What Happens If Your Car Is Damaged in a Parking Lot?

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The weather is warming and that means baseball games, concerts and more. It may seem like all fun and games, but what happens if your car is damaged while parked at a venue? Is it your responsibility to pay for damages or can you hold the property responsible? The answer can be complicated.

Public or Private, It Doesn’t Matter

When you’re driving on the highway, you are on what is considered to be a public space. If you’re parked in a parking lot, you are on the private property of the company that owns or leases that space. Your auto insurance will probably cover you at both of these places, depending upon your coverage.

Be Sure You Have Collision Coverage

If you have an auto insurance policy with collision coverage, this will likely cover you if someone hits your car while you’re parked in a private parking lot. If it’s a hit and run, you may have to pay your deductible before your insurance kicks in. But if the person who damages your car is identified, your insurance company may be able to work directly with their company so you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket.

If your car hits another vehicle, a person, or an object in a parking lot, your insurance company will treat it the same way as if you hit something on the street. If you’re at fault, you and your insurance will cover the cost of the damages, according to your policy.

What About Valets?

If you valet your car and it is damaged by the person driving or parking it, you may be able to collect from the employee or the employer for the damage. If they have insurance coverage—and they probably do—your first choice would be to file a claim with their insurance company. If you have collision coverage on your auto policy, then your second choice would be to file a claim through your own company. Be aware that if the valet or business owner doesn’t take responsibility for the damage, it can be a hard thing to prove without witnesses or videos.

Negligence Is Another Matter

If your car is parked in a parking lot and is damaged by something other than a collision, such as a collapsing structure, your first choice is again to file a claim under the property owners’ policy. Filing a claim under your own policy is a second option if you have comprehensive coverage, which protects you from damages caused by factors such as fire, flood, falling objects, wind, hail and collision with an animal.

If you plan to go to events where your car will be sitting in a parking lot, you can minimize the impact of unexpected damage by equipping yourself with a good insurance policy. Call for a Safeco Insurance® quote to discuss your options.