Parking damage insurance: is it really useful?


670+ Google customer reviews

Avis Home Highlight
0 min
Your car was quietly parked in a parking lot. What a nasty surprise to find it with scratches or even damaged by another motorist. To guard against this kind of situation, parking lot insurance can take care of certain damage. In this article, we suggest you find out whether this coverage is really relevant, depending on your car, and your situation. Be aware that sometimes, even full casco is not enough to cover you for this type of damage.

What is parking damage insurance?

A point of semantics is in order, to understand what parking car insurance is and above all, parking damage.

Parking damage

Parking damage is when a vehicle suffers damage while parked. To fall into this category, the person who committed the damage must also be unknown.
Unfortunately, in most cases, people who scratch a car in a parking lot don't leave their contact details. There will therefore be no possibility of using their civil liability, to reimburse the material damage suffered.
Parking damage can be a dent on a bumper or even scratches.

The cover offered by parking damage insurance

Parking car insurance allows the insured to be compensated, when one suffers sharing damage. It is generally an additional option to be taken out in addition to one's car insurance.
In very concrete terms, the insurer can take charge of all or part of the bodywork repairs in the event of a dent. Whether a part simply needs to be repainted or replaced, the insured is guaranteed to get his or her vehicle back to its original condition.

The difference between parking damage and vandalism

Mind you, there is a difference between parking damage and vandalism. When the damage caused to the car has been done voluntarily, it's not the parking lot insurance option that takes care of any repairs. Vandalism refers to a person who has deliberately scratched a body or punctured tires. This is what surveillance cameras in a parking lot can reveal.
If you're in this situation, it's partial casco that can cover you. This is a level of cover under which the vehicle owner is covered against losses caused by external elements. Without this level of cover, even with car-park insurance, it will not be possible to be compensated.

How to be insured for parking damage?

To have cover in the event of parking damage, here are the possibilities available to the duration.

Coverage by the insurance of the person responsible

First and foremost, if the insurer's or police's investigation finds someone responsible, there will be no need to use parking car insurance. In fact, the person who caused the damage will himself have to reimburse the costs incurred. If he has civil liability, and it was an involuntary act, his insurer can stand in for him, to reimburse the material damage.

Parking damage insurance with civil liability

In Switzerland, the compulsory insurance for a vehicle is civil liability car. It enables the driver of a vehicle to guarantee third parties, when he causes them damage. In other words, if the insured causes a collision, the insurer will be able to pay for the material damage and bodily injury suffered by the victim of the accident.
This minimum insurance does not include car-park insurance. If the insured suffers scratches or damage to his or her vehicle, and only has RC car insurance, he or she will not receive any compensation.

Partial or full casco for parking damage?

The insured can choose to take out two other levels of cover, which are:
  • Partial casco, which covers damage from external elements, such as bad weather, vandalism, theft or fire.
  • Collision insurance, which covers any material damage in the event of a collision caused by the insured.
Here too, on paper, the insured is not covered in the event of sharing damage. However, if you opt for comprehensive cover, which combines partial and collision cover, this option may be included in your policy. You can check with your insurer to find out whether this option is available to you at no extra cost.
On the other hand, when car-park insurance is included in comprehensive cover, it is often associated with a high deductible.

The parked vehicle option

To avoid having to pay a deductible, the best option is still to subscribe directly to a parked vehicle option. While this may increase the price of the premium, it avoids costly fees, in the event of damage to a parking lot.

When to take out parking damage insurance?

It's advisable to take out car insurance parking if:
  • Your car is recent and has impeccable bodywork
  • It's regularly parked in car parks,
  • It spends the night outdoors, and not in a closed garage.
The costs incurred by this option on the contract may not be relevant, if you have a car that is already damaged. On the other hand, for a vehicle that is parked in a closed garage most of the time, the chances of parking damage are slim. It may not be worth taking out.

The limits of parking damage insurance

Despite the usefulness of this coverage, it's imperative to point out that it has certain limitations. First of all, the type of loss covered by insurers can be quite restricted. In general, your contract contains an exhaustive list of situations for which you are covered. This may be limited to scratches and impacts to the bodywork.
Furthermore, there may be a limit to the amount coveredby the insurance. In some companies, the amount seems quite inconsistent, with the significant costs that can be incurred by bodywork damage. It's up to you to read your contract carefully, to know whether the option is relevant.
Finally, if you're tempted by car-park insurance, because you tend to damage your car in parking lots, it's not the right cover. In fact, if you drive your car into a wall as you leave your parking space, you won't be covered by this option. It's collision damage waiver that can compensate you.

What insurance do I have if I cause parking damage?

The parking damage option is not designed to protect the driver when he or she is responsible for damage in a parking lot. If the damage is caused on board the vehicle, it is the car civil liability that will be engaged to compensate the victim.
On the other hand, if a person scratches a car without doing so on purpose, and his vehicle is not involved, it is the private civil liability that will take care of the damage. It's therefore important to find out about this second type of contract, which can cover you when you cause damage to third parties.

Can the insurer refuse parking damage insurance?

In some cases, it's possible for an insurer to refuse you car-park insurance.

Antique cars and car-park insurance

Most of the time, insurers refuse to grant car-park insurance, for vehicles older than 5 years. In fact, it's quite rare for a car that's been on the road for so many years to have absolutely impeccable bodywork. yet this is a prerequisite, to be able to take advantage of such a guarantee.

What to do if the insurance company refuses?

If a first insurer refuses you car-park insurance, don't hesitate to turn to other insurance companies. It's possible that another company will offer you a solution tailored to your needs. This is also an opportunity to compare prices, to find the best cover while staying within your budget.
If no insurer agrees to offer you this option, you can opt for full casco, with deductible in the event of parking damage. This generally allows you to be compensated for part of the claim.

Is there a malus for parking damage?

When you declare parking damage, it's quite possible that your insurer will apply a malus to your policy. As a reminder, this is a increase in your premium, which is generally equivalent to 10%. This means you'll be in the same position as if you were responsible for the loss.
To avoid this setback, you can opt for an insurer like AXA or Allianz. Both companies offer bonus protection, when the insured declares no more than one claim per year.

How to avoid claims in parking lots?

You can also choose to adopt the right gestures, to limit the risk of parking damage. This will eventually enable you to avoid the need for car-park insurance.You can, for example:
  • Park the vehicle in an enclosed parking lot,
  • Avoid parking in tight spaces,
  • Prefer parking lots with cameras, eventually enabling you to find the person responsible for the damage.
Antoine Léger
Updated on: 30.01.2024Written by Antoine LégerHead of non-life insurance department at Comparea.
To learn more about our team click here.