Valet parking has grown considerably in popularity in 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 insurance agent 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 agent today to ensure you are properly covered with an affordable policy.
Why Do You Need Valet Parking Insurance?
As the owner of a valet service, safety, and security should be your number one priority. Not only do you want to protect your customers, but you also want to avoid the financial losses that accompany injuries and property damage that occur while your employees are driving and parking other people’s cars.
While cars are being driven and parked, accidents, vehicle damage, and injuries can occur, and you will likely be asked to compensate anyone who is affected.
When someone’s car is damaged or they are injured as a result of using your valet service, a lawsuit might not be far behind. Valet service insurance can protect you from the costs related to lawsuits, as well as a wide variety of other problems that can occur.
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 the lives of drivers and pedestrians, it's critical to get the right liability coverage in place.
Good policies will address these areas:
- General liability: This covers any injury to a person or damage to 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 and vehicle theft for any vehicle that is in their "care, custody, and control."
- Workers' compensation: This provides medical and disability coverage for valets and other employees for job-related injuries or illnesses. It also provides some reimbursement for lost wages during recovery.
Property Insurance for Valet Parking Services
You'll likely need property insurance in addition to liability insurance. An independent insurance agent can help you determine your need for the following types of property insurance.
- Commercial property insurance: Protects you if a fire, vandalism, smoke, theft, or other event damages your commercial property. This could mean your physical parking lot or parking garage if you own one, or simply your physical office space or official physical location. It provides coverage for office equipment, computers, and any other commercial property that you own.
- Business interruption coverage: Pays for rent, employee salaries, and other expenses if you must close temporarily due to a covered property loss.
- Business owners policy (BOP): This is a package policy designed for small businesses. It combines property, liability, and business interruption coverage in one affordable policy.
- Employee theft and crime coverage: This can protect your business from the costs of theft, dishonesty, and fraudulent acts committed by a single employee or a group of employees.
An independent insurance agent can help you determine if you need these or any other types of valet service insurance.
How Much Does Valet Parking Insurance Cost?
Valet service insurance costs are based on the location of your business, the value of your commercial property, the number of employees you have, and the number and value of the vehicles that are typically in your control at a given time. Other factors unique to your business come into play as well.
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What Valet Parking Insurance Doesn't 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. In this case, the driver's personal automobile insurance would cover the damage.
- 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 the 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 insurance agent who will get to know your business can help ensure you are properly covered and that you find the best possible coverage for your needs and budget.
Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent
An independent insurance agent who has experience working with valet parking services and other similar businesses can help you determine the types and amounts of coverage you need for your business. The choices you make will determine your cost of coverage.
Independent agents can work with numerous reputable insurance companies that specialize in your type of business. Together you can review a variety of proposals and choose the best mix of coverage that meets your needs and budget.
What’s more, your agent will be there for you when claim time comes. They know the ins and outs of the process and will make sure your claim is handled appropriately.
Find and Compare Quotes for Valet Parking Insurance
Instead of getting an online quote, find an independent insurance agent now, and get one-on-one consultation and affordable options for the best coverage for your unique needs.
Your agent will work with you free of charge to get quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can make the best choice.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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