Do I have to get auto insurance if my car just sits in the garage?

Crawford Frazer

As an admirer of classic sports cars, you proudly own a 1969 Chevy Camaro. You wash and wax it weekly, and tune it every Saturday. The only thing that bothers you is this conundrum: State law demands that you have an insurance policy for the Camaro, but because you hardly drive it, you don't want to spend that extra money. Is there any way to avoid car insurance in this case?

Basic requirements

State laws determine the minimum requirements for auto insurance -- and most require minimum amounts of liability coverage, which protects other drivers from your negligence. Minimum liability insurance includes:

  • Bodily injury coverage per person you injure in an accident.
  • Bodily injury coverage per accident.
  • Property damage coverage.

Even if you rarely or never drive your car, you'll have to buy liability insurance in the amounts your state specifies so you can register your car.

How to find a happy medium

As you can see, you'll most likely have to get auto insurance, even if you do nothing more than admire your car. But that doesn't mean you have to pay exorbitant amounts for coverage.

There are some optional types of auto insurance that you might be able to drop. According to AAA, collision coverage (which covers you if your car hits another vehicle or structure) may be negotiable, whether your car is a collectible, a clunker that just sits in your driveway or a rarely used "extra" now that your spouse is retired. Here are some things to consider, according to Progressive:

  • Factor in the payment amount. Let's say you drive a car three times a month. Collision coverage costs $500 a year. If your car is worth just $2,500, should you spend 20 percent of its total value for extra auto insurance coverage when you drive it so rarely?
  • Consider the deductible. A high deductible usually means a low premium, according to Progressive. If the odds of you getting in an accident are very low because you hardly drive the car, you may want to raise your deductible to lower your premium.

Pay-as-you-drive policies

Pay-as-you-drive auto insurance policies have been approved in several states. These types of policies may help those who drive only occasionally, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

For some pay-as-you-drive policies, your premium is based on how many miles you drive. Some insurers allow you pay your premium in advance for a certain number of miles, and you'll have coverage until you "use up" those miles. If you rarely drive your car, that coverage should last a long time.

Progressive's Snapshot Discount program, meanwhile, lets the insurer monitor your driving for 30 days. Drivers who speed or drive during risky times (like rush hour) will pay more than drivers whose cars rarely budge from the garage.

See how much you could save today on your car insurance. Get your free auto insurance quotes today!