Can You Pause Your Car Insurance? Everything You Need To Know

At some point, you may find yourself in a situation where you won’t be driving your car for an extended period. Perhaps you’re travelling abroad, your license is suspended, or your car needs major repairs. In cases like these, you may be wondering – can I temporarily pause my car insurance to save money?

The answer is yes, you can usually pause certain portions of your auto insurance policy. However, there are some important factors to consider before suspending coverage.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover:

  • What pausing car insurance actually means
  • When pausing coverage may make sense
  • How to properly suspend your insurance
  • The pros and cons of temporarily reducing insurance
  • Steps for reinstating full coverage
  • Key considerations before suspending auto insurance

What Does Pausing Car Insurance Mean?

When you “pause” your car insurance, you are actually asking your insurer to reduce your policy to comprehensive-only coverage for a set period of time.

Comprehensive coverage protects against:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Hail
  • Falling objects
  • Other non-collision damage

It does not include liability or collision coverage. Liability pays for damage/injuries you cause to others, while collision covers damage to your own vehicle from an accident.

So in reality, you are temporarily suspending the liability and collision portions of your policy. The vehicle itself is still covered for specific perils while parked.

When Does Suspending Coverage Make Sense?

Pausing parts of your auto insurance policy could make sense in situations like:

  • You’re traveling overseas for an extended time
  • Your license is suspended
  • Your vehicle needs major repairs and won’t be driven
  • You’re deployed for military service
  • You’re recovering from an illness/injury preventing you from driving

In cases where you definitively won’t drive your car for at least a month, reducing coverage can lower your insurance costs.

Comprehensive-only insurance is cheaper than a full policy, but still protects against damage from things like storms or falling tree limbs.

How Do You Properly Suspend Car Insurance?

Here are some tips for properly suspending your auto insurance:

  • Inform your insurer you wish to pause collision/liability coverage – this reduces the policy to comprehensive-only
  • Make the effective date at least 1 month out – most states prohibit suspensions of less than 1 month
  • Check if your state requires filing an affidavit of non-use with the DMV
  • Remove license plates and registration during suspension to avoid fees or penalties
  • Store the vehicle somewhere secure like a garage during the suspension period
  • officially reinstate full coverage before driving the vehicle again

Discuss your specific situation with your insurance provider for guidance on properly pausing and later reinstating your policy.

Pros of Temporarily Reducing Insurance

Suspending collision and liability coverage offers some potential benefits:

Saves money – Comprehensive alone is cheaper than a full policy. You avoid paying for unneeded coverage.

Maintains key protections – Your car is still shielded from weather, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils.

Avoids lapses – Your insurer continues providing comprehensive coverage during the suspension period.

Easy reinstatement – Resuming a full policy typically just requires a phone call.

Retains discounts – Future discounts are not impacted by short-term reductions.

For many insureds, the ability to suspend certain coverages provides financial flexibility.

Cons of Suspending Auto Insurance

However, there are also some drawbacks of temporarily reducing insurance:

No liability protection – Damage/injuries you cause are 100% your responsibility during suspension.

No collision coverage – Any damage to your own car in an accident must be paid out-of-pocket.

Limited comprehensive risks – Doesn’t cover all perils like flooding, glass breakage, or falling objects.

May violate loan terms – Lenders often prohibit reducing coverage below state minimums.

Administrative hurdles – Reinstating a full policy typically requires a new application.

Higher premiums later – Insurers may increase rates if you reinstate after suspension.

The lack of liability and collision coverage can leave major financial exposure. Weigh pros and cons carefully.

Steps for Reinstating Your Full Auto Insurance Policy

When you’re ready to start driving again, you’ll need to reinstate your full original policy. Here are the steps:

  • Contact your insurance provider 1-2 weeks before you need full coverage again
  • Discuss reactivating liability, collision, and other suspended portions
  • Complete any required new application paperwork
  • Pay any prorated premium charges to resume full coverage
  • Obtain new proof of insurance reflecting reinstated policy
  • Verify your driver’s license, registration, and plates are valid before driving

Starting this process early provides time to iron out any issues and ensure seamless, gap-free coverage.

Key Factors to Consider Before Suspending Insurance

Before temporarily reducing your auto insurance, keep these important factors in mind:

  • State laws – Some states prohibit suspending coverage for less than 1 month or have other rules. Check your state’s regulations.

  • Loan terms – If you have an auto loan, verify with the lender that reducing insurance is allowed. Otherwise, it could constitute default.

  • Future discounts – Suspending coverage could impact eligibility for future discounts from your insurer. Ask for clarification.

  • Driving needs – If anyone will drive the vehicle even occasionally, suspending coverage is too risky.

  • Reinstatement hurdles – Be prepared to potentially re-apply and pay fees/deposits when reinstating full coverage later.

  • Storage plan – Have a secure parking spot like a locked garage during the suspension period.

Carefully consider these factors before moving forward with temporarily pausing portions of your policy.

Key Takeaways

  • You can suspend collision and liability car insurance coverage while maintaining comprehensive.
  • This reduces the policy to just comprehensive coverage for a set time period.
  • It can save money if you definitively won’t drive for at least 1 month.
  • However, you have zero liability or collision coverage during suspension.
  • Check state laws and loan rules before reducing insurance.
  • Reinstating full coverage takes planning and often involves fees.

Temporarily pausing auto insurance is an option in specific situations but comes with financial risks. Consult with insurance experts to make informed suspension decisions tailored to your circumstances.

Is It Better To Cancel or Suspend Car Insurance?


What happens when you pause car insurance?

What happens if you suspend your car insurance? You won’t pay for insurance while your car is out of use. You likely won’t have a coverage lapse, something that could increase your future rates.

Is it better to cancel or suspend car insurance?

Cancelling or reducing your insurance if you’re putting your car in storage for a long period might save you money now. However, before you decide to suspend car insurance temporarily, remember that some coverages — like comprehensive coverage — can protect your vehicle even when it’s off the road.

Can car insurance be put on hold?

Even if you’re not going to be driving for a while and you want to avoid paying for coverage, you can’t exactly pause your car insurance. However, some companies may allow you to suspend your liability coverage if you’re putting your car in storage — as long as your lender allows it.

How long can I freeze car insurance?

You can’t legally freeze your car insurance policy if you’re still driving your car, but you may be able to cancel your coverage indefinitely if you’re not driving your vehicle for a long period of time.

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