Valet parking and your car insurance
Valet parking and your car insurance
From fancy hotels and events, to meet and greet parking at the airport, valet parking can save you time and stress. But is valet parking covered by your car insurance?
What is valet parking?
Valet parking is a service provided by some businesses where you drive to a location or venue, hand over your car keys to a steward, and they park your car for you in a designated safe place.
It’s normally associated with high-end hotels and restaurants, or large conferences or events, but it’s also commonly offered at airports.
Valet parking can save you time and stress. But what happens if your car is dented while it’s being parked, or if something is stolen from the boot? Or if your car goes missing altogether? Will you be able to claim on your car insurance?
Does my car insurance cover valet parking?
It may be that your car insurance doesn’t cover valet parking. When you take out car insurance you must provide the names of the main - and any additional - drivers for the insurance certificate. Any unnamed drivers won’t be covered.
Most car insurance policies will allow for the car to be in the control of a mechanic for a short time for service or repair. But this type of short-term handover cover often doesn’t apply to valet parking services.
Check your policy. It should be clearly stated in the terms and conditions if you’re covered for valet parking, and it should list any exclusions. If your car insurance doesn’t cover valet parking, you won’t be able to claim if your car gets damaged or stolen when you're using valet parking.
What if my car is stolen from valet parking?
Even if your car insurance does cover valet parking, always check the terms and conditions for any exclusions. For example, some valet parking companies might leave your keys inside the car. Doing so may well invalidate any theft claim if the car is subsequently stolen.
Check the terms of valet parking services to make sure your car will be parked in a secure location, and to see if there’s any security measures like CCTV in place.
Do valet services have insurance?
Yes, valet services should have valet parking insurance. But you should look at their terms and conditions carefully to see if there are any exclusions. And check the excess. The cover may be limited to small damage claims.
You’ll have to look for, and report, any damage as soon as you collect your car.
Normally you won’t be covered for loss of any belongings left in the car.
Meet and greet
If you’re not often visiting luxury hotels or Michelin-starred restaurants, you’re probably most likely to encounter valet parking services only when jetting off on your holidays.
It’s often called ‘meet and greet' parking at airports, but it’s basically the same as valet parking. As such, it may not be covered by your car insurance, so make sure you check your policy terms.
How to valet safely
To valet safely there are several steps you can take, including:
- Check your car insurance policy to make sure you’re covered for using valet parking services.
- If you plan on using valet parking offered by a hotel, restaurant or other venue, check the arrangements and the terms and conditions of the service carefully.
- Be very cautious about using valet services offered unexpectedly. If you do decide to go ahead, check the arrangements with the venue or event organiser as soon as you can.
- Don’t leave any valuables or personal belongings in the car.
- Check for any damage when you pick up your car - and report any damage immediately.
How to choose a valet service
When deciding whether to choose a particular valet parking service, check for the following:
- Do they require all members of their staff to have a full, clean UK driving licence?
- Do they provide any cover for damage to the vehicle?
- Are they a member of the Park Mark Safer Parking scheme or the British Parking Association?
- Will your car be parked on public or private property?
- What security is in place to protect your car from theft?