Can Your Parking Spot Impact Your Car Insurance Rate?
Yes, where you park your car can impact your car insurance rate. Parking a car outdoors or in an unsecured garage can lead to higher rates, as opposed to parking in a garage attached to your home or in a secured, covered lot.
Unfortunately, it is much more likely for your car to be damaged, vandalized, or stolen if parked outdoors, especially at night. In fact, many insurers offer discounts to customers who park their cars inside.
The comparison shopping and broker app Jerry has compiled everything you need to know, about how your parking spot is impacting your premium.
If your current insurer doesn’t offer discounts for parking indoors and protecting your vehicle, it might be time to look for new car insurance (Jerry is also good for that, too).
In fact, the average Jerry user saves $879 per year on their car insurance, and who knows—that figure could be even higher with an indoor parking discount!
- Garages are weighed differently
- Is my parked vehicle covered?
- Long term parking
- Protect your car with Jerry
The risks of parking outdoors
When parked outside, your car is vulnerable to a host of dangers and your insurance premiums will reflect that risk.
Some of these factors include:
- Weather damage
- Acts of God
Perhaps unsurprisingly, some car insurers may reward you for cutting those risks down by parking your car indoors.
Key Takeaway Cars parked outdoors are more vulnerable to vandalism, theft, weather damage, and acts of God.
Insurer discounts for parking indoors
Parking your car in a secure, indoor garage or parking space is considered an act of risk reduction by your insurance company.
Since the insurance company is less likely to have to pay out an insurance claim, they might pass some of those savings onto the insured in the form of a discount or a lower insurance premium.
Garages with security measures, carbon monoxide detectors, and other security features are looked upon highly by insurers.
If you live in a high crime area, an area prone to major weather events (hurricane or flood zone), or an area prone to harsh winters, parking your car indoors might be a good way to reduce your rate.
Insurers weigh garages differently
Not all indoor parking locations are created equal in the eyes of insurance companies.
Most insurers see an attached garage to your home as the most secure place to park your car to protect it from danger, and your rate will be reduced accordingly.
A standalone garage (or a building on your property but physically separate from your home), is also looked upon highly as a safe space for your vehicle.
A garage that is not on your property is not considered as safe as an attached or standalone garage on your property.
While it’s better to be inside than out, insurers see garages located elsewhere as no better than parking outside, or parking in a public garage with little or no security.
Key Takeaway If you’re looking to score a discount from your insurer, try to park your car in a garage attached to your home, or in a standalone garage that is on your property.
When to park in a garage
According to car insurers, it is always a good idea to park your car indoors in order to best protect it from any damage.
This is especially true if you own an antique car or a high-end sports car. Most insurers will insist on securing high-end vehicles in a secure, indoor facility.
MORE: Classic car coverage
Is my parked car covered?
Whether your parked car is protected depends on what kind of insurance you have and the type of damage sustained.
Comprehensive insurance provides good protection for your parked car, though in certain circumstances, collision insurance and property liability insurance can offer protection as well.
Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car in incidents that do not involve another vehicle or fixed object. Your parked car would be protected in most circumstances, including:
- Car fire
- Damage resulting from a storm
Collision insurance will generally cover your vehicle if it was hit by another vehicle while parked (if you cannot find the at-fault driver).
And property liability insurance may protect you if you can find the at-fault driver and file a claim against them.
Here are some scenarios where these different coverages come into play:
If you know who hit your car
If hit by another vehicle, and you know who hit your car, you can file a property damage claim. In this case, property damage liability insurance would be paid out from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance, and you won’t have to pay a deductible.
If you don’t know who hit your car
If your parked car is damaged and you have no idea who hit it, you’ll still be covered if you have collision insurance.
This type of insurance covers your vehicle in the event of a collision with another car or fixed object.
In this scenario, you wouldn’t be able to file a claim against the other driver. But your own insurance will cover your car’s damage (minus your deductible).
However, in this same scenario, if your car is damaged by another vehicle while parked and you don’t have collision insurance, any repairs will be on you.
If your car is vandalized while parked, the first thing you want to do is file a report with the police. This officially documents the incident, and will speed up your insurance claim.
Vandalism falls under comprehensive insurance. If you don’t opt for a policy that includes comprehensive coverage, you will be on the hook for paying the repairs out of pocket.
Parking a car long term
If you’re going to be away for a long period of time, or are parking your car indoors for the winter, comprehensive coverage can be offered as a standalone policy so long as a second car is covered by liability insurance.
In some cases, arrangements can be made to place one car in storage without putting another vehicle on the policy. Since every insurer is different, talk to yours to see if something like this is possible.
The benefits of comprehensive-only insurance or “parked car insurance”
If your insurer offers it, comprehensive only insurance is a great way to protect a car that’s parked long term. This will reduce your overall insurance costs while giving you peace of mind.
You can easily adjust your coverage once you’re ready to drive your car again — just talk to your insurer.
Remember, in most states, it’s illegal to have car insurance on a registered vehicle. So, if you are parking your car long term, do not cancel your car insurance. If you do, you could be slapped with fines and premium increases for letting your coverage lapse.
The drawbacks of comprehensive-only insurance
Unfortunately, comprehensive-only insurance does not protect against hit and run incidents.
If you’re still paying off your car loan, you may need to get the lienholder’s approval before switching to comprehensive-only coverage.
If you do select this type of coverage, it is imperative that you up your coverage once you’re ready to drive your car again.
Key Takeaway Never cancel your car insurance, even if you are parking your car long term. Switching to comprehensive-only insurance will reduce your premiums and protect your car when it is not in use.
Frequently asked questions
Another driver hit my parked car and then drove off. Will my comprehensive insurance cover me?
In this case, it depends. If you can find out who hit your car, you can file a property damage claim against them, and their property liability insurance would cover the damage to your car, if the claim is approved.
However, if another car hit your parked car and drove off, and you have no idea who is responsible, this puts you in a difficult situation.
Comprehensive insurance only covers you in the event your car is damaged in an incident not involving another vehicle or fixed object. In this case, your collision insurance would cover you, if you have it. If you don’t have collision insurance, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket to repair your car.
Why do insurers rate different kinds of garages differently?
Insurers view garages attached to your home or your property as safer than garages located elsewhere. The closer you can park your car to your property, preferably in an attached garage, the better it will be for your insurance rate.
Jerry protects your car in motion and in park
Whether you’re driving or in park, car insurance is vital to protecting your investment.
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