All insurance premiums-whether for a home, a car, or a life-are based on risk: Lower risks command lower insurance costs. That's why insurance on beach houses costs more than on inland homes and smokers pay higher premiums than non-smokers. The same principle applies to seasonal vehicles. Used only for part of the year, seasonal vehicles incur lower risks.
Common seasonal vehicles include ATVs, RVs, and boats; snowmobiles; and collector cars that may be stored for much of the year. Another example is commercial vehicles used for season-specific enterprises, such as food service vans for summer fairs and salt trucks for winter road maintenance.
In and out of storage, seasonal vehicles still need insurance all year to cover risks such as fire, theft, and damage from factors like weather. Your home insurance policy does not adequately cover seasonal vehicles; however, you may be able to add it to your automobile insurance coverage. But because seasonal vehicles do not need full coverage for the entire year, the total insurance costs are lower than for the same vehicles used all year. Still, owners of seasonal vehicles can do three things to lower their insurance costs even more.
First, keep your seasonal vehicle well maintained. Just as non-smokers (deemed to be healthier) incur lower insurance costs than smokers (deemed to be less healthy), well maintained vehicles are considered lower risks for claims. If a seasonal vehicle is stored for part of the year, you must perform additional maintenance duties to protect your vehicle from increasing any risks and thus your insurance costs. Do not do anything that may cause your insurer to accuse you of negligence.
Second, keep your seasonal vehicle secure. As with any vehicle, make sure that the area where you store your seasonal vehicle is free of fire hazards and contains a smoke detector. Also make sure that your storage area is properly locked, lit, and alarmed. If your seasonal vehicle is stored remotely, regularly check it and record your visits.
Third, shop for the best rates. Many insurers have options, usually quarterly, for policies on seasonal vehicles. Be sure you understand the difference between seasonal and regular insurance rates. Compare them for your vehicle while it's in use and in storage. One option might be to keep your vehicle's regular insurance but end coverage when the off-season period begins. As with any insurance, you can often negotiate rates with your insurer.
The less you use your vehicle the less you pay in insurance costs. If you have a seasonal vehicle, you can definitely benefit from seasonal insurance. But never forget that you still have to protect your vehicles 12 months of the year.