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Planning to park or store your car for a while? If you won’t be using your vehicle for some time, you may be wondering whether or not to cancel your car insurance to save a couple of bucks on your premium.

Whether or not you’re driving your car, it should be protected – and the good news is, there’s coverage you can turn on to ensure you keep all the protection of your current car insurance, without having to pay the full price. Instead of cancelling your car insurance altogether, long-term parking (LTP) guarantees coverage in case of unforeseen events like fire, theft, or other incidents.

What is long-term parking coverage?

When you park or store your car with no immediate plans to drive or move it, you can activate long-term parking. This maintains a minimum amount of coverage for your vehicle, and reduces your price significantly since it’ll be stored safely.

What kind of protection will my car have with long-term parking?

It’ll keep all the same coverages as your normal policy – except there will be no coverage if you drive or move it, hence the lower price.

Long-term parking (LTP) coverage is a fantastic solution that ensures your vehicle remains protected even when you're temporarily away and your car is not being used.

When to opt for long-term parking coverage

Long-term parking is a great option for anyone who isn’t planning to drive their car for a bit, and would like to save on insurance without forfeiting their coverage completely. 

  • If you’re a snowbird, wintering in Arizona or Florida (or anywhere else for that matter), you can rest easy knowing your wheels, if properly stored, are still covered for the bare necessities.
  • If you’re a car collector, who pulls their ride out for the summer, LTP is a great option for you as well.
  • Finally, if a long-term health condition has left you unable to drive, Onlia is here to help protect your car during that time.

Onlia Insurance customers can turn long-term parking on (and off) in minutes through My Account:

  1. Select your car policy.
  2. Click on "Turn on long-term parking."
  3. Review and submit your changes in the shopping cart.

The change will take effect the following day at 12:01 am. And when you're ready to hit the road again, you can reactivate your policy's coverage the same way. 

What happens if my car is broken into?

When you store your car in a safe spot, the last thing you expect is a break-in. However, break-ins do occur, and fortunately there are coverages in place to protect you depending on the situation. 

In the event that your car is damaged during the break-in, you can be confident in knowing that’s it’s covered under the comprehensive insurance package of your car policy — provided you opted in for it.

If valuable items were stolen from your vehicle during the break-in, your home insurance will step in to cover the belongings. These may include items like laptops, gym bags, cameras, cell phones, and even sports equipment.

Personal property coverage, also known as contents coverage, is an essential part of your home insurance package that covers the theft of items from your car. Bundling your car and home insurance can be a wise decision as it can lower your overall costs and provide coverage for both your car and the items inside it.

Home insurance also covers secondary structures on your property, such as detached garages, where you're likely to store your LTP vehicle. So, if, for example, a tree falls on your garage with the stored vehicle inside, you'll be covered based on the level of personal property coverage you opted for. The coverage amounts and limits may vary depending on your specific home insurance policy, so it's always a good idea to check the details of your individual policy.

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What happens if your car is stolen while in long-term parking?

LTP includes coverage for car theft as part of your comprehensive coverage — so if you had comprehensive coverage as part of your policy, you’ll be covered. Once you activate LTP, most of your coverage remains the same — just at a reduced level — since your vehicle will be in storage.

If you’ve discovered your car’s missing, remain calm, and then contact your local police department to file a report. While the chances of recovering your car are typically low, the information you provide might be crucial in solving your own, or other cases.

Afterward, reach out to your insurance company to start a claim. If you prefer talking on the phone, remember to stay calm so they can assist you. Alternatively, you can choose the convenient online claims process provided by Onlia.

Safeguarding your vehicle

Did you know that in the first half of 2023, over 10,000 cars were stolen in Ontario, a whopping 45% increase from the previous year? That’s a high number! It's essential to prioritize protecting your car from potential thieves. They might be looking for unlocked doors or loose change in the console, or even resorting to high-tech methods to steal cars with the latest technology.

To beef up your car's security, you might consider installing an aftermarket alarm that can't be silenced easily. Using a programmable GPS tracker can notify you if your car moves unexpectedly. You can also set up additional sensors that only unlock when a specific cellphone is near the vehicle, making a dummy key fob useless. 

Other handy tools are tags, which are placed in your car. The small RFID devices are strategically installed on vehicle parts that are commonly targeted by thieves. The transponders are individually assigned unique serial numbers, significantly reducing the possibility of stolen goods being traded on the market. Onlia provides discounts to customers who get tags, making it an advantageous choice. 

What happens if your car — fingers crossed — is found?

Well, you're one of the lucky ones! In July 2023, Ottawa police reported a return rate of just under 15% for more than 500 stolen cars.

If you happen to come across your stolen vehicle, notify the police, your insurance provider, and your lender. Don't try to recover it yourself since you never know who might be watching.

If the police find your car and you've already made a claim, and it’s completed, your insurance company will own the recovered vehicle. However, if you're still in the claims process, there are different options. If your car is damaged but still drivable, your insurance company will cover the repairs (minus your deductible) but won't provide money for a replacement vehicle.

In case your car was involved in an accident, you'll need to provide proof that you weren't in the vehicle at the time. If you need help, reach out to us. Remember, Onlia is always here to assist you with your insurance coverage.

Tips for storing your vehicle

Whether you live in a condo or a single-detached home, always make sure you're storing your car legally. After all, no one wants to pay a ticket for an impounded vehicle, right?

Once you've found a safe spot for your car — like a condo parking space, a garage, or a self-storage unit — you can take steps to protect it from theft and the elements. Consider using tools like The Club, which prevents thieves from turning the steering wheel when the vehicle is running. If you're extra concerned, a wheel lock can be another option. Don't forget to store your wireless key fob in a secure location or a Faraday box, which shields it from electromagnetic fields.

During winter storage, if you’re able to, it's a good idea to warm up your car occasionally to prevent the battery from going dead when you start it up in the spring. Just ensure you do this in a well-ventilated area. If you’re unable to warm the vehicle up, you can set up an app on your mobile device to start your car remotely. But, not all the way from Florida. If that’s the case, ask a family member, friend or neighbour for help. Remember, the vehicle can’t moved or driven.

And if you want to shield your vehicle from rain, snow, or critters, using a car cover or tarp can be a smart move.

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