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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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If you are in the military there are many things to consider in the months and weeks leading to your deployment. You must decide what to do with your pets, your possessions and your bills. One expense you may wish to cut down on is your car insurance. If you will not be using your vehicle for an extended period, is it really worth paying for auto insurance? Before you cancel your coverage, however, you need to consider a few things:
1.) Where will the vehicle be kept?
If the vehicle will be kept in a locked storage facility or a garage, it will probably be safe from damage and will not require up-to-date registration. If you must keep it parked in an open lot, however, you will probably need to maintain your vehicle’s registration, which will require that you also maintain at least minimal liability insurance.
2.) Is the vehicle at risk for sustaining damage?
There are several things that can cause damage to a vehicle that is not in use. Someone might collide with the parked car if it’s parked in a lot or on the street. Something might fall on it while it’s in the garage. It could be damaged in a natural disaster such as a tornado or flood. Older vehicles sometimes have faulty wiring that can cause the car to catch fire even if it’s not in use. The car may also be vandalized. If you have any doubts about the security of your vehicle while it’s in storage, you may wish to purchase at least comprehensive coverage for the car. Comprehensive coverage is very affordable and will pay for any non-accident-related damage the car may sustain.
3.) Will anyone else be driving the vehicle?
If you’re leaving the vehicle in the care of a friend or family member, you will want to maintain at least basic insurance on the car. You should never allow anyone to drive a vehicle that does not have insurance as any damage that vehicle may cause is your financial responsibility whether or not you were involved in the accident. This can damage your credit and lead to your license being suspended if you are not able to address the concern immediately. If your friend doesn’t tell you about the accident until you return, the damage to your credit may already be irreparable.
If you do choose to maintain car insurance on your vehicle while you’re gone, you should also be sure to add at least one other person to your insurance policy as a listed driver. This will allow that person to handle a claim on your behalf in the event that something happens to your vehicle. Otherwise, your insurance company will need to speak with you in order to handle the claim, which may not be possible if you are stationed overseas.
If your vehicle does sustain damage while you are deployed, the driver on your policy can file the claim, arrange for repairs and have the vehicle repaired without you needing to contact the insurance company. Any claims settlement checks would be issued directly to the body shop that handles the repairs unless you provide a power of attorney or other legal documentation stating that the check can be issued to the driver on your policy. This way you do not need to be concerned that your friend may file a claim on your vehicle and use the money for himself. A listed driver on your policy is not able to make any changes to the actual coverage you carry, add any vehicles or drivers, or otherwise change the policy.
Once you know exactly what conditions your vehicle will be kept under, you can decide how much insurance is necessary to carry or if you should suspend your coverage until you return. Regardless of what you choose, you should always discuss your options with your insurance company. You agent will be able to help write a policy that will suit your needs.
You should also be sure to ask your agent if there are any discounts you might qualify for. Many companies offer discounts to military personnel and veterans, so you may be able to save more money on your car insurance if you ask for such a discount.