Insurance Impact of where you park overnight



If you've taken out a car insurance policy before, you'll be familiar with one of the most common questions asked - 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 have an effect on the cost. This guide looks into the question of where to park for cheaper car insurance in more detail.


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Car Insurance Impact

There are a series of factors that influence the cost of car insurance, including the experience and age of the driver and the make and model of the vehicle. Another factor is overnight parking of the car. How does parking affect car insurance? Well, 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, making 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 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.

Parking your car overnight on the street is usually seen as the higher risk of the options. 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 even cyclists clipping wing mirrors. The street itself can make a difference though - as we'll cover in the next section.

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.


Location can also affect premiums

Where you live has an impact of the cost of your car insurance - your location and postal address can 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 on the street, 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.


Reducing the risk of 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.


Overnight parking 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. It's not reasonable for insurance companies to expect a vehicle to be left overnight in the same declared spot 365 nights of the year. If you change your regular location though, 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, for example on a driveway if possible, or near street lighting if on the road. If you're heading off on holiday, you could consider parking the vehicle in a secure, locked site.


FAQs on overnight parking

Does street lighting have an impact?

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.