A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Mar 3, 2022

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Important facts to know...

  • You may need to provide proof of your deployment status to your insurance company
  • Depending on your situation, you could choose to pay, cancel, or suspend your current policy
  • Your best bet is to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to notify them of your unique situation

When you are in the military and sent overseas, it’s important to look at how this move is going to impact your auto insurance. While USAA and similar companies can protect you when you move to a different state, a different country is a different story. Many American companies won’t cover you if you go into Mexico, Europe, etc. Some countries, like Canada, have stricter laws for base insurance coverage.

If you’re on a short-term deployment, you probably won’t take your car with you. You might leave it at home with family. If you’re moving for a 3 year term, though, you may not want to get stuck without a regular mode of transportation. Generally, the military will pay to move your primary vehicle. Auto policies are a personal expense, though.

What should you do if you decide to leave your car at home? Do you still need insurance in the first place?

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How can you show car insurance companies you are overseas?

Just because you’re deployed doesn’t mean that the laws don’t still apply. If you have a vehicle, it needs to be registered with the state which means you need an insurance policy on it. If family members or friends will be driving your car while you’re gone, it’s simple in some ways. They need to have a policy to cover them while they’re driving. This is much simpler if they’re family members who also have an ownership interest in the car.

Even if nobody is driving your car while you’re gone, you still need insurance. In some states, it could be required as part of your registration. However, many insurance companies are willing to work with you if you are in the military.

You will need to show that you have been deployed overseas. This might be a temporary deployment of three, six, or nine months or it might be a PCS (permanent change of station).

Many career military personnel will receive at least one PCS overseas, which often lasts two to four years. Whatever the situation might be, you need to figure out how you’re going to deal with your car.

Whether it sits in a driveway or storage, it’s important to have the insurance on it – or at least make sure you are squared away to remain compliant with state regulations.

Your deployment paperwork will need to be sent to the insurance company. Different insurance companies are going to require different paperwork. As such, you might have to work with your military branch to get what is being asked of you.

While most deployments are scheduled in advance, some are last minute. This possibility of late notice means you might not have the ability to contact the insurance company until you are already overseas.

As a result, you need to make this a priority as soon as you have the time to take care of the situation.

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What happens to your insurance policy while deployed overseas?

There is a big decision that you have to make when it comes to the auto insurance when you’re overseas.

  • Do you continue paying the policy?
  • Do you cancel it?
  • Do you suspend the policy?

The easiest solution is to keep paying the premium. However, it’s also going to be the most expensive short-term.

If someone is going to drive your vehicle while you’re gone, though, it might be necessary. If no one is going to drive the car, you could also get quotes from insurance companies to get the lowest possible premium so you’re not spending more than what’s necessary.

If you don’t want to deal with the expense, then you could cancel the policy as long as the state allows for it.

The only problem with canceling is that it could cost you more when you return because you haven’t had continuous coverage. So when they ask for proof of insurance, it won’t be possible for you to furnish it. In many states, you don’t have to carry collision or personal injury protection. The bulk of states require liability insurance coverage. If your car is going into storage or if it’ll be parked outside, you may still want to maintain comprehensive coverage. This will cover things like falling trees, floods, and other acts of god while you’re gone. It will also keep your insurance history active. So whether you decide to stay with the same company or switch after you come back, you’ll benefit from long-term coverage discounts and sometimes safe driver discounts. Keep in mind, if you have an umbrella or other additional policy, you don’t have to keep those to keep your

The other option is to suspend your policy. Many insurance companies provide this as an option, though it’s not always possible. It will depend on the insurance company as well as the laws in your state. You may also want to check into the long-term costs including any extra fees or increases in premiums when you restart your auto insurance.

If you choose an insurance company that is military-friendly, it will be easier to deal with such a thing if you do find yourself suddenly deployed overseas. Keep in mind, even if you use military focused USAA, they still have to adhere to state law, which could mean encouraging you to keep a liability policy even if you’re not driving at all.

Contact Your Insurance Company

The moment you have the opportunity to address your car insurance, you need to contact your insurance company. Let them know of the situation and where you are being deployed. The insurance company will be able to help you weigh the options that are available to you. Things like collision coverage and roadside assistance are easy to remove and re-add as needed. Depending on your situation, cancelling your policy entirely may be the right move. Always check with insurance professionals to make the right choice.

You might be able to suspend or cancel. If no one is driving your car but you don’t want to cancel, you might also be able to get the insurance company to lower the premiums.

Lower premiums are often possible because of:

  • Not being on the road
  • Lowering your coverage
  • Being deployed in the military

There’s no real way to know what your full list of options are until you call and talk with the insurance company.

In the end, being deployed overseas with the military means you have to take some kind of action with your car insurance.

Every situation is different based upon your finances, how long you’re going to be gone, and if someone else is going to be around to drive your vehicle.

Canceling your policy is dangerous, but you might be able to work a deal to keep paying at a more affordable premium or suspend your coverage until you get back into the United States.

Whatever you decide, make sure you compare quotes to get the best deal possible!