An increasing number of airport car parking customers choose the valet parking option, thanks to the time-saving convenience of being able to unload your suitcases directly into the terminal, saving time and having to lug them onto a shuttle bus.
However, ther hidden cost of ‘cheap’ valet parking can be considerable, according to insurance comparison website Gocompare.com, which is warning drivers to check their insurance before handing over their car keys to a valet parking service – or risk picking up the cost of repairs if their vehicle is damaged.
A review of 245 comprehensive car insurance policies by the comparison website revealed that 51% of policies don’t cover ‘damage to the vehicle whilst in the control of valet parking staff’. That means that if your car is damaged you could be left to pick up the cost of the repairs.
Lee Griffin, spokesman for Gocompare.com Car Insurance, commented:
“Valet parking is becoming an increasingly popular option in the UK with many airports, major hotels and entertainment venues now offering a ‘meet and greet’ service.
“It can be a convenient way to park your car, especially at airports where it will save you having to lug heavy suitcases onto an airport shuttle bus. But before you hand over your keys you need to check the implications for your car insurance and carefully read the valet parking operator’s terms and conditions.
“These will outline what insurance cover, if any, the operator offers, detailing exclusions, limits and excesses. Generally speaking operators offer very limited cover for damage to your car, which you will need to spot and report to them when you collect your vehicle. Possessions left in your car are generally excluded.”
It should be common sense to check on liability and cover for damage when using a valet service, but drivers often overlook this in their desire for a cheap, convenient airport car parking service.
However, if you’ve ever seen the fenced-in parking lots where valet drivers park customer cars near airports, you should be able to imagine how common incidents of accidental damage could be, even if the valet drivers are skilled and experienced…
At the end of the day, convenience always costs money — either pay up front for a reputable valet service or risk the costs afterwards, when you have to pay for repairs to your car.