Winter is fast approaching and calls from our clients are already coming in. "We're heading south for the winter and won't be using our car. What is the best way of saving some premium?
Like most things to do with insurance, every situation is different and the answer is sometimes not so simple.
First, most insurers will allow credit when a vehicle has been put in storage. The typical minimum duration is 45 days. Store your vehicle for 6 months and the savings can really add up, so this should be taken advantage of.
If you have more than one car and only one is being stored, if you're driving one South for example, it is usually a simple matter of removing "all coverage except comprehensive (i.e. fire, theft, vandalism, etc)" on the stored vehicle. The insurer will calculate the refund based on the time left until your next expiry date and send a refund. It is absolutely critical that you arrange ahead of time to add the coverage back on, obviously before the vehicle will be used. Usually, it's just a phone call. Do note that new rates, if they have changed, will apply.
Human nature being the way it is though, care still needs to be taken when storing your car. A situation arose a few years ago when a client forgot to set the parking brake on a sloping driveway. The car, with NO collision or liability insurance on it, rolled out of the garage, down the driveway, across the road, and hit a parked car. It was uninsured (and expensive), but could have been much worse had a pedestrian been involved.
If you only have one car be extra careful! By removing "everything except comprehensive" you also remove the very important Accident Benefit/Medical coverage, which then eliminates any "automobile related" bodily injury protection such as if you were injured by a car while crossing the road. When you only own one car and it is being stored, it is best to use the "temporary suspension" option, which eliminates liability and collision coverage but preserves much of the Accident Benefit protection. The only drawback with this option is that the insurer does not calculate the premium refund until the previous "driving" coverage has been restored.
** PS – You might save even more by "storing" some of your services. Why not call your cable/internet provider, your delivered newspapers, etc., to see if you can reduce/remove services while you are away. Better in your pocket, then theirs right?
The Insurance Advisors @ Guthrie Insurance Brokers Ltd