If you are a member of the U.S. military being deployed overseas, you might be tempted to cancel your auto insurance policy while you're away. But you'll find that move could cost you more than you save in the long run.
When insurance companies set your auto insurance premiums, they look at whether you've continuously maintained coverage for any vehicles you own. If you've stopped coverage during a deployment, when you return and want to start it again, your insurance company may either raise your rates or not even want to offer you a policy.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends contacting your insurer and asking whether parts of your coverage can be suspended while you are deployed. You may even get an insurance discount.
You might be able to suspend your optional collision and comprehensive coverage, for example, while keeping your state's required minimum liability insurance. If you want to suspend your liability coverage, keep in mind that some states won't allow it. Connecticut does let those who are deployed suspend their liability coverage -- but you must prove to your insurer that your car will be stored where nobody can access it (in a secure storage facility on a military base, for example), according to the Connecticut Department of Insurance.
GEICO offers an emergency deployment discount to service members who've received orders sending them into imminent danger. To take advantage of this discount, you must store your vehicles in accordance with GEICO's requirements.
If a family member uses your car while you're gone, you can’t suspend your coverage. But you may be able to remove yourself as a driver from the insurance policy and save some money on premiums.
Before you leave, make sure that you've arranged to have your policy premiums paid on time. You don't want to lose your auto insurance coverage or pay higher rates because of missed or delayed payments.
Because soldiers have special insurance needs, you may want to check out an insurer that specializes in taking care of armed services personnel. Founded in 1922 by 25 Army officers, USAA auto insurance is available only to active-duty military members, veterans, widows and widowers of USAA members, spouses of USAA members and children of USAA members.