Can You Get Seasonal Vehicle Insurance?

Can You Get Seasonal Vehicle Insurance?

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated October 12, 2021

Operating a vehicle on Canadian roadways requires that it be insured. But what happens when you don’t use your vehicle for months out of the year? Is it necessary to continue paying insurance premiums even when your vehicle is not in use for extended periods of time? 

More specifically, is it possible to take out a seasonal vehicle insurance policy instead of a traditional insurance plan to help you save money on premiums?

What Is Seasonal Vehicle Insurance?

“Seasonal vehicle insurance” doesn’t actually exist. You can’t just purchase a vehicle insurance policy for a couple of months a year, for example, then cancel it the rest of the year, only to repeat the process again in a few months. 

That said, short-term auto insurance does exist. However, not many insurance providers offer it. Standard vehicle insurance policies have at least a one-year term, though some insurers may provide 6-month policies. 

Even if you only use a certain vehicle for a few months a year, you should still insure it for the full year, even if it’s just sitting in storage. When not in use, your vehicle may still be vulnerable to theft, damage, vandalism, and other issues. As such, it’s always important to ensure that it’s adequately covered with some form of insurance to protect you in these unexpected situations. 

Depending on your insurance provider, it may be possible for you to take off the required liability portion of your policy, as well as the optional collision coverage while storing your vehicle. Be sure to speak with your particular insurance company, as different firms provide different options, as do different provinces. 

Learn about other ways you can save money on your car insurance.

Types Of Seasonal Vehicles 

There are several different types of vehicles that may not be used year-round, but rather on a temporary basis, such as the following:

  • Motorcycles
  • Recreational vehicles (RVs)
  • Boats
  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • Sports cars

Should You Cancel Your Car Insurance Early? 

You might be tempted to cancel your insurance policy when you’re not using your vehicles for a few months, but that’s a bad idea. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Driving without insurance is illegal. While you may not have to operate your vehicle for a certain period of time, there is a chance that you may want or need to take it out of storage to use for whatever reason. If you are caught driving your vehicle without insurance, you could face serious repercussions, including losing your licence. 
  • No protection if your vehicle is stolen or damaged. As mentioned, there’s always a chance that your vehicle could be subject to theft or damage while it’s in storage not being used. If that happens and your vehicle is not insured, you’ll be stuck paying for the damages or replacement costs in full yourself.
  • Higher premiums with gaps in coverage. A lapse in insurance coverage could increase your premiums the next time you call your insurer to put your policy back in place. Depending on how long you go without coverage, your insurance company might consider you to be high-risk, which can further drive premium prices up. And in some cases, your insurance provider may completely erase your insurance history if you go 2 years or more without insurance. 

Find out if you can put your car insurance on hold.

What Kind Of Coverage Should You Have When Your Seasonal Vehicle Is In Storage?

Rather than cancel your insurance policy on your vehicle during the months that you’re not using it, consider changing the type of coverage you have. For example, you can remove the collision portion of your policy to reduce the cost of your premiums. 

This coverage protects you against any damage done to your vehicle if you ever get into a collision with another vehicle or object. You might also be able to remove the liability coverage portion of your policy during the months that you’re not using your vehicle if possible, while retaining comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage is important to have because it protects you in the event that your vehicle is stolen, vandalised, or damaged from fire, falling objects, natural disasters, or other situations while it’s in storage.

You might also want to look into classic car insurance if the vehicle you’re ensuring is a classic model that’s at least 10 years old. This type of coverage is designed for vehicles that are considered seasonal by insurance companies that only require a minimal amount of coverage when stored. 

Tips On Insuring Your Seasonal Vehicle

To make sure your vehicle is adequately covered at all times, consider the following tips:

  • Remember to reactivate your policy. After months of your vehicle being in storage and paying for minimal insurance coverage, you’ll want to make sure that it’is fully covered once it’s time to take it out of hibernation. Before you operate your vehicle on the roadways, remember to reinstate your insurance policy first so that you’re adequately covered and adhering to legal requirements. 
  • Inquire about discounts. If you’re looking to keep your insurance costs low, ask your insurance provider if you qualify for any discounts. For instance, insurance providers tend to offer discounts to seniors, students, or recent driving course grads. There may also be discounts for good driving records, security systems installed in your vehicle, having multiple policies with one insurer, or choosing a higher deductible. 
  • Have your vehicle’s value appraised. If your seasonal vehicle is high in value, you might want to have it appraised every time you take it out of storage to make sure that its full value is covered under the policy. 
  • Find out the licensing requirements in your province. Every province in Canada might have different regulations when it comes to vehicle insurance and licensing requirements. So be sure to find out exactly what these are where you live, and if the license plate sticker is valid and up-to-date.
  • Inspect your vehicle before taking it out on the road. Vehicles that have been in storage for an extended period of time may need to be thoroughly inspected before driven to make sure they’re in good condition. This includes checking the fluid levels and inflating the tires, among other things. 

Find out if parking tickets affect your insurance rates.

Seasonal Vehicle Insurance FAQs

What’s the difference between seasonal and temporary car insurance? 

Seasonal car insurance extends the comprehensive coverage portion of your vehicle insurance policy year-round, which protects it from theft, vandalism, or damage from fire or other natural disasters. On the other hand, temporary car insurance only offers coverage for the period of a short-term policy. 

Can I insure my seasonal vehicle during summer or winter only? 

Yes, but it’s recommended that you insure your vehicle for the entire year, as this will ensure that your vehicle is covered in the event of theft or damage while in storage. To keep costs low during the months when you’re not using your vehicle, you can simply keep the comprehensive coverage portion and remove the liability and collision coverage from your policy.

What is temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance is used for short-term coverage. While car insurance is usually bought by the year, it can also be purchased for shorter time periods from as little as a few weeks up to 6 months. This type of auto insurance may be useful for people like snowbirds who may only be around to use their vehicles a few months out of the year. 

Final Thoughts

Considering the cost of vehicle insurance, it might make sense to consider opting out of a policy during the months of the year when you’re not using your vehicle. But while this may be possible, you’d probably be better off keeping your policy active on your vehicle. In this case, simply keep your policy to a minimum to reduce costs while ensuring that your vehicle is still adequately covered. 

Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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