured even if it doesn’t run.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about home, life, and car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and C...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Dec 13, 2021

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The Rundown

  • While it depends on your situation, you more than likely need insurance on a car even if it doesn’t run
  • For short periods of time, you might be able to suspend your policy temporarily
  • For cars that will be parked or stored for an extended amount of time, consider lowering your coverage to either your state minimum requirements or a comprehensive-only policy
  • If you want to cancel your insurance altogether, you’ll probably need to cancel your vehicle’s registration
  • If possible, you should avoid canceling your insurance as a lapse in coverage can increase future coverage rates

Whether or not you bought a car that doesn’t run to work on as a project or your car broke down and you have to wait to fix it, knowing if you need insurance on a vehicle that doesn’t run can be confusing.

Canceling your car insurance will save you money, but is it the right thing to do? It depends on what you want to do with your car in the future.

So, do you need insurance on a car that doesn’t run? If you decide you need it, you should shop around for quotes to find the best price possible. If you’re ready to see what rates might look like for you, enter your ZIP code into our free tool to get started.

Insurance for a Car That Doesn’t Run

There are several reasons to hang onto a car that doesn’t run. The most common explanations include the following:

  • The vehicle has a salvage title and you want to sell it for parts
  • Repairs are needed, but you don’t currently have either the time or the funds to fix them
  • You bought a car that doesn’t work as a project

Whether or not you need insurance depends on why you have the car and what you plan to do with it.

While it’s usually not a good idea to cancel your insurance, it might be alright if you have multiple cars on the same policy. As long as the vehicle is not being used at all, you can cancel coverage on that car and avoid a lapse in insurance.

However, if you cancel your coverage on one vehicle, it won’t be covered for any damage that might occur. That includes floods, fires, and inclement weather, meaning you’ll be on the hook for any repairs.

The Car Is Broken, but You Want to Drive it Eventually

If your car broke down, or you bought a car that needs repairs and plan on eventually driving it, you should have insurance. Most states require insurance on a registered vehicle, so you’ll need at least your state’s minimum requirement.

Of course, your insurance needs also depend on how long you think it will take to repair the car. If the repairs will take a few months, you should keep insurance on it. However, if you believe your vehicle will be sitting for a long time, you might want to consider canceling.

If you decide to cancel your insurance, you’ll probably need to cancel your registration. Most states require minimum coverage for all registered cars, whether or not they run. Canceling your registration will legally keep you in the clear until you decide to repair the vehicle.

Are you wondering if you have to register a car that doesn’t run? The only time that you don’t need to register your car is if it will not ever touch a public road. This not only refers to driving but also to parked and towed vehicles. If it touches a public street, you’ll likely need to register it.

Do you need insurance on a salvage title car?

A salvage title is given to a vehicle that is declared a total loss. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be fixed. Insurance companies declare cars a total loss if the cost of repairs after a claim is more than the car’s total value.

Insurance companies won’t put a policy on a salvage title car because you can’t legally drive it. If you have a salvage title car, you’ll need to make the necessary repairs, get it certified as safe to operate by a mechanic, and get a rebuilt title before you can insure it.

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

If you own a car but don’t drive it, you should still have coverage on it if you ever plan on driving it.

What happens when you have your car in storage? While there’s no such thing as parked car insurance, you may be able to buy storage coverage. Storage coverage is essentially comprehensive coverage meant to protect your vehicle while in storage.

You have to meet specific requirements to be eligible for this type of coverage. For example, your car must be in a covered storage area that can be locked. More than 358,000 accidents per year involve parked vehicles. If your car is in the street and gets damaged, your claim will likely be denied.

When you have a car in storage, you can usually lower the coverage you have on it by contacting your insurance provider. Most companies will let you drop the amount of coverage on your vehicle to comprehensive.

Comprehensive coverage is a great option to keep your vehicle safe while parked. This way, your car will be protected against the following issues:

  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Inclement weather
  • Fires and floods
  • Animal damage

An additional benefit is that it keeps your insurance policy active. One of the factors that determine your rates is your insurance history. A lapse in coverage means you’ll pay more for insurance when you’re ready to look at free insurance quotes for a new policy.

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Can you suspend your insurance coverage?

One option to consider is suspending your policy for a limited amount of time. When you suspend your insurance policy, you avoid a lapse in coverage. You’ll also be able to save money by skipping your monthly payment.

Of course, you also won’t be covered if something happens to your car. As long as your policy is suspended, any damage that happens to your car must be paid for out of pocket.

Every company handles suspension differently, so you’ll need to speak with your agent. They will tell you how long you can suspend your policy, what terms need to be met to be eligible for a suspension, and the process of reinstating your coverage.

Not every company will allow you to suspend your policy, though. Additionally, you won’t be able to suspend your coverage if you don’t own the vehicle.

Find the Best Insurance Option for Your Car

While it might feel stressful trying to decide what to do with a car that doesn’t work, it doesn’t have to be. You can find the best option for your situation with a bit of help.

Whether you cancel your insurance, drop to comprehensive, or suspend your policy, there is an option that will work for you.

If you’ve been wondering whether or not you need insurance on a car that doesn’t run, and you need to find an affordable plan that will work for you, you should shop around. If you’re ready to see what quotes might look like for you, enter your ZIP code into our free tool today.

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