How where you park overnight impacts your insurance cost

If you've taken out a car insurance policy you'll be familiar with the question: where do you park the vehicle overnight?

Overnight parking and car insurance are closely linked because where you leave your vehicle when it's not being driven has a bearing on how much you pay for your insurance cover.

Parking your car in a safe and secure spot overnight can have a positive impact on your premium - on the other hand, parking it on the street may increase the cost.

This guide looks into the question of where to park for cheaper car insurance in more detail.

The impact of overnight parking on car insurance

There are many factors when it comes to calculating your insurance premium. Each time you fill out your details to get a quote, the insurer will be using your responses to measure how much risk you represent.

Naturally, where you leave your precious motor at night also plays an important part in working out how likely it is that it will be damaged or stolen.

Parking in your garage

Some locations are deemed safer and more secure than others. It seems logical that if you park your car in a locked garage overnight, it should be safer than if it's parked on a public road - in the street outside your property, for example.

However, it may not be that simple. A garage could be considered a risky parking spot with owners potentially causing damage by reversing into the garage through entrances and exits that might be too tight.

Some insurers might also draw the conclusion that if a burglar breaks into your property, they can then gain easy access to the garage - and your vehicle.

Parking on your driveway

Parking your car overnight on the driveway of your property is another option. This reduces the chance of it being hit by a passing motorist, however it is still accessible from the street and where you live can also affect the price of your quote and premium.

Insurers will consider your postcode when setting the price of your insurance policy; if you live in an area with a higher crime rate and you intend to park your vehicle outdoors, expect that to be reflected in the cost of your policy.

Insurers will also look at claim data. If your street is in an area that sees high rates of claims - an inner city, for example - it will have an impact on your car insurance cost.

Parking on the road

Parking your car overnight on the street is usually seen as the higher risk of the options, but again, this will depend on your postcode.

This typically puts the vehicle at risk of being stolen, vandalised, or damaged by other motorists who might be overtaking your parked vehicle at night, or clipping your wing mirrors.

Parking overnight away from home

When you declare your overnight parking location at the time of car insurance renewal or quote, it's usually assumed that this is where it will be parked for the majority of the time. However, if you change your regular location, you should inform your insurance company.

There will be occasions when the car is parked overnight at the homes of friends or family, for example. This won't necessarily have an impact on your car insurance but it remains a security issue.

Common sense would suggest you find a safe place to park, on a driveway or near street lighting if on the road, for example. If you're heading off on holiday, you could consider parking the vehicle in a secure, locked site.

Most importantly, make sure you provide an honest answer to the question. If you disclose that your car will be parked overnight in a locked garage and it sustains damage while being parked on a public road, any claim you need to make could be invalidated.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that different insurers will calculate the risk of where you park differently.

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Reducing the risk of overnight parking

reduce-risk-overnight-parking

As a car owner, you can reduce the risk of overnight parking by adding some security measures.

Installing security lights - particularly motion sensor detectors - to your garage can deter potential thieves or vandals. The lights activate if the sensor detects movement within the area, so if these lights are fixed to the outside of your garage they could illuminate your driveway to help ward off intruders.

This may not affect the cost of your car insurance but should improve the security of your vehicle, therefore reducing the chances of needing to make a claim.

Other simple ways of reducing the risk of overnight parking and improving the security of your car include keeping keys well hidden. Don't leave them out in open view, so they're easy to find and grab, park close to lighting if you leave your vehicle on the street, and consider installing a car alarm if your vehicle doesn't already have one.

Given the rise of key hacking, you may want to also leave your keys away from the outer walls of your house, and potentially invest in a signal blocking pouch.

Car insurance parking definitions

  • Driveway: Asphalt, concrete, gravel, grass... Anywhere outdoors somewhere on your property
  • On-road: Parked at the side of the road, it may not be directly outside your road, but your insurer will assume that it will be close
  • Locked garage: An enclosure on your property under lock and key. It must actually be locked as well!
  • Residential car park: Any residential parking that has been laid out by the council that's not on-road or in a locked compound
  • Locked compound: A fully fenced secure site that can only be accessed with a key or code. This can be a commercial secure car park, or the car park for your building for example
  • At work: You may need some kind of proof from your employer that you leave your car at work

Car insurance overnight parking FAQs

  • Does street lighting where you park impact your car insurance?

    Most insurance companies will only want to know if your vehicle is going to be parked overnight on the street, so probably won’t take street lighting into consideration. But parking under street lights that remain on throughout the night could help keep your car safer while it is parked.

  • What if I don't park in the same place every night?

    Occasional travel and visiting relatives and friends means that it’s highly likely you’ll park your car overnight somewhere else at least a few times a year. Insurance companies expect that, so usually allow a little flexibility. But if you regularly park your car somewhere else other than stated on your policy, you should contact your insurer to inform them of the change.

  • Can my black box work out where I park overnight?

    Yes. If your vehicle is fitted with a black box system - and if you have black box car insurance - then the system can let you know where the car is parked. Telematics data will inform your insurer of your driving behaviour, and can also track where your car is parked overnight. So, if it’s not being parked where you have told your insurer it is, they will know.

  • If I'm dishonest am I committing insurance fraud?

    Technically, yes. If you have supplied any details on your policy that are false then that could be seen as insurance fraud in a worse-case scenario. At the very least, you’re likely to invalidate your insurance so if you need to make a claim you may find that challenged.

    We all want to understand where to park for cheaper car insurance but if you’ve stated that you’ll be parking the car overnight in a garage when actually it’s parked two streets away, it’s a pointless exercise. If your car is stolen overnight from that street, the chances are you won’t be able to claim. Being dishonest is not worth it.

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^ 10% of all customers buying Car Insurance Plus with us from 1st January 2020 to 30th June 2020 paid less than £165. Based on comprehensive Car Insurance Plus, purchased direct, excluding any additional products and upgrades, with payment on an annual basis. Your premium will depend on your circumstances and the level of cover you choose.