Question:  I am going on vacation for four months and would like to keep my car insurance but don’t want to pay it while I am gone. How do I do this without canceling my policy? Can I put insurance on suspension or hold?

Answer: Car insurance companies don’t allow you to put your policy on hold or suspend a policy for a period of time. Instead, you have to cancel your policy and then restart it when you want your coverage active again. However, there are downsides to this decision.

Canceling your auto insurance can be a hassle and leaves your vehicle without coverage, which may be an issue with your state.

Most states require you to have at least the state’s minimum amount of liability insurance on your vehicle in order to keep your vehicle registration valid.

If you take car insurance off of your vehicle, you must turn in your registration and plates to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or you could face penalties such as fines or even suspension of your registration and/or driver’s license.

There are a few states in which you can cancel your car insurance policy and suspend your registration, but this is typically for someone that has a long period of planned non-operation for their vehicle, such as over six months because they need to repair the vehicle, etc.

If you are only gone for four months, suspending your registration (if your state allows it) and canceling your car insurance may be more trouble than it’s worth and could cause your rates to rise when your return due to the lapse in coverage that auto insurers will see when you return and apply for a new car insurance policy.

Something else to consider: If you have financed your vehicle, then your lienholder will require you to keep coverage on the car, especially collision and comprehensive, since they want the car protected even while it’s sitting and not being used. There is still the chance the car could be hit or even stolen.

If you want to save money on your policy, then contact your car insurance company and let them know your vehicle will not be in use for four months, which will bring down the miles you put on your vehicle. Lowering the annual mileage you put on your car may trigger your rates to be discounted when you renew your car insurance policy.

author image
Penny Gusner
Consumer Analyst/Insurance Expert

Penny has been working in the car insurance business for more than 10 years and has become an expert on procedures, rates, policies and claims. She has seen it all, and working with from its inception, she researches the routine and the bizarre with equal enthusiasm. She has three very active children and a husband with a zeal for quirky cars.