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Overnight Parking and Its Impact on Car Insurance

Where you live directly impacts your car insurance rate. There are some areas in Ontario that insurance companies consider high crime areas according to police and claim statistics. So this means where you park your car overnight will have an effect on your car insurance. Where you live and park your vehicle will be used by insurers to determine the risk factors involved. Risks can include:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Collision
  • Traffic Congestion where you park your car overnight
  • Crime in general in the area where you live and park your car overnight

Does Where You Park Your Car Affect Insurance?

overnight Street parked cars

Yes. Where you live and park your car has a direct effect on your car insurance. 

Car Insurance Garage VS Driveway

Insurance providers consider garage overnight parking safer than driveway overnight park. The risk is lower and will be typically reflected in your premium.

Is Car Insurance Cheaper if You Have a Garage?

Yes, car insurance can be cheaper provided you park your vehicle in your own personal garage overnight and it is secured.

What Do Insurance Companies Consider High-Risk Overnight Parking?

Insurance companies would consider certain areas and locations to be high-risk for overnight parking. For example, if you park your vehicle overnight in a public garage or dimly lit street, the chance of something happening to your vehicle is much higher than in your own driveway or private garage. Public parking garages are definitely not the safest place to park your vehicle overnight. If you park your car in your driveway and your neighbourhood has a high number of vehicle break-ins, thefts or vandalism, you would be considered a higher risk to insurance providers. If you have a street permit for overnight parking, you are still at a higher risk parking on the street, than in your own personal driveway. When your vehicle is parked on the street it is at a higher risk of being damaged and for hit and runs incidents. When your vehicle is involved in a hit and run accident your insurance provider still pays all damages, but you will be on the hook for the deductible. The safest place to overnight park your vehicle is in your own personal garage that is locked. Although it’s not 100% safe it is the safest place to park. 

Solutions To High-Risk Overnight Parking

street

The best solution to high-risk overnight parking is to move to the suburbs. This may sound a bit drastic but it could greatly reduce your risk of overnight parking. If you are not quite ready to make such a huge change there are other measures you can take to reduce the risk of where you park your car. Things you can do to reduce the risk are:

  • Install an alarm system in your car
  • Always park your car in a well-lit area
  • Park your car in your secured personal garage 
  • Install an alarm system in your personal garage
  • Always lock your doors and keep your windows up when the car is parked
  • Do not leave valuable items visible to others when your car is parked and left unattended
  • Install video cameras outside your home with your parked car in view
  • Look for a secured parking garage in your neighbourhood that has 24-hour surveillance
  • Park in a neighbours garage if you can

Can I Sleep In My Car Overnight And Will it Affect My Insurance?

There is no nationwide ban on sleeping in your vehicle overnight. However, there are certain provincial, municipal, and territorial bylaws on where you can park and sleep overnight in your vehicle. Also keep in mind, sleeping in your car when you are intoxicated is illegal in Ontario and several other provinces. Even if your vehicle is turned off while you are sitting in it intoxicated it is illegal due to the laws against having control and care of your vehicle while intoxicated. You can legally be charged with Driving Under The Influence. Typically car insurance policies provide coverage whether you are in or out of your vehicle, you should be protected and would only have to inform your insurance provider if you were going to sleep overnight in your vehicle for an extended period of time. 

Where Can I Legally Sleep in My Car Overnight?

There are several options for sleeping in your car overnight legally. Options are:

  • Campgrounds – it is legal to sleep in your tent or vehicle in a campground in Ontario.
  • Private Property With Permission – it is legal to sleep on private property with the owner’s consent.
  • Rest Areas – some rest areas permit overnight parking for rest, however, there are many that restrict the limit of time you can be parked there.
  • Truck Stops – many truck stops are private property, so you must have the owner’s permission to park your car or RV there overnight.
  • 24-hour retailers – Some 24-hour Walmarts and other retailers will allow overnight parking and sleeping in your vehicle, but you must first seek permission before settling in for the night.
  • Your Own Private Property – There should be no problem with overnight parking or car camping on your own property.

What You Need to Know About Personal Items Stolen or Damaged Inside Your Car

car vandalism

Many people are under the impression that when they purchase car insurance, it covers the vehicle and personal contents. However, this is not the case. Personal belongings that are stolen or damaged during a collision are typically covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. This will be an add on to your homeowner’s policy under personal effects. If you are unsure if you have this type of coverage speak with your insurance provider to see if they offer it and if you have it. 

Exercise Caution Where You Park Your Vehicle Overnight

Regardless of obvious risk factors, you should always exercise caution when leaving your vehicle parked overnight, whether it is at home, a hotel parking lot, or visiting family or friends. Remember to lock all windows and doors, take valuables out of the vehicle, and never leave your wallet or purse in sight when not in the vehicle. Try to park in a well-lit area that is not too secluded. A parking garage with 24-hour security and surveillance would be an excellent choice.

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