Where should I park my car overnight?
When you take out an insurance policy you’ll be asked where you’ll be parking your car overnight when it’s not in use. Where you intend to leave your vehicle at night will have an affect on your overall cost of car insurance. In this guide we’ll look at all of the factors involved and what you’ll need to take into consideration.
In This Guide:
- Impact on car insurance
- Does it matter where I live?
- How to reduce risks of parking overnight
- What if I'm away from home?
- Common overnight parking questions
Impact on car insurance
You’re probably familiar with some of the factors that affect the cost of car insurance: the experience and age of the driver, and the make and model of the vehicle. Another factor is where your car will be parked overnight.
There are generally three options when parking your car overnight: parking it in a locked garage, parking it in a driveway, and parking it out on the street.
The main factor that insurance companies consider is the security level associated with where you’ll be parking your car, but there are other factors they need to factor in too.
Parking it in a locked garage is usually deemed to be the best option for the security of your car. It will be considerably harder for thieves to gain access to your vehicle than with the other two options. However, owners are more likely to cause damage to their cars themselves when driving in and out of their garage - especially if it’s a particularly tight fit.
From a security perspective, parking your car in your driveway and parking it on the street are both around the same level of risk. This is because your car can easily be access from the street. However, parking your car in a driveway eliminates the possibility of it being damaged by a passing motorist.
Parking your car on the street is the highest risk option of the three. It can be easily stolen, vandalised, or damaged by other motorists (or cyclists) as a result of it being out on the street. If you've been a victim of theft, read our guide on what to do if your car is stolen.
Does it matter where I live?
Yes, it does. Insurers take many factors into consideration when determining the cost of your insurance. Your location is one such factor. If your area has a high crime rate, this will be taken into consideration when determining the cost of your insurance - especially if you intend to park on the street.
Another aspect that insurance companies look at is the number of claims that are made in your area. If a large number of claims are made in your location, then this will have an affect on the cost of your policy.
How to reduce risks of parking overnight
There are a few steps you can take to protect your car from thieves and vandals when parking your car overnight.
Installing security lights that are activated by motion sensors to your garage door or driveway can be a good idea. It won’t bring down the cost of your car insurance policy, but it will at least deter thieves and vandals and improve the overall security of your car - thus making it less likely that you’ll need to make a claim.
Another quick and easy way to improve the security of your car is to keep your keys well hidden within your home. Most thieves know to look in obvious locations near your front door - so make it harder for them by keeping your keys somewhere else. If thieves do get to them, read our guide on what to do if you lose your car keys.
If you park on the street, try to park under street lights to deter any would-be thieves, and think about installing an immobiliser or alarm on your car if it doesn’t already have one.
What if I'm away from home?
When your insurer asks you where you’ll be parking your car overnight when you first take out your policy, it is understood that this is the place your car will be parked most of the time. It would be unreasonable for insurers to expect you to park in the exact same location every day for the duration of your policy. So it’s safe to say that parking somewhere else overnight when visiting friends or family won’t affect your insurance policy.
However, you do still need to be mindful of how secure your car is when being parked overnight away from your usual location. If you can, opt for a garage or driveway - or at the very least near street lighting if you’re parking out on the road. If you’ll be away from your car for several days (e.g. when going on holiday) if would be a good idea to consider parking in a more secure place.
Remember, if you change where you’ll be regularly parking your car overnight, you must inform your insurer.
Common overnight parking questions
Will parking under street lighting help?
Parking your car under street lighting can be a good way to reduce the likelihood of something happening to your car whilst parked overnight. Having said this, most insurance companies won’t factor this into the cost of your premium. They’ll only be concerned with whether your car is out on the street - not how well-lit the area is.
What if I’m travelling?
Travelling to meet friends or family makes it inevitable that you won’t always be parking in the same place every night of the year. Insurance companies accommodate occasional travel, so there’s no need to worry. However, if you regularly park somewhere other than the location specified on your insurance policy, you will have to inform your insurer.
Will my black box tell my insurer where I park?
If you have a telematics-based insurance policy and your car is fitted with a black box, then yes. In addition to relaying information regarding your style of driving, your black box will inform your insurer of where you are parking overnight. So beware if you’re parking somewhere overnight other than where you’ve told your insurer that you’ll be parked.
Am I committing fraud if I’m dishonest about where I park overnight?
Yes. In fact, any information that you’ve given to your insurer that isn’t true can be construed as insurance fraud. The most likely scenario if you’re caught is that your insurance policy will be invalidated - so you won’t be able to make any claims. It’s understandable that you’d want to find ways to reduce the cost of your insurance premium, but being dishonest about things is not the way to go.