Valet parking has grown considerably in popularity within the United States over the past twenty years. Not only has parking space become more limited, but more people who go to restaurants, hotels, and even hospitals are willing to pay a service to park and attend to their cars. On the downside, the rates of accidents, vandalism, theft and other incidents have also increased. If you offer a valet service to patrons, guests or patients, be sure to talk with an agent about your valet parking insurance needs.
An independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network can help to assess your needs and risks, and supply valet parking insurance quotes from multiple insurance companies for you to compare. Find a local member agent in your area today to ensure that you are properly covered with an affordable policy.
Parking Lot Accident Statistics
Most valet parking incidents occur within a parking lot, rather than on public streets. Parking lots are notorious sources of automobile accidents.
- In a given year, nearly 300,000 accidents occur as drivers attempt to maneuver within a parking lot.
- A 2007 "Not in Traffic" surveillance system determined that the following occurred in non-traffic crashes, such as single vehicle accidents and two-vehicle accidents in parking lots:
- 98,000 injuries
- 1,159 fatalities
- About half of those non-traffic crashes involved backovers of pedestrians or bicyclists.
Whether your company offers valet parking by your own staff members, or you have hired a valet parking firm to handle your customer parking needs, it is imperative to ensure you have the right business insurance and liability coverage.
What Does Good Valet Parking Insurance Cover?
The most important concerns with valet parking insurance are liability issues. Given the risks, not only regarding vehicle damage but also lives of drivers and pedestrians, getting the right liability coverage in place is critical.
Good policies will address these areas:
- General liability: This covers any injury to a person or their property that is caused by a valet attendant. This includes direct injuries caused by the driver striking a pedestrian.
- Garage keepers liability: This covers any damage to any vehicle in the parking lot that is under the care of the valet company. It includes collisions or vehicle theft for any vehicle that is in their "care, custody, and control."
- Workers compensation: This policy provides medical and disability coverage for valets and other employees for job-related injuries or illness. It also provides some reimbursement for lost wages during recovery.
Rates for valet parking insurance are based upon such factors as the type of business, whether it is operating in a private parking lot or on public property, and whether or not self-parking is an option.
When you contact an independent agent, be sure to inquire about cost saving measures. Independent agents can often browse for discounts from various companies offering the coverage you need. For example, if you have an employee safety program in place, be sure to mention this to your agent in the event that it will help you qualify for discounts.
What Valet Parking Insurance Does Not Cover
Many circumstances can occur with regard to valet parking that are beyond the responsibility of the valet company or property owner. You will want to provide clear communication to those using your valet services that these issues are their responsibility:
- Vandalism or theft: If your valet staff properly parked and locked a car, and the vehicle is stolen or vandalized, your company will typically not be held liable. Under this circumstance, the driver's personal automobile insurance would cover damages.
- Weather related damage: Your company or valet service is not liable for damage from windstorms, hail, lightning, flooding or falling objects, unless you promise covered parking and then the vehicle is damaged while parked in an open parking lot.
- Theft of contents: It is a good idea to mention on signage and parking stubs that your company or valet service is not responsible for personal property left in vehicles.
Valet keys have become popular with newer cars; these special keys enable the driver to put valuables in the trunk or glove box, areas the valet key cannot access.
Important Considerations for Valet Services
When you are preparing to start a valet service at your restaurant, hotel or other facility, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Legal concerns: It may be wise to work with an attorney to draft your valet policy and determine how to clearly communicate driver and valet responsibility to your patrons. Remember, it is illegal to require that your customers use your valet parking service.
- Safety issues: One of the most important steps you can take is to develop safety standards for your company, for your hired valet service (if applicable) and for your hired drivers.
- Consider requiring driver safety training.
- Carefully screen drivers you hire to ensure each driver has a valid driver's license, a clean driving record and excellent experience.
- Develop parking and traffic protocols that reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. Signage, use of orange cones and parking arrows can dramatically reduce the risk of incidents.
- Additional coverage: Fully consider your risks when working with your insurance agent. With hired drivers who are working as quickly as possible to help move vehicles efficiently and earn tips, there are many opportunities for mistakes. Discuss additional coverage, such as a business umbrella policy. This coverage can provide a safety net of excess liability insurance in the event of a catastrophic incident resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.
Working with a local independent agent who will get to know your business can help ensure that you are properly covered, and that you find the best possible coverage for your needs and budget.
Where to Find the Best Valet Parking Insurance Quotes
Valet parking insurance is an important consideration, regardless of whether you subcontract to an outside valet firm or handle the details internally. If you are considering adding valet parking as a service for your customers, be sure you get the proper insurance coverage to protect your company's financial well-being first. If you hire an outside valet service, you also want to ensure that your insurance agent confirms that service is well covered with adequate insurance before hiring them.
An independent agent in the Trusted Choice network can help you with every aspect of your commercial coverage, including valet insurance. Your agent will be able to assess your specific risks and provide quotes from several different insurance companies, so you can choose the best fit for you budget. Find a local member agent now to protect your company and your future.