If you have a collectible vehicle that doesn’t spend much time on the road - if at all - it’s easy to think you can let your insurance policy lapse. After all, auto insurance is to protect you in case there’s an accident out there beyond the boundaries of your home garage or storage space, right?
Well, you should probably doublecheck what you think might be on your policy.
Homeowners insurance and renters insurance does cover a lot of things that happen to the personal items in your home, and things that happen to your home including fire, vandalism, storm damage, and other major disasters. And while your garage itself and many of its contents are likely covered by your homeowners insurance, the car itself is a different issue.
Let’s look at some of the things you might be worried about:
No. Because a car is primarily intended to be used outside the home, your comprehensive car insurance policy is responsible for covering damage that occurs to the car even if it takes place in your driveway or your garage.
That tree limb that shattered your windshield? That huge tree that fell and totalled your vehicle? Better hope you have comprehensive insurance on your auto policy, because this kind of thing isn’t covered under collision insurance.
If your car is stolen from your driveway or garage, that is something that is also going to be covered under your comprehensive auto insurance, even though the crime took place on your home property.
The lines blur here a bit, though - if you had personal items in your vehicle that were taken along with the car when it was stolen, those you have a good argument to claim under your homeowners or renters insurance. Were those items primarily for use or care of the vehicle? Well, we’re back into car insurance territory again.
Again, this can be a bit tricky because homeowners insurance does cover personal items kept outside the home, including in storage units - at least part of your losses will often be covered, usually around 10%. So if you have $25,000 of belongings in storage, if there was major damage you’d be getting $2,500 back. Not great, and additional storage insurance is available (some storage units require proof of insurance, in fact).
But as with the other items covered under a homeowners policy, vehicles are still not likely to be covered as personal property, even if they’re immobile under a dusty car cover in a storage unit or even at a specialized garage for high-value collectible cars (like, for example, our Garage+Social locations).
Bottom line for storing a car outside your home: You still almost certainly need an auto-specific insurance policy to cover any damage that might occur; if you get lucky and get damage covered under an off-premises clause, you probably receive as much claim money as you might expect.
We’ll answer that question with a couple more questions: How lucky do you feel, and what are you willing to risk? Because cars at home are not covered under homeowners insurance, letting an auto insurance policy lapse just because it never leaves the house is a dangerous gamble. It’s even more dangerous if that car is a collectible vehicle with a different kind of value than a daily driver does.
Even if the only moving your car does is to roll onto a trailer to get it to the next car show, we still strongly recommend having an insurance policy on it. Some insurance policies can bypass the things that keep you and others protected while driving - bodily injury and collision coverage, for example - and just provide comprehensive coverage for damage to the vehicle itself.
Another thing to keep in mind: Gaps in your insurance coverage could flag you as a higher risk to some insurers, and if you are still paying off the vehicle, having car insurance is likely mandatory until the title is free and clear. If you have special needs for your vehicle, it’s probably time to talk to an expert who can help get you exactly what you need.
Thinking about adding some coverage to your auto insurance policy after learning about what your homeowners policy won’t handle? If you have a collectible vehicle that primarily stays on your property, Hagerty has special policies built for low-mileage antique or classic vehicles that can save big money compared to more standardized daily-driver policies. Contact a Hagerty agent to learn more.