What’s really going on in UK car parks?

Reluctance to claim is leaving drivers out of pocket

Have you read our blog post about “Five annoying things that happen in a car park?” (If not, have a quick squizz) We felt that strongly about how many prangs are happening in car parks, we decided to do some research of our own to find out what you really think and whether people are claiming on their insurance, if and when an accident happens. The results are super interesting!

Research carried out by One Poll has shown that just 15% of drivers whose cars have been damaged in a car park went on to claim on their car insurance, with more than one in three (37.5%) simply living with the damage to save on expensive garage bills, potentially jeopardising the future resale value of their cars by leaving dents and scratches unrepaired.

A further third (36.4% of those polled), chose to pay for repairs themselves to avoid making a claim, indicating a reluctance to lose their no-claims bonus or risk an increase in insurance premiums.

1,000 drivers whose cars had been damaged while in a car park were asked what damage was done to their vehicle:

  • 77% had suffered a minor scratch or dent while stationery
  • 33% had been reversed into
  • 32% had had their bumper damaged
  • 24% had scraped their car on a pillar in a multi-storey car park
  • 19% had hit it on an obstacle (pillar, trolley, bollard etc)
  • 18% had an accident while in motion
  • 12% had reversed into someone

We also asked drivers to rate their top car parking bugbears, with several of the top answers relating to damage or fear of damage to their vehicles, including people parking too close to their car (49%), those who open their doors carelessly risking damage to neighbouring vehicles (40%) and people who damage their cars without leaving a note (47%), while a quarter of respondents cited a dislike of navigating tight corners in multi-storey car parks.

So, on that note, we put our thinking caps on and spoke to our friends at road safety charity IAM RoadSmart and pulled together a list of the top 10 ways you can avoid a prang in a car park. Here it goes!

  • Don’t park next to the trolley park in a supermarket
  • Reversing into a space saves you fuel and makes it easier to leave – but make sure you can still get into your boot
  • Parking sensors and cameras are really useful but don’t rely on them 100% as from time to time they can be fooled by small protrusions
  • Always take the time to check for pedestrians, as a modern car has many blind spots
  • If you want to reduce your chance of a scratch don’t park next to a scruffy car or a people carrier with child seats in it. Be mindful about the space you choose. If you park next to larger 4X4 cars, the doors are a lot bigger and may touch your car when fully opened
  • Stay away from the busiest areas – i.e entrance/exit – as this will reduce your chance of a scrape and help you stay fit
  • If you are in a dark car park, try and park in the best lit spaces
  • Never park in a disabled or parent and child bay unless you are entitled to – it’s definitely not worth the fine, not to mention being morally questionable
  • Make sure you have your keys handy and be ready to slip quickly into your car if you have concerns about personal safety
  • Don’t leave your valuables on show as it’s just putting temptation out there for the opportunist thief

The research was carried out by One Poll on behalf of Budget Insurance. 1,000 UK drivers aged 18+ were asked to rank their top parking bugbears. 1,000 UK drivers aged 18+ who had had their car damaged in a car park were asked what they did in response to the damage. Fieldwork was carried out from 13­-17 October 2016.

Safe driving! 

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