If you have a vehicle that you don’t drive very often, you likely have plenty of questions about insuring it. You may want to know if you have to insure the car or can get a discount. There are plenty of money-saving options available, including mileage-based policies, usage-based policies and existing policies that you add a second car to.
To help ensure you get the best rates on your insurance for both your rarely driven cars and your frequently driven vehicles, our experts have examined all the major auto insurance companies. We used that research to find the best car insurance providers and pass on that information to you. We also created the quote box to get you free auto insurance quotes with just your zip code.
Do You Need Insurance If You Drive Infrequently?
Yes, you need auto insurance even if you don’t drive the car frequently. Every single state, except New Hampshire, requires at least some insurance. The exception is if you do not register the car and leave it in storage.
The level of coverage that you need will depend on your state. Most states require liability coverage. Some also require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Others also require personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
You must always meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements. However, you don’t necessarily have to get full coverage insurance unless it makes sense for you. Remember that full coverage includes collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.
Can You Save Money If You Rarely Drive Your Car?
Yes, there are several ways to save money if you rarely drive your car. However, the methods that you can use to save this money will depend on the insurance company you choose and which programs they offer in your state.
How to Save on Auto Insurance for Rarely Driven Cars
If you have a rarely driven car, the following methods are the best ways to save money on insurance for it:
Add the Car to Another Policy
One of the simplest options is to add the rarely driven car to an existing policy. This is because insuring a second car on a single policy tends to be cheaper than insuring two cars separately. Part of this is from the multi-vehicle discounts that most major insurance providers offer.
If the auto in question is your second car and you already have a policy for the one you typically drive, you could just add the rarely driven one to the current policy.
You can also look into sharing your auto insurance policy with a family member or a roommate. Just remember that auto insurers will typically require you to share an address with someone if you are going to share a policy with them. There are exceptions to this from some policies, such as engaged couples, but those are rare.
Usage-Based Car Insurance
Usage-based car insurance (also known as pay-as-you-go insurance) refers to a program that relies on technology to track your habits as you drive. They then offer you discounts based on safe driving habits.
Most of these programs will offer discounts for low mileage. If you rarely drive the car, you will probably drive a low number of miles. As a bonus, you may get even larger discounts from these programs if you have other safe driving habits. Examples include accelerating and decelerating safely.
That means that even if you don’t drive often, you may want to skip these usage-based insurance programs if you tend to drive aggressively.
The following are some of the usage-based programs that you can find:
- Esurance DriveSense®
- USAA Noblr
- GEICO DriveEasy
- Farmers Signal®
- Nationwide SmartRide®
- Progressive Snapshot®
- Liberty Mutual RightTrack®
- State Farm Drive Safe & SaveTM
Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance
Another good option if you don’t drive your car very often is pay-per-mile coverage. This cheap auto insurance program charges you a low flat rate per month and then a very low rate per mile you drive. You could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year if you maintain lower-than-average mileage.
Some pay-per-mile programs to look into include:
- Allstate Milewise®
- Nationwide SmartMiles®
Classic Car Insurance
Depending on your model and model year, you may also want to consider classic car insurance for your rarely driven car. This is an option if your car is from before 1980 or is a collectible car. That can include limited edition cars, special edition cars, supercars, import cars and similar categories.
To get classic car insurance, your car must meet the insurer’s requirements to qualify as a classic car. It also cannot be your daily driver. Most also have mileage limits, so this will only work if you only drive a few thousand miles per year.
Another option to save money on insurance for your rarely driven car is to choose one of the car insurance companies that offer low-mileage discounts. These discounts will typically require you to prove your annual mileage with annual odometer readings or through a usage-based app. The requirements for low mileage will vary based on the insurance provider.
Some of the providers that offer this type of discount include:
- American Family
If you rarely drive your car because you are deployed in the military, you have some extra options as well. Both USAA and GEICO offer discounts for maintaining your car insurance when you are on military deployment.
The requirements for these discounts depend on the auto insurance company. For example, USAA requires you to store your vehicle during deployment. GEICO, on the other hand, requires your deployment to be in an imminent danger pay area.
Garage Vehicle on Military Base
Another opportunity for military personnel who rarely drive their car is to store it in a garage on a military base and look for a company that offers a discount for doing so. USAA is one option.
Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance
To make your search for auto insurance for a car you rarely drive easier, we share the results of our expert’s research with you. We listed GEICO, USAA and Progressive as the top choices.
No matter how frequently you drive your car or the type of auto insurance policy that you want, it’s smart to compare quotes from various insurance providers. This way, you’ll get the best car insurance rates without sacrificing car insurance coverage.
You could compare auto insurance quotes yourself, but this is time-consuming, as you need to request quotes from each provider. Using a comparison tool like a quote box is a much simpler and more efficient option to find the best car insurance policy.
GEICO: Best Overall
Our experts awarded GEICO an overall rating of 9.1 out of 10. This reflects a 9.4 for cost, an 8.5 for coverage, a 9.0 for customer experience and a 9.8 for industry reputation.
As mentioned earlier, GEICO offers usage-based auto insurance via DriveEasy. This program isn’t available in all states, but can lead to discounts for low mileage. You can also get classic car insurance with GEICO if that applies to your car.
You may also be interested in other GEICO car insurance discounts, such as those for the military, people with defensive driving training and good students.
USAA: Best Military Provider
USAA earned a 9.6 out of 10 overall. This includes a 9.3 for industry reputation and customer experience, a 10.0 for cost and 9.5 for coverage.
USAA also offers classic car insurance if your car would qualify for that. You can find the SafePilot usage-based policy from USAA. You may also look into Noblr, a USAA-owned company that provides usage-based coverage for low-mileage and safe drivers.
USAA also offers discounts for military installations. Other discounts available include for families, vehicle storage, defensive driving and more.
Progressive: Best for High-Risk Drivers
Progressive received an overall rating of 9.1 out of 10, but with a different break-down than GEICO. Progressive earned a 9.0 for coverage, 9.3 for cost, an 8.9 for customer experience and a 9.1 for industry reputation.
Progressive’s usage-based website is called Snapshot, and you can opt for this program in nearly every state. The insurance provider also offers classic car coverage.
Some of the other discounts you may want to consider include for distant students, homeowners and those going paperless.
FAQ: Six-Month Car Insurance Policy
How do I insure a car I rarely drive?
You can insure a car you rarely drive with a standard insurance policy. You can save money by adding it as a second car to an existing policy or choosing a policy with a low-mileage discount. There are also usage-based discounts and pay-per-mile programs that may appeal to you.
Does a car need insurance if it isn’t being driven?
Yes, in nearly every state, your car needs insurance unless it is stored and not registered. If it is registered, you need to insure it.
Is auto insurance cheaper if you drive less?
It is not automatically less, but some providers offer low-mileage or usage-based discounts. You can also frequently save money with pay-per-mile policies.
Does car insurance cover occasional drivers?
Yes, occasional drivers have many options for auto insurance.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car insurance provider to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Our in-depth rating system takes into account market share, coverage, auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each insurer is given a weighted score in four categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto insurance companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.