Here’s an example that you would never want to happen to you: You’ve decided to take a long European vacation with your spouse — 3 to 4 months long. Naturally, you won’t be needing your vehicle, so you put it into storage. But you also consider that you won’t be needing your auto insurance if you’re not driving your car, so you cancel it completely. Makes sense, right?
But while you are away, a thunderstorm causes a tree branch to fall on your garage. The building partially collapses, causing major damage to your vehicle. When you return, you find the mess and realize it will be thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket repair payments because, unfortunately, you have no insurance.
Why You Shouldn’t Store Your Vehicle Long-Term Without Comprehensive Insurance
Sadly, the sort of scenario outlined in the example above happens often. People think that because they won’t be driving the vehicle regularly, they can cancel their insurance. While this makes sense on a certain level, it’s not exactly a given that all of your auto insurance can be canceled, and here’s why.
First, not all insurance is the same. Most notably, collision and liability insurance is much different than comprehensive insurance. The latter should never be canceled because it covers things like theft, vandalism, building collapse, tree damage, fire, etc. — all events that can happen when your car is parked.
Moreover, remember that collision coverage needs to stay in place if you have a loan on your vehicle; lenders require it. If you don’t have a loan that you are paying off, you may consider removing collision insurance, but beware. A lapse in coverage could be a problem for you in the future as insurance companies will see it as high-risk. Inevitably, this will mean that your premium rates will be higher, and you may not actually save anything from temporarily removing collision coverage.
Storing Your Vehicle the Right Way: Key Tips
You already know why keeping your insurance around is a good idea when storing your vehicle long-term, but let’s look for other ways to keep your vehicle as safe as possible during storage. Most notably, you’ll want to follow several important steps prior to putting your car away:
- Get it tuned up.
It doesn’t matter whether you do it, or you have a mechanic do it, but you’ll want to get your car tuned up before storing it. Fill up all the fluids in the vehicle, fill up all the tires, completely, fill the gas tank, add a fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL to the fuel tank, wash and wax the car, and remove the battery to attach it to a battery tender.
- Protect it from the elements.
In Wisconsin, winters can be brutal on cars that are parked outside for a long period of time (even if you have a cover). Instead of leaving your car outdoors, try to find an indoor storage location. A barn with concrete floors, a garage, or a storage facility are all good options.
- Protect it from mice and rodents.
Unfortunately, critters like mice love a warm and cozy vehicle where they can make their home in the winter, so you’ll need to protect against them before storage. This can be done by simply sprinkling mothballs or cotton swabs with peppermint oil on them around the vehicle near the tires and in the trunk and cab of your vehicle.
BONUS TIP: When you’re ready to drive your car again, don’t forget these key steps:
- Reinstall the battery properly
- Double check all fluid levels and the oil and tires
- All the car to idle before driving away