Does it make a difference to your car insurance where you park your car overnight? The answer is yes, especially if you’re in a big city.
When you buy car insurance, you’ll be asked where you park your car overnight. That’s because the cost of your policy is affected by where you keep the car and how safe it’ll be there.
Don’t worry, your insurer’s only interested in where you normally park your car – so you’ll still be covered if you occasionally park elsewhere.
If you have a telematics policy, your black box roughly tracks your car’s location, so your insurer could easily find out if you’re not honest about where you regularly park.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a 25% increase in motor vehicle theft between March 2016 and March 2021, so it’s no wonder insurers are wary about security.
The epidemic has been fuelled by convenient keyless car technology that allows criminals to hack into and open vehicle doors remotely without a toolbox in sight.
But even if your car is keyless, it stands to reason that if your car is kept out of sight in a secure garage, the thieves may prefer to look elsewhere. And your motor insurance quote will usually benefit.
“It’s all about risk-based pricing,” says Graeme Trudgill of the British Insurance Brokers Association. “If the car is parked in a garage overnight and locked away, your risk of theft in a central city area is much reduced.
“If it’s a car that’s attractive to thieves, having it off-street in a garage will be seen as something worthy of a good discount. You can also get a discount for a vehicle kept on a driveway as it’s less likely to be hit by a passing car – when it’s left on the road it’s most at risk and most on view.”
Less sophisticated thieves will still walk down city streets at dead of night trying all the car door handles. “If you live in the countryside being on street probably doesn’t matter much at all but in the high-risk postcodes it does,” Trudgill says.
If you live in an area with a higher crime rate, parking on the street will be a red flag for the insurer, especially if that area also sees high rates of actual claims.
"Insurers will usually give you the following options to describe where you normally park your car overnight:"
Insurers consider many factors when calculating a quote, such as where you live and the type of vehicle you have. But bear in mind that different providers will calculate the risk of where you park differently.
Some insurers even regard garages themselves as a risk factor. Today’s smaller garages and larger cars mean increased risk of claims for bumps and scrapes in parking. In areas where burglaries are rife, the car may be considered more vulnerable if it’s hidden in a garage which has access from the house.
Don’t invent a garage or a driveway if you don’t have one – if you lie about where you park your car at night, it’s insurance fraud.
Be truthful, and ready to tell your provider if the car is not guaranteed to be parked in the same way every night.
Once the policy is running, tell them if you change where you park. It might not affect your premium, but it could affect a claim.
Here are a few ways to keep your vehicle safe overnight – it could lower the cost of your premium, and ward off thieves:
Motion sensor lights and CCTV can be a powerful deterrent, as is a car alarm and immobiliser.
Street parking? Avoid dark areas and keep your keys hidden in your house rather than right next to the door or window.
If you’re parking somewhere unfamiliar, check the parking laws to make sure you don’t end up with a fine as it’s up to your insurer whether parking illegally voids your cover – best not risk it!
Street lighting where you park won’t get you a discount, but it can put thieves off from trying to steal your car so you won’t need to claim on your cover.
If you park in a different part of the same street every night, that shouldn’t be a problem. But if parking in a completely different area is a regular thing, you might need to chat to your insurer.
Telematics boxes generally have location trackers on them, so insurers could verify you’re parking where you claim to be.
Yes, it could do. This is because, for example, if you declare that you park in your garage but you actually park in the street more often, then this changes the level of risk that your policy needs to cover and your insurer has the right to cancel it.