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UPDATED: Aug 26, 2016
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You may already be aware of the fact that parking your car in a garage overnight helps reduce your car insurance rates, but did you also know that the location of your garage has an impact?
While the impact is minimal, it is true nonetheless. Car insurance companies are willing to give better insurance rates on cars that are normally garaged because those cars are safer than ones parked on the street. Likewise, some garages are safer than others.
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Before we talk about the different types of garages and how they affect car insurance, let’s discuss the term “garaged.” Different insurance companies define whether or not a car is garaged according to different terms.
One company may only consider it “garaged” if your car is normally parked in a garage on your own property during the nighttime hours. Another company may require less time parked in the garage, while still others may allow any garage to suffice.
How does the location of the company garage affect my car insurance rates?
The location of the company garage can affect your car insurance rates. For instance, if your company garage is located in a high crime area, you might not save as much money as someone whose employer uses a garage that is in a safer area.
However, choosing to park in the garage in the high crime rate area is a better choice than leaving your car in the street.
The savings might be minimal, but you should always mention where your car is parked during working hours to see if your insurer will offer you a discount.
They should also consider the alternative of parking in the street. The insurance company will make this determination depending on the zip code of the location of the garage. You can pull up the crime rates in a particular zip code at City-Data.com.
How does parking my car in a garage affect my insurance rates?
Ultimately, a car parked in a garage is safer than one parked on a street. Parking a car in a garage reduces the chances of theft, vandalism, or collision. The savings might be small, but it is still worth mentioning to an insurance company.
Most insurance companies feel that the safest place to park a car is in a garage. Of course, to an insurance company, the garage at your house is the ideal location. However, many people work in areas where they have access to a garage.
Again, if you have the choice of parking in a garage, even if it is a public one, this is a better option than parking on a street while you are at work.
If you live where you do not have a garage attached to your house but have access to a garage, park in the garage. Again, mention this to your insurance agent to see if you can receive a discount. Parking in a garage is safer than parking on the street or in an open parking lot.
Do I still need insurance on a car that is parked in a garage and never driven?
If you find yourself in a situation where you must leave your car parked in a garage for an extended amount of time, you still need to keep your insurance active if you want protection. This applies to cars parked in garages attached to houses, public garages, and privately owned garages.
You can lower your coverage on these cars, but you still should keep them insured. This way, your car is covered in case someone steals it, breaks into it, hits it, or vandalizes it.
Talk to your insurance company to find out if they offer special rates for cars kept in storage.
What if something happens to my car while parked in a garage?
If your car is damaged while in a parking garage, you have two options. First, you can file a claim with your insurance company or you can get the car fixed on your own.
If the person who damaged your car left a note, you can file the claim with his or her insurance company. However, if not, you must either file it with your company or handle it on your own.
If your car is stolen out of a parking garage, be sure and file a claim with your insurance company after reporting it to the police.
The same would apply if your car was broken into or vandalized. You should also notify the owner of the garage. They may have a visual record of the incident caught on camera.
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What happens if I get a parking ticket while parked in a garage?
Speak to the parking attendant, manager, or owner to resolve the parking ticket if your vehicle was legally stored in that facility.
If you left it there illegally, then you must take care of the ticket so that it does not go on your driving record. Even parking tickets can affect your rating as a good driver, which will affect your insurance rates.
What if my car is parked in a garage attached to my house?
From an insurance perspective, any garage located on the premises of your single-family home is the best option. Besides being attached to your house, there are some other private garage options.
- Stand alone garage – So whether your garage is attached to your house or a standalone unit, as long as it’s on property you own, you’ll get the maximum benefit in reduced car insurance rates.
- Garage on adjacent property – A garage you own that is located on an adjacent property is still good, but may not afford you the same amount of savings.
- Garage far away – Where this gets sticky is when your car is normally garaged on someone else’s property, or your property which is located a considerable distance from your home. In these cases, the insurance companies sometimes consider this scenario no better than parking your car on the street.
If it is not close by where you can keep an eye on it, it becomes a greater insurance risk. Obviously, such a garage could be modified with fences and security systems in order to reduce the risk.
What if my car is normally parked in a public garage?
For many residents of large urban centers parking in a public garage is the norm. In such cases, it is highly likely that your insurance company will not consider your car to be “garaged” because it’s in publicly accessible space.
While it may be safer in the garage that would be on the street, it is still susceptible to theft, vandalism, and collision with other cars being driven through the area.
In a public garage situation you most likely will see no insurance benefit.
Semi-privates garages are another option for some residents. In a semi-private arrangement, you might be parking your car in a garage shared by only two or three other residents in your building.
This type of garage is not open to public access and is therefore considered somewhat safer than a public garage or the street.
It’s likely your insurance company will take a semi-private garage into account and reduce your car insurance rates. However, don’t expect the same benefit drivers with a private garage qualify for.
What if my car is normally parked on the street?
Parking your car on the street overnight is by far the riskiest situation from the insurance coverage standpoint. Your car insurance company hates to see your vehicle left unprotected at night when it’s most vulnerable.
If your car is parked on the street you’ll be paying the highest possible premium, at least for that portion of the policy.
On the bright side, you can realize insurance premium reductions, even if your car is parked on the street, if you install certain anti-theft devices. An alarm system and a steering wheel lock are just two examples.
Cars with anti-theft devices are harder to steal and therefore, less of a risk to the insurance company.
Unfortunately, these devices don’t prevent other drivers from colliding with your vehicle while it’s parked on the street, so you still won’t see the maximum benefit that you would if your car were garaged.
Parking your car in the garage overnight is always a good idea if you can manage it. For many of us, the garages on our personal property have become storage areas for all sorts of things, rather than the space for our cars.
Check with your insurance company to find out how much you could save by changing that. It just might be significant enough to cause you to clean out the junk and make space for the car.
See just how much garaging your car will save on your car insurance rates by entering your ZIP code below!