If there’s a vehicle in your garage or driveway that you won’t be using for an extended period of time, there’s a phone call to make that could save some money.
Maybe you’re going out of state for work or pleasure, for weeks or months. Maybe you have more vehicles than drivers, possibly because a child is away at college.
In situations like that, you can ask your auto insurance company to classify the vehicle that won’t be driven as “withdrawn from use.” That will reduce the insurance coverage to the state-required minimum, without canceling the policy, and the bills will be considerably reduced.
For example, my college-student son has a car, and my insurer tells me that if it were insured as “withdrawn from service” the monthly cost would drop by $58.
That’s different from the discount that’s available when college students go out-of-state for school and leave their cars behind. The main difference is that, with “withdrawn from service” you’re telling the insurer no one will be driving the car.
Policies differ between carriers, but if your insurer is willing, it’s possible to have vehicles rated as “withdrawn from service” even while the drivers take a lengthy vacation or business trip.
For example, say a couple goes away for a two-week vacation. Some insurers will rate vehicles as “withdrawn from service” for short periods of time like that. The savings over two weeks, for two vehicles, might only amount to $40 or $50, but why pay for something you don’t need?
Whether the savings are worth the hassle depends on how easy your insurer is to work with, the cost of insurance, and how long the vehicle will sit idle. If it’s just a matter of calling your insurer and telling them the dates you’d like the vehicle rated as withdrawn from service, that’s not much hassle.
One thing to consider is where the vehicle will be parked, because as with most insurance, you’ll probably have options. A vehicle parked on the street or in a shared parking lot is exposed to more risk than one in a private driveway.
If the car won’t be driven — and it shouldn’t be, if it’s withdrawn from service — there’s little worry about having minimum liability insurance and no collision coverage. However, if the vehicle is parked outdoors, you may want to keep the comprehensive coverage, which pays if a vehicle is hit while it’s parked, or it’s vandalized, or there’s hail damage, to name several examples.
In some situations, if you temporarily have more vehicles than you need, another option is to keep the car fully insured and list it for temporary rentals. Just as ride-hailing apps let individuals use their vehicles like taxis, there are businesses that connect vehicle owners with vehicle renters.
I wrote about one of those companies, Turo, in 2015, and they’ve been in business for nine years now. While writing this column I checked turo.com, and they had vehicles listed in the Charleston region that ranged from basic transportation to classic cars and expensive sports cars.
Hmmm. Maybe I’ll rent out my son’s car if he’s out of town this summer. If I do, I’ll let you know how that works out. If I don’t, I’ll save some money by temporarily reducing the insurance coverage.
Reach David Slade at 843-937-5552. Follow him on Twitter @DSladeNews.