The screech of the garage door and the low rumblings of an engine spark the same declaration every evening, “MAMA! I HEAR SOMETHING- MY DADDY’S HOME!” Some days she runs out to greet her father and his noisy Jeep in the driveway, other times she waits for him right inside the doorway anxious to give hugs and kisses. As my family prepares for an upcoming deployment, I think about the quiet of the evenings where no Jeep stirs excitement and declarations of love from my girls. I am embarrassed to admit, I cannot drive the beloved Jeep, my attempts at learning to drive a manual vehicle have been sadly lacking in efficiency (and cut short after the piercing gear grinding and stalling). I know no one will be driving this vehicle while my spouse is away so I began to research our options for short term or temporary vehicle insurance while my spouse is at sea.
Speaking to a representative, who patiently walked me through all of our options (and our current coverage as well as how things would look without one of our usual drivers) they recommended considering the following:
Option 1: Change Operator Status Call to speak with an auto insurance representative to discuss who is driving which vehicle (aka “operator status”). Ask for a quote if there are changes to deployed family member's operator status to "non-operator" if there are multiple operators on the policy or "alternate operator" if the person being deployed is the only operator on the policy. For my family’s policy, removing my spouse as an operator made no difference in the cost of our insurance. Factors are based on different variables including your spouse’s driving history and the state you are stationed.
Option 2: Placing the vehicle in storage Many states allow for a discount if a vehicle will be placed in storage. Check with a representative to see whether this option to temporarily place the deployed family member’s vehicle in storage will reduce your premiums.
Option 3: Reducing Mileage Estimates You can also speak to a representative to set the mileage estimate (your guess to how many miles your vehicle is driven on a yearly basis) for the length of deployment to zero on the deployed family member’s main vehicle.
Option 4: Removing Collision You can consider removing collision insurance from the vehicle (as long as it will not be driven at all during the deployment) for potential savings on your policy. Since I cannot drive standard, my husband’s car will not be driven at all during his cruise, so I feel comfortable temporarily removing collision from our policy for his vehicle. If the vehicle is financed, you will have to contact the lienholder for a "waiver of collision" before deleting collision coverage from the policy.
Whether you choose a temporary insurance option like storage or a non operator status for your deployed family member’s vehicle, there are ways to ensure your policy is up to date and you are saving a little bit (when applicable) on your auto insurance bill. Speaking with an auto insurance specialist will ensure you make the right decisions for your family’s unique situation and needs. It won’t take the sting out of not hearing your spouse’s car pull into the driveway each night, but will be one less thing on the list of things to worry about during deployment.
USAA’s Deployment Checklist
About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (3 years and 11 months), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.
Membership eligibility and product restrictions apply and are subject to change.
Coverage descriptions are brief and subject to the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. Read your insurance policy for details. Applications subject to underwriting.
Storage discount is not available in CA, HI, NC and VA. To qualify for the discount, the vehicle must not be driven and must be stored in a secure location. Premium savings are a result of changes in coverage. Other restrictions apply.
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