Where you park your car when you’re not using it can affect your car insurance rates. With a motor vehicle stolen in the U.S. every 40.9 seconds, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, parking on the street in front of your house or apartment increases the chances that your car will be stolen. This also applies if you park on the street at your workplace as opposed to a parking garage or car lot.
In addition to theft and vandalism, your vehicle is also subject to an increased risk of collateral damage from an accident if it’s exposed on the street.
So how can you protect your car and keep your auto insurance premiums low? Consider garage parking.
Do All Car Insurance Companies Offer a Garage Discount?
Where you park your car has an effect on how much you pay for car insurance. The risk is highest for drivers who park on the street, where there are greater odds of theft, vandalism, and accident damage.
Some car insurance companies offer a discount for parking your car in a garage. How much of a discount you get depends on a variety of factors, mainly where you live. Some of these factors include:
- Living in a high-crime area
- Living in an area that frequently experiences certain perils, such as flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes
- Living in an area that has cold winters
In addition, safety features in your garage, such as a carbon monoxide detector or security system, can help get you a discount for parking there. Garage type can also play a part in whether your car insurance company offers you a discount for parking there. The different garage types include:
- Attached garage: An attached garage is the best place to store your car when you’re not using it. A garage attached to your house can offer some of the best security.
- Standalone garage: A garage not attached to your home but on your property represents the next best scenario. You should get the same insurance discount in this situation as you would for parking in an attached garage.
- Garage next door: A garage on an adjacent property represents a step down from a garage attached to your home or on the same property. Considered not as safe a place to park, this type of garage warrants less of a discount.
- Garage in another location: A garage in another part of the area where you live usually does not get you any discounts, as many insurance companies deem this situation to be no better than parking on the street. This type of situation applies if you own the property or if you park in a public garage. This is especially true in a public garage, as your car is susceptible to vandalism, theft, and damage from other drivers who park in the same area.
When Should You Park Your Car in the Garage?
It is always a good idea to park your car in your garage whenever possible. And this is especially true for certain vehicles, such as antique or collectible cars, that require a special place to keep them safe from harm. Just as you would lock up a priceless piece of jewelry, you should also strive to protect high-value cars.
In fact, companies that insure these types of vehicles usually require owners to place them in a locked garage, where they are safe from most kinds of harm and theft.
Parking Tickets and Car Insurance
Getting a parking ticket represents another risk you take when parking on the street. While many areas and neighborhoods around the country allow you to park in front of your house, some cities may have restrictions on parking on the street — even in front of your own house at nighttime.
Getting a parking ticket does not affect your car insurance rates unless you fail to pay it on time. Unpaid parking tickets can lead to other problems, such as a revoked registration, and this could influence how your insurance company determines your rates going forward.
Ultimately, the best way to protect your car is to park it in a safe location. This is true even if your insurance company offers little to no discount for parking in a garage. When your car is parked in a garage, at least you know it is better protected from damage, theft, and vandalism.