At some point, you might end up with a vehicle that just sits in your driveway or garage. Maybe it's a sports car that you drive once a year. Or a clunker you've been meaning to fix up. Or a car your child left behind when she went to college. Do you have to get auto insurance for a car that's never on the road? The answer is "yes." But there are some ways to minimize how much it'll cost you.
What you're required to get
Most states require minimum liability coverage, even for cars that are driven only once in a blue moon. And some states even have verification programs that will detect that a registered car is not insured -- and slap you with a fine.
What you'll have to pay is set by your state. Each state sets its own limits for bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident and property damage. For example, Texas requires that drivers buy at least 30/60/25 coverage ($30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage). If your state has high minimum limits, you could end up paying higher premiums.
In no-fault insurance states, things work differently. Drivers collect damages from their own policies after an accident instead of from the other driver's policy. Laws vary by state; in general, drivers will be required to get personal injury protection (to cover their own injuries), property protection (to cover damage they cause to others' property) and residual bodily injury or property damage liability coverage (to cover court costs if they are sued).
Ways to cut costs
Although drivers must carry some state-mandated coverage for all their registered vehicles, there are some things you can do to bring down your costs. For example, you might want to consider adjusting your collision and comprehensive coverage.
Collision and comprehensive are optional forms of coverage that cover repairs if your car gets in a crash (collision) or is damaged by other perils like weather (comprehensive). But if the vehicle isn't being driven, maintaining collision and comprehensive coverage can be like throwing your money away, especially if the car's value is low.
Progressive recommends taking into account your car's value, the deductible and what you can afford to pay out of pocket. For example, if your car is worth only $1,500 and you have a $1,000 deductible, your insurance would pay only $500 after a crash. If you're already paying $250 a year in premiums for collision and comprehensive coverage, the cost might not be worth it for a car that never leaves the driveway.
If have a collectible car with a high value, however, comprehensive insurance would protect your car if, for example, a tree falls on it or a tornado destroys it.
Another option: pay as you drive
Pay-as-you-drive insurance (also called usage-based insurance) is becoming increasingly popular among insurers -- and it rewards drivers for driving less. Some pay-as-you-drive programs involve reporting mileage, according to the Insurance Information Institute, while others involve tracking devices that monitor driving behaviors (like sudden stops). Either way, a car that stays put in the garage will likely get you a lower premium.
Even if your company doesn't have a pay-as-you-go insurance policy available, your rarely used car still can get you a lower premium. Most insurance applications require you to disclose how long your commute is, and if you don't have a commute, you'll probably see a drop in your premium.