For military personnel and many other professionals, travel is a part of life, and long trips away can leave a vehicle sitting for months on end. Faced with a prolonged absence, many car owners wonder if they can cancel their existing car insurance plans and restart their coverage when they return. Unfortunately, this isn't a viable option and - like leaving a car sitting for several months - can have many negative effects.
Why can't I cancel?
A lot of regulations prevent you from saving some money by canceling the policy on your unused auto. The main issue is that every state except for New Hampshire requires vehicles to be insured. In many cases, this extends beyond vehicles that are being driven and actually applies to a car's registration. If you cancel your policy, it could invalidate the car's license plates and make the process of regaining insurance much more difficult, Fox Business reported. Rather than simply finding new insurance, you would also have to reregister the car, which would be a drain on your time and money. Don't take a chance by trying to elude the regulators, either. Some states will fine you for every day that you do not invalidate your registration after halting your insurance.
While you might save money during the time the car is uninsured, those savings could be negated when you finally reinsure the vehicle. Without the legacy of your previous claim, insurers could increase the price of a policy, and the higher price may cost you more in the long run. You should also keep in mind that you'll be financially responsible for any damage that the vehicle incurs during its uninsured time, even if someone else is at fault. A random event like a falling tree can become a costly repair when you don't have insurance.
How do I keep my car in good shape?
Leaving a car for several months is generally ill-advised, so keep the insurance policy active and see if you can have a friend help with maintenance. He or she can ensure that the vehicle's tires remain inflated and occasionally fire up the engine to keep everything lubricated. If you abandon a car without a caretaker and return in a few months, you might be in for disappointment. The Globe and Mail reported that batteries can discharge over time without regular use, turning your prized automobile into little more than a large paperweight.