Parked Car Insurance

Parked car immersed in flood waters
••• William Thomas Cain / Getty Images

When we look at auto insurance policies, we often think about the coverage they’ll provide for different types of on-road scenarios, such as accidents. But many types of expensive damage can happen to your car when it is parked.

Whether or not your insurance coverage will apply to your vehicle while it is parked depends on a few things: what caused the damage and what type of coverage you have.

You might not think that anything can happen to your car while it is parked. The chances are certainly lower than they are when you are out driving on the road. But, many things can go wrong, from vandalism to acts of nature, so it’s best not to take your chances. It's best to know exactly when you’re covered.

What Can Happen While Your Car Is Parked?

If you have comprehensive coverage, as the name implies, your parked car damage will be covered in most cases. This includes in the event of:

  • Vandalism
  • A tree falling on the car
  • Hail
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Stolen car

If you know who damaged your parked car, you can file a property damage claim against their insurer. Property damage liability pays out from the at-fault driver's insurance policy. The best part about filing a property damage claim against another person's policy is that you will not have to pay a deductible. That means your insurance rates will not be impacted. Plus, you will be eligible for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.

If your car is ever vandalized, it is best to report it to the police as soon as you can. That way, there will be no disputing that the damage was actually caused. The process of getting paid by an insurance company will be much easier.

If you have collision coverage, the damage will be covered when you do not know who hit your car. Your policy will cover the repairs to your vehicle as long as you have this coverage and pay your deductible.

What if you do not know who damaged your car while parked and you do not have collision coverage? Unfortunately, you will have no help from your insurance when it comes to making repairs to your car.

How Can You Protect Your Car While Parked?

Lots of people store their cars overnight, during work, or for other periods or time. Leaving your car alone is often unavoidable. But there are more and less risky options of where to leave your car. Parking your car in your garage or a commercial lot with security is a lot different from parking your car at the store or on the side of the road.

A lot less can happen to your car while it's stored in your garage. Parked car insurance is provided to a car stored at your home or storage facility by comprehensive coverage. Your car should not be at risk of being hit by another car while parked in your garage. So comprehensive will cover all possible risk factors, such as:

  • Stolen car
  • Car fire
  • Storm damage
  • Flood

If you’re planning on putting your car into long-term storage, comprehensive coverage is often offered as a standalone policy. This is true as long as a second car is covered with liability coverage.

Special arrangements can sometimes be made to put a single car in storage with no other vehicle on the policy. It will depend on the insurance carrier. Your deductible will apply if you ever have a comprehensive claim.

What Are the Pros and Cons of This Type of Coverage?

There are some pros to this type of coverage. It protects your car against physical damage while parked. It saves you money by reducing your overall cost of insurance. And you can change your coverage so it's legal to drive again when you're ready.

On the other hand, it does not protect your parked car against damage from a hit-and-run accident. You could forget to switch your coverage before driving your car again. And if you have a loan on your car, you might have to get approval from your bank to put comprehensive only coverage on the vehicle.

The Bottom Line

Parked car insurance can refer to several different types of coverage. It is important for you to protect your vehicle while it is parked.

Make sure to buy the right coverage for your situation. The only way to fully protect your car is to purchase both comprehensive and collision. Only then will you will know your car is protected in every scenario.