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Does a non-running vehicle need to be insured?

My car needs a new engine and won't even start, so I'm not driving it at all, and I plan to sell it. Do I need to have this car insured even though it can't be driven?

Aug 1, 2018 Miami, FL

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Ava Lynch

Insurance Analyst

  • 7+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior insurance contributor, providing insights and data a…

Thanks for reaching out to The Zebra about this.

There are a couple of things to think about in your specific situation, and your solution will depend on how you want to handle this. Here are three scenarios to consider:

  1. If your car is registered you will need to have insurance on it, even if you are not driving it. If you do not have insurance, the state of Florida can suspend your license.
  2. Another option would be to turn your plates into the Department of Motor Vehicles. The car would no longer be legal to drive but you would not be penalized for not having insurance. This might be a good idea if you're planning on selling the vehicle for parts.
  3. However, if you plan to repair the vehicle, option two might not work for you. Most people buying a vehicle will want to test drive it. In this case, you'd need to have insurance and have plates.

Car insurance is generally mandatory, but there are exceptions to this and they aren't one-size-fits-all. It is best to research the laws for your state to make sure you know what is required. For folks who have a vehicle that they still want to protect even if it isn't being driven, you might want to carry comprehensive coverage nonetheless. The car may not run, but if a tree falls onto the garage in which it is being stored, you'll likely be glad you've got the correct coverage to pay for this.

You should also consider the possible implications of having a lapse in coverage. Even if this car is going to be sold, you'll likely need auto insurance again at some point and insurance companies will look at your coverage history when they evaluate your risk to determine premiums.

I hope this helps! Best of luck, and feel free to call The Zebra's agency at 888-255-4364 when you're ready to shop around for the right coverage to fit your situation.

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