If you’ve ever navigated the intricacies of signing up for car insurance, you’ve likely encountered a specific inquiry on your auto insurance registration form: Where do you park your car overnight?

While seemingly inconsequential, the location where you park your car overnight—whether it’s in your condominium or private garage, or on the street—can translate into modest savings on your insurance rate, although it might not overtly impact your insurance premium.

Numerous factors contribute to your insurance rate, with insurance companies assessing your address, car make and model, and driving record. The prevalence of car thefts or collision claims in your area influences your insurance premiums—higher incidents result in elevated premiums. Additionally, factors like mileage, usage patterns, and your driving history play a role in determining your insurance rate. Some insurance providers even impose a $500 surcharge for frequently stolen vehicles, such as SUVs or models manufactured post-2019.

Residential location is a pivotal determinant of insurance rates due to varying theft and collision rates across different areas. Anne Marie Thomas, Director of Consumer and Industry Relations at the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), notes that while inquiring about overnight parking isn’t a common practice among insurance providers, some may ask about garage locations to determine territorial ratings. The categorization of areas into territories helps underwriters evaluate the actual or expected loss to the insurance company. The granular and individualized approach insurers take in determining rates means that individuals with similar postal codes might still see vastly different rates.

Contrary to popular belief, the specific location where you park overnight isn’t a direct factor in insurers’ calculations. For example, paying for parking permits on city streets, even in large cities like Toronto and Brampton, does not necessarily lead to higher premiums. While deserted streets may pose a higher risk of theft, monitored parking lots are not immune to car theft.

Although the overnight parking location doesn’t directly influence your premium, it can make a difference in the overall amount you pay.

Enter the private parking insurance discount.

Distinct from parking car insurance, which covers your vehicle during extended periods of non-use, some insurers provide a private parking insurance discount ranging from 5% to 10% for parking in a private garage, driveway, or carport.

Anne Marie Thomas explains that while some insurers may have applied to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) for this discount, not all companies offer it. Failing to disclose your overnight parking location might mean forfeiting potential savings. However, dishonesty or concealment about your residence could lead to carriers rejecting or canceling your auto insurance policy.

To determine eligibility for the private parking insurance discount, check with your insurance company. If considering a switch, comparing auto insurance rates from multiple providers can help identify opportunities for a private parking insurance discount and potentially lower premiums.

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