Do You Need Insurance On a Car If You Don’t Drive It?

Drivers who want to know if you need insurance on a car if you don't drive it will need to check local state laws. Usually, though, unused cars can carry comprehensive only insurance if they are parked in a yard, garage, or in storage. Comprehensive only insurance costs around $12 per month, which is much cheaper than buying insurance on a car you don't drive.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2022

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What You Should Know

  • Most state laws require all registered vehicles to carry a legal minimum amount of insurance coverage
  • You will usually need to cancel your registration in order to cancel insurance, although laws on this process vary from state to state
  • Some providers allow you to reduce your insurance cost temporarily if you’re not driving a vehicle
  • Some providers also allow “comprehensive only” insurance while your vehicle is in storage

Do you need insurance on a car if you don’t drive it? Maybe your car is broken down or in storage. Maybe you are keeping a car on the driveway without insurance. Maybe your convertible is tucked away for the winter. Whatever the situation may be, you’re probably curious about whether or not you need insurance. The answer to this frequently asked question depends on the situation.

As long as the vehicle is registered in your state – and that registration is active and has not expired – then that vehicle is required to carry insurance. So a car not insured on your driveway could be an issue if the registration is active. In other words, if you want to avoid paying insurance on a vehicle for a period of time – like over the winter – then you’ll need to cancel your registration. Learn more about insurance for a car not driven in our guide.

To start finding auto insurance quotes online for a car you rarely drive, enter your ZIP code in our free rate comparison tool above.

Do I Have to Insure my Car if I’m not Driving it?

Do all cars need insurance? As we stated, this depends on the state. It’s important that you are familiar with your state’s laws, as even if you take the car you don’t drive for a quick stint around the block you could be charged with driving without insurance. According to NOLO, this can carry criminal penalties, heavy fines, and loss of license.

To make sure you won’t be charged with not having insurance, it’s important that you follow the proper steps when you have a car you don’t use. To help you decide what coverages you need and what to do about an uninsured car on your driveway, we are going to go over the most important things to know about insurance for a car you don’t drive.

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What is Comprehensive-only Auto Insurance?

If I don’t drive, do I need comprehensive insurance? Comprehensive auto insurance explained is protection for the vehicle from fire, theft, vandalism, and weather damage. Your insurance company might also call this “comp only” coverage. Comp only coverage is a popular option for protecting vehicles that you’re not currently driving. It’s significantly cheaper than full car insurance coverage, but it still protects your property from unexpected events.

Rules on comp only policies vary between insurance companies. Some companies require you to store your vehicle in a certified and protected storage facility, for example. Others will only issue the policy if your vehicle is being stored for at least six months.

It’s important to note that comp only insurance does not make your car legal to drive. If your vehicle only has comprehensive coverage, then it’s illegal to drive that vehicle on the road. States require you to have liability coverage at a bare minimum. Under comprehensive-only insurance policies, your vehicle does not have collision coverage or liability coverage.

How Much Does Comprehensive only Auto Insurance Cost?

Since comprehensive coverage  is one of the most popular options, you are probably wondering how much it costs. While auto insurance rates can vary by state, the general cost of comprehensive-only coverage is a few hundred dollars.

Average Annual U.S. Comprehensive Coverage Auto Insurance Rates
StatesAverage Annual Comprehensive Insurance Rates
South Dakota$116.53
North Dakota$121.61
New Hampshire$131.35
New York$136.08
New Mexico$171.12
New Jersey$172.57
Rhode Island$180.94
West Virginia$204.28
North Carolina$231.04
District of Columbia$233.24
South Carolina$258.11
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Does a Car Need to be Locked up to Count as Storage?

Can you keep a car parked without insurance? Your insurance policy will carefully define its storage requirements. You can’t leave a car with no insurance on a driveway all winter in the snow and ice, then expect your auto insurance company to cover all damages.

Are you wondering can you keep a car off-road without insurance? At a bare minimum, most insurance companies require your vehicle to be kept in a locked storage location – like a vehicle storage facility or a locked garage.

Does a parked car need insurance? If your vehicle is “stored” in an unlocked location – like your driveway or your backyard – then your vehicle is considered “parked” in the eyes of law enforcement and your insurance company. A car not insured on a parked road will be less secure.

Having a locked storage facility is good, but having extra security measures is even better. The more secure your car’s storage place is, the lower your auto insurance rates will be. So if you are wondering can I keep a car without insurance on the road, you can. But it is not as secure and may result in higher rates.

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What if Nobody is Driving the Car for Months?

Can I leave my car without insurance for months? So your car isn’t kept in storage, and it’s just an extra vehicle that nobody needs to drive for the next few months. Do you still need to get insurance?

Do you need insurance for a car not being used if the state allows it? In most states, you’re still required to keep auto liability insurance on your vehicle. If you intend to drive that vehicle at any time – even if it’s not being driven for months – then you’ll need to have liability coverage as a minimum.

If you let your insurance lapse, then your vehicle registration becomes invalid, in which case you’re no longer able to drive your vehicle.

In other words, your vehicle needs to be insured in order to be registered. In most states, that means you need to keep liability insurance on your vehicle as an absolute minimum – even if your car isn’t being driven for months.

However, if nobody is driving the car for months, then you may want to consider dropping full insurance from the vehicle – including optional types of auto insurance coverage like collision insurance. Some might also want to drop comprehensive insurance (which covers your car against vandalism, natural disasters, and theft). Comprehensive insurance isn’t required, but it’s a good idea even if your car isn’t being driven.

Can I Insure a Car for Someone Else to Drive and Exclude Myself from the Policy?

Do you need auto insurance if you’re not driving but someone else is driving the car? There are a number of situations where you’re not driving a car, but still want to get insurance. Maybe you’re a licensed driver, but you’re keeping your car for someone else to drive.

In that situation, you can exclude yourself as a driver on the policy while still purchasing insurance for the car under your name.

If you’re in this unique situation, then you’ll need to contact your insurance company. Typically, your insurance company will want to know why you’re in the situation. They might ask whether or not you have a license, for example, or who the primary driver of the vehicle may be.

Insurance companies are generally okay with this situation. So if you are wondering do I need insurance if I’m not driving my car, typically, an insurer will want a licensed driver listed on the policy – like a family member living within the household. They may also require the background, personal information, and driving history of that family member.

Insurance companies will not be flexible with this arrangement if you’re using it to avoid high insurance costs related to previous accidents or DUIs. If you’re insuring a vehicle in your name because your wife has multiple DUIs, for example, then your insurance company won’t be very accommodating.

Ultimately, most states require you to maintain insurance on a vehicle even if you’re not driving it. As long as your car is registered in your state, and that registration has not lapsed, then you’re required to maintain the minimum legal level of insurance (liability insurance).

However, some insurance companies may offer comp only coverage, which allows you to maintain protection against theft, vandalism, and natural disasters while significantly reducing your costs. Insurance companies may offer this if your car is kept in locked storage – but they’re unlikely to offer it if your car is parked on your lawn or in your driveway.

We hope our guide has answered your question of do you need auto insurance if you don’t drive the vehicle. Talk to your insurance company to learn your options about no insurance on a car in a driveway or storage. To start comparison shopping for savings today, enter your ZIP code in our free tool below.

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