You may only be driving a customer’s vehicle for a short length of time but there is always the potential for accidents, even with the most careful of drivers.
The right type of motor trade insurance will help to protect you, your employees and your business from any expensive claims.
A variation on the popular car jockey cover, long stay parker insurance allows you and your employees to move customer vehicles that have been left under your control.
This policy is perfect for businesses with car park based risks including airports and ferry terminals. It can also be used as parking cover for hotels, clubs, restaurants, event organisers and festival and wedding parkers.
With some potentially high-value vehicles in your possession, it’s essential you have adequate protection in place.
Tradex can tailor a policy to suit you and your requirements whether you are a small, privately owned car park operator or have a large multi-site commercial business.
What is Long Stay Parker Insurance?
The long stay parker insurance policy is designed for the car park owner or car jockey. It provides motor trade insurance cover for vehicles left temporarily in your care and should also include the transportation of passengers to or from a particular destination, the movement of vehicles and any car park based risks.
While you will not necessarily be driving long distances, you will be driving lots of different cars, some of them with high values and powerful engines. As a result, you will need to make sure you have the right insurance in place to cover all vehicles and situations.
You may only be in your customers cars for a short length of time but there is still potential for accidents to happen, especially around busy airports or ferry terminals. You will need to make sure the motor trade insurance you have in place is adequate should the worst happen.
There may be individual risks for certain events or carparks which needs to be covered. In addition, you can also add buildings, office contents and equipment cover as part of your motor trade insurance.
Slips, trips and falls are also common in car parks and therefore it is imperative that long stay car park operators have adequate public liability insurance cover in place to provide protection for claims as a result of damage to a vehicle or injury to a person due to your negligence.
What Cover Do I Need?
This type of motor trade insurance will provide cover for road risks.
There is also a range of additional cover for long stay parking businesses including:
· Flexible customer vehicle indemnity limits
· Specified driver, any authorised driver and any employee policies
· Multiple premises
· Public and employers’ liability
· Office, contents and equipment
· Tool cover
· Possible cover for drivers with convictions and claims
Road risks insurance
You will need road risks motor trade insurance as an absolute minimum so that you are insured to drive any customer’s vehicles while moving, driving or parking them.
Road risks insurance is a legal requirement for motor traders who will be driving other people’s cars, even if it is only a short distance. Private vehicle insurance will not cover you to drive other people’s cars.
Similar to standard motor insurance, road risk insurance is available with different levels of cover: third-party only, third party fire and theft and comprehensive.
Third-party only: this is the minimum level of cover available and provides insurance where someone is injured or their property damaged in an accident. As an example, if you were to drive into the rear of a car at a roundabout, the insurance policy would provide cover for any injury or damage caused to the other vehicle, but not your own. This will also not cover you for a customer’s car that you are in the process of driving, moving or parking for them. You would be responsible for the damage to the vehicle you were driving or parking.
Comprehensive: also known as ‘fully comprehensive’, this provides cover for injury to others or damage to their vehicle. You will also be fully covered for the car you are driving together with the vehicles in your care for damage incurred in an accident which is your fault.
For most people in the motor trade industry, comprehensive road risk insurance makes the most sensible option as it will cover you for the majority of collisions, including at-fault. If you were parking a vehicle and accidentally scraped the paint work, it would be covered by the policy.
If you have insufficient road risks insurance cover, it could lead you to having a huge repair bill, particularly when driving expensive vehicles.
You will also find that if you want to be recognised as a top long stay car park business, you will need a fully comprehensive insurance package in place. This is also the case if you want to become a member of the British Parking Association (BPA) or the Independent Airport Parking Association (IAPA).
You also need to keep in mind that many motor trade policies only pay the trade value of a written-off vehicle. So, if a car sells for £9,000 on Auto Trader but only costs a dealer £6,500 to buy, you will receive the lower amount from the insurer. This is something you need to consider when looking for a long stay parker insurance policy. Look at those that offer full value compensation.
Public liability insurance : Under the occupiers liability act, you have a duty of care to ensure the safety of all those visiting your facilities, including avoidance of any trip or slip hazards, as well as dangerous equipment.
In this current claim culture, it is not unusual for people to make a claim against car park operators regardless of whether there has been negligence.
If the premises is dangerous and defective, resulting in damage to a third party, or their property, this could result in a claim being brought against your company.
If you have public liability insurance in place, your experienced insurance underwriters will deal with any claims and look to defend claims where there has been no negligence.
If you are a long stay parking driver or a car park jockey, you are likely to be at greater risk of claims. If you or an employee were to hit somebody and they were injured or killed as a result, you are likely to have an expensive claim filed against your business.
If a claim were to go to court and you are ordered to pay compensation, a good liability insurance policy will cover the costs of the compensation including financial reimbursement for someone’s property, possible medical bills, lost income and legal fees for both your costs and those of the injured party.
Most car park public liability insurance starts at £1,000,000 indemnity and can rise to as much as £10,000,000 depending on the size of your business and its needs.
Employee Liability Insurance: If you employ people in any capacity, such as car park drivers or attendants either on a temporary, part-time or permanent basis, you will legally be required to have employers’ liability insurance in place.
This cover will provide protection against claims from employees if they are injured at work or become sick because of the work they are doing within your company.
You will need at least £5,000,000 employers’ liability cover as required by British law. If you do not have employers’ liability insurance, you can face severe penalties and could face fines of up to £2,500 for every day you are not insured until you put the appropriate cover in place.
This will vary as each long stay parker insurance policy will be tailored specifically to meet the needs of each car park operator. If you are the sole operator of a car park or are a self-employed car jockey, you may just need roads risks and liability insurance.
However, an operator with multiple sites, employees and buildings should spend time finding the most competitive quotes for all the combined insurance they will need from an experienced motor trade insurance broker.
As with any insurance policy, including additional cover for say employees will raise the cost. If you have had any previous claims or are a younger driver, this may also have an impact on the premium.
Large car parks do not have to break the bank though and choosing the right broker can give you access to insurance underwriters who specialise in your business.
Calculating Your Premium
There are a range of factors that insurance brokers will take into account when calculating the cost of your motor trade insurance premium. This can include:
· Experience within the motor trade
· Your claims and convictions history
· Location of your business
· Condition and security put in place in your business premises
· The value of the vehicles which you drive and park
· If you have employees, their age and driving experience
Protecting Against Insurance Claims
As a car park operator, you are always at risk of a legal claim if someone suffers an injury on your premises or experiences damage to a vehicle.
Whether you have been negligent or not, you could find yourself in a costly battle to defend yourself from false claims of negligence, or the need to settle claims quickly.
Like with any other business, it is preferable to put in good risk management procedures. These should include:
- Regular checks and documenting the condition of the flooring and ground surfaces to limit trip hazards.
- Ensuring that all security gates and fences intended to prevent unauthorised access are in a good state of repair.
- Documenting your health and safety inspections and keeping documents and video evidence of the inspections
- Visible signs to warn people of any hazards
- Fully working CCTV cameras for evidence to help provide footage of incidents so they can be reviewed
Am I Fully Responsible for a Customer’s Car?
The short answer is yes, even if you offer a park and ride or meet and greet service, you will have to accept responsibility for damage caused to paintwork and bodywork due to your negligence and are responsible for repairing any problems.
You do not necessarily need to cover problems caused by third parties, such as theft or damage to any personal property left in cars, as it is generally the responsibility of the car owner to remove personal possessions and the customer should have their own insurance.
However, some of the top operators do offer insurance to cover this and also a customer could argue that your property wasn’t sufficiently secure to prevent break-ins leading to the subsequent damage to their car such as broken windows.
If you have an open-air facility, you will unlikely be held responsible for damage caused by the elements, such as extreme weather or bird poo. Though, if you want to be a top operator, then it would be wise and good customer service to wash the vehicle before returning it to its owner.
You will also not be responsible for car faults that are outside of your control, such as problems with tyres, engines, electrical or mechanical parts, unless it is found to be due to your fault or negligence.
It is recommended to take and store photos of cars as they arrive, making it easy to resolve complaints about new damage quickly and openly. It is not uncommon for people to inspect their car thoroughly when they return from holiday, spotting previously unseen damage already there before they went on holiday.
One stipulation all parking operators should make is that customers inspect their vehicle and report any damage before they leave the car park if a claim is to be valid.
As a meet and greet operator or long stay parker operative, you must have the appropriate insurance to drive customers’ cars on public roads. According to the Independent Airport Parking Association (IAPA), research has shown that 50 percent of car owners’ comprehensive insurance policies won’t cover damage to the vehicle whilst it’s in the control of valet parking staff.
The same applies if you are offering hotel or events parking as you may have to move cars to a different parking location.
When booking airport parking, many customers will look out for operatives that belong to IAPA. Members include some of the biggest airport-parking providers across the UK and they have to follow its code of conduct.
As a member, your company must comply to offer a high standard of service, will need approved parking facilities, provide accurate information, have a clear complaint handling process if something were to go wrong and be fully insured.
An IAPA member will only be able to park vehicles on land that is authorised for airport car parking and has appropriate security.
All IAPA members need to be fully insured to cover all people and their vehicle. If the worst happens and the car is involved in an accident, the customer is covered for repairs.
Anyone who drives a customer’s vehicle, whether taking it to a car park or moving it during the car park rotation process, should have a full UK driving license.
Tradex operates along small brokerage lines with specialised underwriters that are experienced in the motor trade industry. With decades of knowledge within motor trade insurance, we can help find the right level of insurance for your long stay parker business.