As a veteran or active member of the military, you have options for military auto insurance discounts. If you are deployed, some auto insurance companies such as Esurance, Geico and USAA will work to cancel and reinstate your coverage, or offer a reduced premium, while you're deployed.
Does the military offer car insurance?
The military does not offer car insurance for your personal vehicle. However, many car insurance companies offer military auto insurance discounts for military members and their families. Those who are eligible are typically:
- Active or retired from the military or a member of the National Guard.
- Junior or senior cadets at one of the military academies.
Which car insurance is best for military members?
The best car insurance for military members depends on your specific situation. For example, if you are an active member of the military and deployed, some insurance companies offer deployment-storage discounts, or allow you to cancel and reinstate your coverage.
If you already have car insurance, contact your agent to find out if your insurer offers military auto insurance discounts.
Examples of U.S. military auto insurance discounts
Don't forget to ask your insurance agent about other types of auto insurance discounts. For example, you might qualify for bundling discounts, good driver discounts and car-safety feature discounts.
Do military members have to change car insurance?
Military members don't have to change car insurance, but if your military status changes, it's a good idea to speak with your insurance agent. For example, if you expect to move to a military base in another state, you'll want to let your insurer know and find out your new rate.
You'll also want to think about deployment. Some insurers might require you to keep your coverage active while you're deployed. Other insurance companies, such as Esurance, will let you cancel (and later reinstate) coverage. This special provision does not leave a gap in coverage on your record.
Some policies may allow you to remove drivers from a policy while they're on deployment.
Tips for car insurance and military deployment
If you're going to store a vehicle and cancel your insurance policy while you're deployed, there may be additional steps to take, depending on your state. You might need to:
- Get an affidavit of non-use. Contact your DMV. The affidavit allows drivers to legally own an uninsured vehicle.
- Notify the DMV of your deployment. Most states can make arrangements so your license and registration don't expire while you're deployed.
- Move your car to storage or an off-street location like a driveway, garage or storage facility.
If you are deployed and storing a vehicle for more than 30 days, it's a good idea to:
- Find secure storage. If possible, store the car in an enclosed and locked facility.
- Protect the car from the elements. If you can't store the car inside, protect it with a weatherproof cover.
- Top off the gas tank. This prevents moisture from building up inside the fuel tank and keeps the seals from drying out.
- Add a fuel stabilizer. This prevents ethanol buildup and protects the engine from gum, varnish, rust and gas deterioration.
- Wash the car. Water stains and bird droppings can damage the paint. Clean the wheels and undersides of mud, grease and tar.
- Change the oil. If you're storing a car for more than 30 days, clean oil will help prevent used engine oil contaminants from damaging the engine.
- Release the parking brake. If the brake pads make contact with the rotors for too long, they could fuse. Instead, place a tire stopper or "chock" to keep the car from moving.
- Prevent tire flat spots. Tires can develop flat spots if the vehicle stays in the same place for too long. Consider taking the tires off and putting the car on jack stands at all four corners.
- Keep the battery charged. If you can, have someone start the car every two weeks and drive it for about 15 minutes. Ask your insurance agent if this person needs to be listed on your policy. However, if you paused insurance while on deployment, it's not legal to drive it. You may want to purchase a battery tender, which plugs into a wall outlet, or disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Beware of critters. Cover any gaps where animals could get into the car (just be sure to remove them when you drive it again). You may also want to spread mothballs or cotton swabs dipped in peppermint oil around the car (the smell is said to drive mice away).
When you're ready to drive your car again, contact your insurance company before taking it out on the road. Once you've verified the vehicle has coverage, it's a good idea to:
- Check under the hood. Look for evidence of rodents: chewed wires, belts, hoses or nests. If you covered the muffler or air intake, remove the cover before starting the car.
- Check the windshield wipers. Make sure the rubber isn't cracked or brittle.
- Check the tires. Inflate the tires to the proper pressure (specifications are usually found on the tire's sidewalls).
- Check the brakes. Rust may have built up on the rotors if it's been stored for a long time and will typically go away after driving it for a short time. You may want to have a mechanic look at the brakes to make sure it's safe to drive.
- Check fluids. Make sure there are no leaks and all fluids are at proper levels.
- Reconnect the battery. If you disconnected the battery, make sure the terminals are clean before reconnecting it.
- Wash your vehicle. Remove any dirt or debris that might have built up while the car was stored.
- Take your vehicle to a mechanic. If the car hasn't been driven in a while, you may want to have a mechanic look it over in case there are any repairs that need to be done.
- Get your state inspection. If your state requires inspections, it may have expired while you were gone.