With a lot of cars congregating in one congested place, parking lots can be a recipe for disaster. Although they are usually minor, fender benders and door dings caused in parking lots can spell trouble for your insurance policy. The combination of tight spaces and numerous vehicles coming and going can make it hard to decipher who caused the damage. Protect yourself, and your car, by learning more about why parking lots are bad for your car insurance rates.
Major accidents rarely happen in parking lots
Parking lots can be bad for your car insurance rates because accidents that happen in them can raise your rates unnecessarily. Accidents that happen in parking lots are almost always minor and don’t involve injuries. If you file a claim or call the police for a parking lot bump or scrape, you could end up paying a lot more money than if you had just taken care of the repairs on your own.
Door dings don’t warrant a claim
It might seem counter intuitive, but just because you can file a claim doesn’t mean that you should. Small damages like door dings can be frustrating to discover, particularly on a new vehicle, but it’s important to weigh the cost of the repair versus the rate increase you might see.
Know your deductible, and don’t file any claims where the cost of repair would be less than your deductible. Furthermore, don’t file a claim for minor damage if it means your premium will increase.
Several insurance companies offer some form of accident forgiveness, but you might not want to use it on something as minor as a door ding. These damages are almost always cosmetic and more reasonable to pay for out-of-pocket than major accidents. Save your money and use your insurance only when you actually need it.
Prove fault to avoid penalty
A positive side of the parking lot problem is that there are usually a lot of people around. If your car is dinged, dented, or scratched while parked, be sure to look around for witnesses. Ask people if they saw what happened and if they can describe the vehicle that was involved. Take photos as soon as you know that your car has been damaged, and record details like time and information from witnesses.
You can also ask the store or business for security footage that might show the other vehicles around yours at the time of the incident. If you can prove fault and get enough information, then you won’t be responsible for repair costs.
If you saw what happened and had a chance to talk to the other driver, then you can exchange information with them. Make sure that the other driver is insured, because you might have to file a police report if they are not.
Practice parking lot safety
Parking lot accidents are often underestimated because people are driving at low speeds in a wide area, but safe driving is still essential. Avoid worry about claims altogether by practicing safe driving habits like the ones listed below:
- Park at the back of parking lots to avoid other cars and give yourself more space.
- Check for pedestrians frequently
- Wear your seatbelt (even at low speeds)
- Eliminate distractions before exiting the parking space
Car accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. Even in parking lots where high speeds aren’t a factor, a minor accident could cause your insurance rates to go up.