Overnight Parking & the Impact on Your Car Insurance
There are many risk factors which impact the cost of your car insurance and overnight parking could be one of them. When you apply for insurance you’ll always be asked where you normally park your vehicle overnight. This could be in a garage, a car-port, a driveway or on the street near your house.
Why it matters
A report issued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in July 2017 revealed that
- “between two-thirds and three-quarters of vehicle-related thefts occurred at home”
- “typically just under four-fifths of vehicle-related thefts took place during the evening or night (6pm to 6am)”
It’s easy to see why overnight parking is of interest to your insurer.
Parking your car overnight in a secure garage usually provides the best deterrent against theft and damage to your car, a fact not overlooked by insurance companies when it comes to assessing premiums.
Even a garage isn’t off-limits to would be thieves these days, though. Anti-theft technology in cars is forcing criminals to target keys instead, and they’re always alert to opportunities. Owners often make it easier for them by leaving car or garage keys in plain sight on a hall table or within reach of their front door – an invitation to burglars.
This information from the ONS report shows the increasing trend away from forcing entry to cars.
“Entering the vehicle through an unlocked door has increased from occurring in around one in eight incidents to around one-half of incidents (13% in the year ending March 2006 and 43% in the year ending March 2016)”
Does car insurance cover you if your keys were stolen?
Insurers expect policyholders to take “reasonable steps” to keep their car keys out of the hands of thieves. This might include steps such as:
- making sure the doors to your house, garage and ground floor windows are securely locked
- keeping car keys in a secure place, out of sight (handbags are not ideal, as they can be taken too easily)
- never leave your car unattended with the keys still in it, even if it’s in a locked garage
Off-street parking (driveways and car-ports)
If you don’t have access to a garage, the next best option is to park your car off the road. Many houses have driveways or car-ports, offering some protection against drive-by collisions and a deterrent to would-be thieves and vandals, who would rather not risk being seen from the house.
- Improve your car’s security when parked on a driveway by fitting motion-activated spotlights.
Overnight on-street parking
Parking overnight on the street near your house is the reality for many drivers, but it represents the biggest risk from an insurance point of view, especially in urban areas. The 2017 ONS report concluded that 40% of recorded vehicle crime took place in London, Manchester, West Yorkshire and West Midlands, but on-street parking in any inner city or suburban area might be assessed as a higher insurance risk.
Post code data is always a factor in calculating your premium, but on-street parking is where your postal area could make the biggest difference.
- To improve your car’s security when parked on the street, try to park in an area with good overhead street lighting to deter thieves, as well as reducing the risk of an accidental collision.
Parking on busier streets
This has pro and cons; the more people there are to witness a theft, the lower the risk of a thief actually making the attempt. Having said that, a road with plenty of passing traffic increases the chance of your car being randomly involved in a passing accident, and many motorists are inclined to drive away from minor accidents, leaving you to foot the bill.
Parking in marked bays
It sounds obvious, but parking accurately in the marked spaces, whether on the street or in a car park, can reduce the risk of drivers with poor parking skills accidentally knocking into your car.
Can your insurer tell where you park overnight?
Advances in technology is making it easier for insurers to check where you park. For example, if you make a false claim to park in a garage, Google Earth might show that your property doesn’t have one. And if you have a telematics (or black box) insurance policy, the data it collects can show insurers where you park.
It’s important to be honest with your insurer. If you only occasionally have access to a garage, or you have a driveway but don’t park on it (or you don’t have a garage or driveway at all) it could invalidate your cover to tell your insurer otherwise.
Are you covered for occasional overnight parking away from home?
Yes; insurers recognise that everyone spends time away from home occasionally, visiting friends and family, going on holiday etc. It’s where you park most of the time that impacts on your insurance.
What if you park overnight at more than one address?
Many people who work shifts often find their car is parked overnight at a different address to their home, perhaps in an office or factory car park. Let your insurer know if this is the case. They will decide how to assess your premium depending on how often you park elsewhere, and the risk factor at both addresses.
Lower the risk for cheaper car insurance
Give some thought to risk prevention and improved security when you park your car and you might be able to reduce the cost of your next car insurance.
Need help finding cheaper car insurance?