Private Car Parks

According to the AA, at least 20% of all insurance claims that they receive come from accidents that happened in a car park. In fact, they are the most common category of car insurance claims, with the RAC reporting that approximately two-thirds of drivers in Britain have experienced some kind of damage to their car after parking in a car park. The real number might, in fact, be much higher than that.

Car Parks & Accidents

One in 5 people admits that they would drive away from the scene of the accident if the damage was minor. Many people are put off of reporting a car park accident due to worries it will affect their no-claim bonus. Leaving many car park accidents unreported. When taking out car insurance motorists should carefully consider protecting their no claims bonus, this enables you to have a dent or scratch fixed without worrying about the costs.

The most common location for a car accident to happen is in a supermarket car park and it’s not just other people and their careless parking that can cause damage to your car. Shopping trolleys and even immovable objects such as concrete pillars or lamp posts pose a risk of damaging your vehicle, or even yourself!

Accidents in Private Car Parks

Private car parks account for 8% of car park accidents. Although most car park collisions are minor accidents, a large proportion of drivers don’t know how to handle this situation when it arises. If you have an accident in a car park located on private property you might find yourself asking questions, such as whether to call the police or your insurance provider.

If you hit a car parked in a private car park you should stay and wait for the owner of the car to return, even if the damage caused is minor. Speaking to the owner of the vehicle will give you a chance to discuss with them what action they want to take. If no one returns, be sure to leave a note with your name, address, contact number and an explanation of what happened.

Remember to take photos of the damage caused to both cars. Include a picture of both of the car number plates if possible. It’s also important to check for witnesses to the accident and ask them for as much information as possible including a description of what they saw happen and their contact details.

If you hit another car in a car park, it’s worth remembering that if you do leave the scene of the accident and get caught, you could end up with a charge for criminal damage.

Insurance Cover for Private Car Parks

For owners of private land where the public pay to park their vehicles, it should be treated in the same way as any other business, which means making sure you have the right type of car park insurance cover so that you are financially protected against any potential claims.

Whilst most drivers will claim against their car insurance in the event of a car park accident, you may find yourself subject to a claim if someone is injured, or if their property is stolen or damaged. Someone could trip and injure themselves whilst walking to or from their parking spot within the boundaries of your car park. So your policy must include public liability insurance, protecting you against these types of public claims. If you employ car park staff, you will also need to make sure that you also have employer’s liability insurance.

Finally, if you operate a private car park then you should also ensure that you have personal liability cover to protect your interests.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding car park insurance or car park accidents, CALL FREE ON 0800 1696137 to speak to an advisor at Ashburnham Insurance.

10 Responses to Accidents in Private Car Parks and Car Park Insurance
  1. What if (hypothetically) a driver hit a post in a car dealership car park? The post was so low as not to be visible to the driver. The post was of the retractable variety and clearly there to protect cars displayed behind it. However on this (hypothetical) occasion there were no cars there and the post had t been lowered. I (sorry the hypothetical driver of his wife’s hypothetical car) could t have seen the post from his normal driving position and therefore maintain that the dealership bears some liability. However my wife just wants her car repaired.

    • The driver would be entitled to make a claim against the car dealership if they feel there is negligence on their behalf. If they are urgent for a repair then they would need to speak to their current car insurer to get the vehicle repaired but let them know that they are holding a third-party responsible for the damage costs. They should then be able to advise them on the best course of action. If they have taken out legal expenses with their car insurance then this would also be great for helping them along the way.

  2. How does insurance on driving instructors vehicles work for private car parks? I work in a multi tenanted office building, just now the car park is never full or near to full, regularly driving instructors and examiners bring students in to practice bay parking. The building manager frequently goes out to them and says that their insurance would be void, is this true?

    • Their insurance could possibly be void but it is all down to the wording of their individual policy. If this is not a public car park (i.e. only for use of office workers and their visitors) then it is private land and the driving instructors should not be there. Ultimately you do not need insurance to drive on what here seems to be private land but if you do have insurance then it will be valid as long as you are driving within the terms of your insurance. Most motor insurance policies will exclude cover if the vehicle is being used for criminal or illegal purposes.

  3. Lindsey-ann McDonnell August 2, 2022 at 11:12 pm Reply

    Hi There, someone parked next to me in a beach car park pulled out forwards from their parking spot and knocked over my surfboard as it stood leaning against my things at the back of my car, (it was in plain sight not lying down) she ran over it causing an estimated £200 of damage. She offered to pay half of repair costs but is denying liability. She ran over a stationary, large object at the back of my car. She did not provide her car insurance details but I do have her reg and possible. CCTV from the car park. Can I claim full costs on her car insurance? The car park is privately owned I believe but also a very public place.

    • You would need to lodge a claim against the third party for the damage to your property. It is up to the third party if they wish to go through their car insurance or not. It sounds as though they are liable for the damage but this is for a legal team to decide. You would need to contact the third party directly or seek legal assistance to do this.

  4. Hi,

    Lets say i have a garage. and i share the car park with other garages and the public has access to it. A car drove in and hit one of our parked cars. Do we have to take the liability for that accident? hoe does the process work.

    Also, will i be able to put up a sign saying “leave the car on the premises at your own risk. The management will not take responsibility for any damages, theft or PCN”

    Many thanks in advance.

    • If a Third Party driver hit one of your parked cars then that Third Party driver is responsible for the damage. If the damaged vehicle was in your care at the time, the owner may seek compensation from you and you in turn would seek compensation from the Third Party driver who caused the incident. Claims like this can get confusing and all circumstances are different. All you can do is protect you and your business with the correct insurance cover and let the insurers of everyone involved sort out these circumstances amongst themselves.

  5. Hi Steve,

    I park in a private car park and pay monthly fees for this. Someone parked illegally in there, they don’t pay for parking and had no permission from the owner to park there. They also didn’t park in a designated space. I clipped their car. What would be the law for this case?

    • The law would be the same whether it was private or public land. If you have caused damage to someone else’s vehicle or property, you are liable for the repair. I understand how frustrating it can be for someone to be parking without authorisation on private land but unfortunately, this is a separate civil matter.


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