Damage while parked – what your insurance actually covers

Damage to your parked car can put an alarming dent in your wallet. Source: istock

Small acts can have big effects: dents and scratches caused by unknown parties to your parked car can be costly to repair. Although this is annoying, your insurance should cover it. Or will it? Comparis answers the most important questions.

Not all damage to a parked car is classed as “damage while parked” in the insurance sense. It depends on who caused the damage and in what circumstances, and whether the culprit is known.

Who pays for damage to a parked car?

Have you caused damage to someone else’s parked car? If so, this is covered by your liability insurance. If you damaged your own vehicle at the same time, this is classed as collision damage and is paid for by your full casco insurance. In this case, you normally have to pay a deductible. If, however, you do not have full casco insurance or insurance for damage while parked, you must pay for the damage to your own car yourself.

Your full casco insurance also covers damage to your car caused by unknown parties – i.e. damage while parked. However, in this case you will also have to pay a deductible, usually 1,000 francs, unless your policy includes “damage while parked” as an add-on. In this case, the deductible will either be smaller or zero.

What if I don't have full casco cover?

Many insurers will only let you take out “damage while parked” cover in combination with full casco insurance. Some, however, also offer it in conjunction with a partial casco policy. If you would like to insure yourself against parked car damage in future, contact your insurance company.

What if the car is vandalized?

If the damage is deliberate, such as a broken wing mirror, slashed tyres or graffiti, partial casco insurance will cover it. Note, however, that most insurers exclude events like riots and uprisings. Motorists therefore need to exercise some caution in such circumstances. Parking your car along the parade route in Zurich on 1 May, for instance, could turn out to be expensive.

Good to know: scratches to paintwork are classed as a collision event and are only covered by full casco insurance.

How can I guard against parked car damage?

It helps to be careful when parking, including in terms of the location. However, there are always some things for which you can't legislate. Those with new vehicles in particular may find taking out “damage while parked” cover worthwhile.

Swiss National Guarantee Fund steps in for uninsured cars

All policyholders contribute a few francs per year to a national guarantee fund via their vehicle liability insurance. This happens automatically. The fund pays for damage caused by unknown parties to uninsured vehicles as long as the damage is not already covered by another policy. A deductible of 1,000 francs applies. A police report is required for this.

Telephone number of the Swiss National Guarantee Fund: 0800 831 831