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Winter weather can bring many joys but it’s also the time when many people flock to warmer climates for an extended period of time. States like Arizona, Florida and California have a large population of snowbird residents and second homes for people from all walks of life and one of the most common questions when having a second residence is what type of car insurance do I need. Since car insurance laws vary by state it’s very important to understand auto insurance laws in your winter residency.
How much Snowbird Car Insurance should I have?
First you have to understand that the term snowbird is more or less a catchy name and certainly not one you will ever see in an insurance policy. You are a part time resident and while its cute to call yourself a snowbird when it comes to obtaining insurance stick to the facts. How much car insurance any snowbird will need depends on a few things.
Where is the car registered?
This plays a big role in determining how much car insurance is required since the requirements to register a vehicle and/or renew tags are based on the laws of the state which a vehicle is registered. Your home state may have lower insurance requirements or even different laws but whatever state the car is registered in will determine your minimum auto insurance requirements for the vehicle. With that said, most drivers opt for much higher coverage than state minimums and some popular snowbird states (such as Florida) have such low mandatory requirements this will hardly ever be an issue.
How much do you use the vehicle?
How often you use a vehicle is important since many car insurance companies offer low mileage discounts and if you plan on visiting a second home and lying out on the beach all winter then its very possible to get a solid auto insurance policy at very minimal cost due to the lack of any extensive use of the vehicle.
Who is driving the car?
While most car insurance companies extend coverage to drivers who use a vehicle with the owner’s permission do you have family members who reside in the second home year round? Often only casual users are automatically extended coverage and not un-named drivers who use the car as a primary vehicle. Plus the amount of coverage extended to any un-named individual is often far less than your policy coverage. Always inquire about the details of your insurance policy when it comes to additional drivers.
What types of Snowbird Car Insurance are available?
Car insurance companies really do not offer snowbird auto insurance policies. If they do its normally simply a hybrid policy based on already existing coverage uniquely marketed as snowbird insurance. In short, if you see a car insurance company advertising insurance for snowbirds then never think they are the only people in town. Practically every insurance provider offers the same policy coverage. You just need to call up and tell them you are a part time resident to see what options they have. Remember that wherever your vehicle is registered will dictate the minimum car insurance required to renew your vehicle every year regardless of your residency however there are ways to suspend or lower your insurance premiums when you move back up north in the spring.
How to Suspend a Car Insurance Policy?
This will depend on your insurance company. Suspending your auto insurance coverage will depend on who your insurer is. You also want to consider where the vehicle will be during your absence. If the vehicle is staying parked at your second home you still may want some form of insurance to cover any possible damage or theft while you are away. While a total suspension of your policy coverage is probably not the best option you can certainly opt for lower coverage during the months where the vehicle is not in use. This will help lower the cost of premiums and still provide some basic coverage in the event of an unforeseen accident.
What is the best Snowbird Car Insurance Policy?
Many snowbirds opt for a low mileage car insurance policy and carry the same coverage year around. Low mileage insurance policies often cost 50% or more less than traditional insurance and still provide the same level of coverage. It’s almost the perfect combination of finding cheap car insurance and avoiding the constant headache of dealing with insurance coverage every time you move. Not all insurance providers offer low mileage policies but its certainly worth checking into a low mileage auto insurance policy if you own a vehicle.
Who offers Cheap Car Insurance for Snowbirds?
Most states have a very competitive auto insurance industry with some averaging almost over 150 licensed auto insurers. The ability to find affordable premiums and respectable coverage in almost all of the popular snowbird states (such as Arizona, California, Florida etc.) is very easy to do. Most snowbirds start with a car insurance comparison search online and usually ending up finding a provider in much less time than it takes to figure out what beach to visit on New Year’s Day.
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