Self-Storage Rules for Non-Running Vehicles

by Roger Golden

Storing a vehicle that does not run is not as simple as parking it and letting it sit. Most states and municipalities have laws that say you must maintain the vehicle registration and insurance, keep it adequately protected, and avoid creating a neighborhood eyesore, to name a few. Not only will following these regulations avoid problems with the Department of Motor Vehicles, but they can also help you prevent citations written by local zoning enforcement officers and keep your property values from falling.

Insurance is Required

All states require motor vehicles to be registered, and most require vehicle insurance on all registered vehicles even if they are not in running condition. To save money on the insurance costs, talk to your auto insurance company about discounts for stored vehicles or changing to a pay-by-mile coverage if your company has that available. Depending on where and for long the vehicle will be stored, your insurance company may have a plan designed for people just like you.

Reasonable Protection

A stored vehicle should have reasonable protection from weather, vandals and thieves. Do not place it under a tree limb that has died and is in danger of falling, for example. Additionally, the vehicle should be covered or placed in a position that does not interfere with those walking or driving by. Some localities require the use of a closed garage, while others allow open storing, placing the vehicle under a car port, or even the use of weatherproof car shrouds.

Limited Number of Stored Vehicles

Some areas have regulations regarding the number of vehicles you can have parked on your property. This number sometimes applies only to nonrunning vehicles, but in some jurisdictions it may apply to the number of vehicles that can be parked on the location by a single family or housing unit. Not every region has a restriction on the number of vehicles, and the ones that do have widely differing allowable amounts, ranging from one stored vehicle to as many as 10.

Avoid Creating Hazards

Your stored vehicle should not create a hazard to people or pets. This includes leaking fluids, broken glass and jagged metal. Many local laws require that the vehicle be moved periodically, and the grass or brush around the vehicle be kept in conformance with local zoning regulations. Not only does this preserve the appearance and property value of the neighborhood, it reduces infestations of pests such as ants, wasps, snakes and rats.

Where to Turn

Zoning laws for vehicle storage are often written at the city or county level. Because of this, laws will change dramatically from one local region to the next. The best place to look for regulations specific to your location is the closest branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles or the city or county zoning and ordinance division.

About the Author

Roger Golden began his career as a writer in 2008, when he began writing weekly insurance and personal finance articles. Golden's work has appeared on eHow,, and his privately managed blogs, .modern Dislogic and Outdoors—Dixie Style.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera junk yard image by Danuta Kania from