It may seem logical that parking your vehicle in a garage overnight protects it from vandals, thieves and the elements. But in most cases, there’s no correlation between whether you park in a garage and what you pay for car insurance.
Unless you own a classic car, few car insurance companies will not even ask.
Over the years, insurance companies have found that the prospects of a customer having to file an insurance claim are not much different if a car is parked in the driveway versus in the garage.
But if having four walls around your car doesn’t matter as you look for the cheapest car insurance, what does?
Do insurance companies check where you park?
While parking your car in a garage might decrease the likelihood of vandalism or a falling tree limb, insurers also seem realistic about how many motorists use their garages.
Car insurance companies focus on factors backed up by data, such as the make and model of your vehicle, your driving record, who else drives the car, how the particular type of vehicle you drive fares in collisions, and your credit score, says Chris Hackett, director of personal lines with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
Where you park matters a lot, but the ZIP code determines your rate, not whether you have a garage. Hackett says that insurers pay close attention to the claims history in a particular geographic region.
How do ZIP codes affect car insurance rates?
Hackett says that rates are lower in rural areas than urban ones because “you’re more likely to have an accident in the city in the heart of rush hour” than if you live in a rural location.
When setting rates, insurers will look at things such as that area’s claims for auto theft, property stolen from vehicles, vandalism, or damage caused by a natural disaster, says Frank Scafidi, director of public affairs at the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
There also can be significant variations within an urban area — and it doesn’t pay to try to hide that fact.
Does having a garage lower car insurance?
It’s a different story if you own a classic car, says Jonathan Klinger, Executive Director of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation, which insures classic and collectible cars.
Having a vehicle stored in a locked garage is among the requirements to qualify for insurance from Hagerty. Keeping it in the garage of your condo or a locked storage unit also qualifies.
If you keep your classic car “outside under a cover or under a carport, you’re not eligible,” Klinger says.
Most classic-car insurers want a photo of the garage. And to be covered, your car can’t be used for day-to-day transportation. That makes it cheaper to insure than the vehicle you use for your daily commute because it’s not on the road every day, and it’s kept stored away, Klinger says.
Unlike insuring the vehicle, you use for your daily commute, a classic or collectible auto is insured for its agreed-upon value.