Valet parking and your car insurance

If your car is in an accident or damaged while being driven by a valet, you might be covered by your car insurance - but always check your policy before handing over the keys

Amanda Bathory-Griffiths

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What’s valet parking?

Valet parking saves you time and takes the stress out of finding a parking space.

There are several places where valet parking is commonplace:

  • Airport parking
  • Hotel
  • Gig venues and sports arenas
  • Restaurants and bars
  • A private event that has hired a valet firm

After handing over the keys, the car should be parked in a safe and secure area, designated for customers of the event or venue – but you should check how your car insurance covers you too.

Key points

  • Cover for cars driven by a valet service isn’t always included with comprehensive car insurance, or third party, fire and theft insurance
  • Car insurance always requires the driver of the car to be declared on the certificate of motor insurance
  • Check your cover before you hand your car keys over to anyone

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Are valet drivers covered under your car insurance?

According to Defaqto, 48% of 345 comprehensive car insurance policies won’t cover damage by valet parking staff, and 54% of 195 TPTF policies also won't cover damage caused by a valet driver.[1]

If you don’t have valet parking cover, you won’t be able to make a claim if your car’s damaged while using the service.

The driver of the car, whether they're the main driver or a named additional one, must be declared on your certificate of motor insurance.

If anyone else decides to get behind the wheel, you’re not covered.

However, your policy will sometimes allow for the car to be parked by a hotel, restaurant or car-parking service.

Even then, you may only be covered for certain damage, for instance, if the windscreen cracks or the windows are broken, or if your car’s stolen.

If you’re asked to leave your keys in the car, be aware that many car insurance policies will not cover car theft if you’ve left them on the seat or in the ignition.

Read your policy documents or speak to your insurer so you're clear on what cover you have.

Valet operator’s insurance

Even if you’re not covered under your own car insurance, the valet company should still have its own insurance.

But our motoring expert, Lee Griffin, explains that you still need to be cautious.

“Read the valet parking operator’s terms and conditions, because it’ll outline what insurance cover, if any, the operator offers, including the exclusions and excesses.

“Operators offer very limited cover for damage to your car, which you’ll need to spot and report to them when you collect your vehicle.

And possessions left in your car are usually excluded."

Choosing a safe valet parking service

If it’s not a compulsory service provided by the venue, a parking valet will usually ask you to pre-book. You’ve got plenty of opportunity to find the right operator to look after your car.

Remember to check:

  • That all members of staff hold a full, clean UK driving licence
  • That it’s a reputable valet services and part of Park Mark Safer Parking, or the British Parking Association
  • Whether the car is parked on public or private property
  • What security systems and staff are monitoring the car park

If you’re asked to hand over your keys at a venue unexpectedly, be cautious and check the valet’s credentials with the event organisers.

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[1]Last checked 20 May 2019

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