Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: May 2, 2022

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Key takeaways...

  • If you only drive your vehicle occasionally, it’s possible to save money on your car insurance on a car you rarely drive
  • Anyone who owns a car must comply with the state’s car insurance laws even if they only drive the car occasionally
  • Most states have mandatory insurance laws, but there are states with alternative options to prove financial responsibility
  • Make sure to calculate how much you think you’ll drive your car and take advantage of a low-mileage discount
  • Vehicles that aren’t used often may also qualify for a pleasure usage and extra vehicle rating that saves money

Although the reliance on vehicles in the United States is still very prevalent, some vehicle owners make the conscious decision to drive their cars only occasionally. These cars still need to be insured, even if they act more as a decoration the driveway than a mode of transportation. So, how can I get car insurance on a car I rarely drive? We can answer your question.

There are keys to lowering car insurance premiums, even when it comes to car insurance for rarely driver cars. We’re going to take a look at some of these, like parked car insurance as well as at how car insurance companies calculate your rates. Let’s discuss what you need to know about insurance for the occasional driver.

If you’d like to go ahead and start comparing the best car insurance if you don’t drive much, enter your ZIP code above!

Can you save money on your policy for being an occasional driver?

As much as you don’t want to pay for insurance, it’s nice to know that you can qualify for some discounts just because you only drive your car occasionally.

How you use your vehicle and how often you use it are important rating factors.

Those who use their cars a lot are a higher exposure to risk and those you use their car less aren’t – exposed to loss as often. The less that you’re exposed to a potential loss, the less that you’ll pay for your insurance.

Here are some ways occasional usage can influence your rates. Check out how car insurance companies calculate risk.

  • Vehicle usage rating — if you only drive around town for personal use, you can classify yourself as a pleasure user and save money compared to commuters
  • Annual mileage rating — you’ll be asked to estimate how much you’ll drive your car. Vehicles that fall into a low mileage bracket will receive a low-mileage discount
  • Daytime driver — mature drivers over 55 may be able to get a discount off of their coverage if they only drive their car during daylight hours
  • Multi-car rating — when you own another car in the home, you’ll automatically get a multi-car discount off of both cars
  • Extra car rating — if you have more cars in your home than licensed drivers, you may receive an extra car rating

These factors are what affects car insurance rates, but it’s by no means a full list. The average rates for car insurance in the United States are below.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type
Car Insurance Coverage TypeAnnual Average Rates
Full Coverage$954.99

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But cars that are only occasionally driven may have extra options and discounts available, so make sure to talk to your auto insurance company about your options. If you’re shopping for an auto insurance policy, get insurance quotes from multiple insurance providers so you can find the lowest rate.

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Parked Car Insurance For Rarely Used Cars

What is parked car insurance? You can still insure a car that is not driven often. If you have a vehicle that doesn’t get used much like a convertible during winter or a classic car you might opt for parked car coverage.

This is comprehensive-only car insurance that covers vehicles that won’t be driven at all for a long period of time. Take a look at the average cost of comprehensive insurance in different states below.

Average Annual Comprehensive Car Insurance Rates
StatesAverage Annual Comprehensive Coverage Rates
New Hampshire$103.03
Rhode Island$122.17
North Carolina$123.00
New Jersey$123.18
New York$156.66
South Carolina$165.38
New Mexico$166.89
West Virginia$195.04
North Dakota$227.64
South Dakota$228.59
District of Columbia$230.25

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For vehicles that will be in your garage, driveway, or storage unit for a prolonged period of time, you can get something called parked car insurance. This refers to comprehensive-only coverage that covers incidentals like:

  • A tree limb that falls on your car in the driveway
  • Theft
  • Vandalism

For parked car coverage, you usually have to prove to the insurance company that you have another vehicle for day-to-day use. You can insurance multiple cars and get special multi-vehicle discounts. The best car for occasional use is one that you can choose comprehensive-only coverage for an extended period of time.

You have other options if you have a parked car that is truly not going to be driven for years. California’s DMV allows you to file a vehicle as Planned Non-Operable (PNO). It does come with some serious limitations though.

You can’t drive, store, or tow a vehicle on public highways while it is deemed PNO.

Workers With a Short Commute Can Save Money on Car Insurance

One factor that car insurance companies look at when determining your rates is your commute length, which is determined based on which mileage bracket you fit into. What are car insurance mileage brackets?

If you find yourself queuing up your favorite podcasts for the drive to work, you’re not alone. DataUSA reports that the average commute for a worker in the United States is 25.7 minutes.

And your car insurance is probably a little higher than someone who lives and works near your neighborhood.

Many insurers break down your rates into two categories:

  • 10-mile one-way commute/ 6,000 annual miles
  • 25-mile one-way commute/ 12,000 annual miles

You can see below how your insurance premium might change based on commute length.

Average Annual Full Coverage Car Insurance Rates by Commute Length
CompaniesRates for
10 Miles Commute
6000 Annual Mileage
Rates for
25 Miles Commute
12000 Annual Mileage
State Farm$3,175.98$3,344.01
American Family$3,401.30$3,484.88
Liberty Mutual$5,995.27$6,151.63

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And though it’s not the biggest factor that determines your rates, it does impact them. Insurance for a car not driven much will be cheaper than one that racks up miles.

Your driving record and credit score can make a far bigger dent in your wallet.

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Should you carry liability auto insurance for rarely driven cars?

Should you carry minimum limits if you only drive occasionally? You have to have the minimum coverage limits of liability insurance for Bodily Injury coverage and Property Damage coverage when you’re securing a policy just to comply with the state.

Sometimes, limits that are required are as low as $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.

This video from Allstate explains liability coverage.

That type of limit might be enough to pay for minor injuries, but it’s not going to save the day if you’re in a multi-car accident.

No matter how little you drive, it only takes one trip the local store to change your life. Car crashes can happen in the blink of an eye and if you panic for just a second you could be the one found liable for the event.

If you elect to carry a minimum amount of protection and the worst happens, your drive to the store could cost you your income and your assets.

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How do you insure a financed car that you rarely drive?

You can’t buy state minimum coverage on a financed car and call it a day. Purchasing a basic policy is the most popular way to keep premiums low, but failing to carry additional coverage will land you in hot water with the finance company.

Your lending agreement says that you have to insure the property you’re financing. Since you don’t hold the title to the car, you are expected to insure it just so that finance company knows that you can repair it or replace it after any common type of loss.

You need to carry comprehensive and collision insurance at a minimum.

Driving occasionally isn’t a way to dodge insurance laws. If you own a car, you need coverage. Your policy doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you put in the time to shop around. Use your time wisely and log onto the Internet to comparison shop rates on a single platform.

Do you need car insurance if you rarely drive?

If you drive occasionally, do you even need insurance?

Do you have to insure your car if you are not driving it? As you can see, you’re not alone when it comes to cutting back on your driving. There may have been a time where you drove everywhere with little regard to gas consumption and wear and tear.

Now that you realize how much it truly costs to drive, you might just keep your license in unique situations where you’ll need to drive.

If you drive occasionally rather than regularly, you may still need insurance. It all depends on whether or not you own the car you’ll be driving.

If you own the car, you must comply with whatever the state’s insurance law says in the state where the vehicle is registered.

Most states require some form of liability car insurance. Liability insurance pays for damages to another party that you’ve caused in an accident. The required liability limits vary by state.

If you’re not financing your car, you don’t necessarily need collision coverage, but if you don’t get it and your car is damaged in an accident you cause, your insurance won’t be of help. Collision coverage pays to repair your car after an at-fault accident. Additional types of coverage like personal injury protection, however, may not be necessary.

If you don’t own a car, you don’t legally have to buy insurance. Even though it’s not required by law, you might consider a non-owners policy for protection when you’re borrowing someone’s car.

A non-owner policy affords you some form of low-cost liability coverage when you’re renting a car or borrowing a car from someone you don’t live with.

It’s always nice to feel like you have options. If insurance isn’t explicitly mandatory and you only drive your car from time to time, it’s very tempting to just deposit the money and avoid paying premiums.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to deposit thousands of dollars that will be held by the state just in case you have a loss.

Most people don’t want to part with thousands of dollars in the blink of an eye. Others don’t want to sign their home or other property as collateral for a bond.

The best option is to pay premiums for car insurance that provides you with protection for pennies on the dollar. Paying for coverage that you don’t need can protect your money.

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Is car insurance mandatory in every state?

The state legislature dictates whether or not residents in the state have to insure an automobile when that personal vehicle is registered through the motor vehicle agency. While insurance isn’t required in every state, there are only two states in the whole country that don’t have a compulsory insurance law.

Some states may have modified compulsory insurance laws that say that a vehicle owner could satisfy the law by purchasing insurance or by proving they are financially responsible in another way.

Some alternative forms of proof that states accept include:

  • A cash deposit with the state treasurer
  • Filing a surety bond with the state secured by collateral
  • Filling out an application for self-insurance that’s approved by the state

If you think this is an option you want to explore, check with your state’s DMV.

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How Vehicle Trends Are Changing

Not everyone relies on a car to get business done. In fact, recent studies show that Millenials are less reliant on cars than the generation before them.

It’s anticipated that vehicle ownership will continue to drop as more and more transportation services like Uber and Lyft become available in metropolitan, suburban, and rural areas.

Driving is still the favorite mode of transportation when it comes to commuting to and from work.

The automotive industry isn’t happy to hear that the 21st century has officially been declared as the end of the car age. More and more people are connected by public transportation and vehicle sharing services, and it reduces the average person’s dependence on their vehicle.

A report from the University of Michigan reported that only three out of four people aged 20 to 24 had a driver’s license in 2014. That’s a huge percentage of Millenials that aren’t even getting their license let alone buying their own car.

Not only are people steering clear of getting a license. NPR reports that many Americans are driving less and getting rid of their cars in all age groups. In fact, the New York Times even states that the rate of car ownership has declined by nine percent and so has the number of miles driven per person.

What are the cheapest car insurance rates for rarely-driven cars? Start comparison shopping today for better car insurance for a car rarely driven. Enter your ZIP code below!