Car accidents inside a parking lot are surprisingly common in Canada. Considering most parking lots are a confounding smorgasbord of shopping carts, cyclists, pedestrians, and cars of various sizes, with medians and narrow driving lanes, it is no surprise that they are magnets for untoward accidents. However, as with most accidents, almost all the accidents that occur inside parking lots are completely avoidable.
And even though the bulk of parking lot car accidents are relatively minor, some can still be damaging to your vehicle as well as your physical being.
This leads to the question, “does insurance cover parking lot accidents?”.
For insurers, parking lot car accidents are just like any other accidents. They conduct a similar investigation following the same set of protocols and if you are found to be at fault, your car insurance quotes are impacted.
As long as you have collision coverage as a part of your policy, you will generally be covered. However, if you are found to be at fault for the incident without having collision coverage, you will be liable to fix any damages to your vehicle.
Here, we shall discuss everything you need to know about parking lot accidents. Click here for a more detailed insight into your car insurance in Kitchener.
How does your insurer determine fault?
Determining fault by your insurer works the same way as it would on a highway or a Canadian road. The entire process is governed by the rules of fault determination that help identify the root cause of the accident following a set of predetermined guidelines. The process will also invariably include taking statements from other drivers or pedestrians and gauging the vehicle damages to zero in on the fault.
By the rule of thumb, if your vehicle collides with another legally parked vehicle, you will be held at fault for the accident. This is because anytime you are found not following rules, you are held accountable. Moreover, you must yield space to a vehicle driving down the lane while exiting a parking spot. All these conditions are taken into account while determining fault.
Parking lot car accidents and impact on insurance rates
Unless you have the clause of forgiveness attached to your policy and applicable to the circumstances, your premiums will be affected if you are found at fault in case of a parking lot accident. Here, your insurers are unlikely to draw a line between on-road accidents and the parking lot accident.
And just like driving on public properties, any accident happening inside a private parking lot has the same legal ramifications. For example, if you are found at fault for driving under influence (DUI), you will be charged with legal clauses and your license would also incur demerit points as applicable.
Most common parking lot accident types
Even though there could be myriad causes behind a parking lot accident, we have narrowed down the most common types here.
1. Rear ending vehicles at the stop sign
It is important to drive safely inside a parking lot by controlling your speed and paying attention to your environment. If you are found rear-ending a vehicle at a stop sign or almost anywhere else in a parking lot, you will be held at fault.
2. Competing cars collide
If two vehicles are competing inside a parking lot for, say – the same parking spot, and they end up in a collision, both of them will be liable for the accident.
3. Backing into another vehicle
You will be at fault for hitting either a moving or a parked vehicle while backing out. The rule says you must yield to oncoming or existing traffic while backing out of a parking lot. However, if you are backing up and end up hitting another vehicle that is backing up as well, you both will share the fault in this case.
4. Colliding with a stationary object
There are many stationary objects like a light post, traffic sign, shopping cart, curb, or the media that you may end up hitting. In this case, the fault will be entirely on the driver.
5. Colliding with a cyclist or a pedestrian
This may vary depending on the situation and only a thorough investigation will reveal the at-fault status here. Cyclists and pedestrians tend to appear from nowhere at times. They may come into your way while getting out of vehicles, crossing through spaces, or even while coming out of a store.
Avoiding collision at a parking lot
Parking lots can be surprisingly active spots. It pays to pay attention to your surroundings constantly. Here are a few common-sense based tips to avoid accidents inside a parking lot:
- Less busy area: Look for a comparatively less active area to park inside the lot, even if it means having to walk a bit more.
- Traffic signs: Realize that the traffic signs even inside a parking lot aren’t optional and follow them accordingly.
- Speed limit: Always drive at much slower speeds than you would on the road and never exceed the recommended speed limit.
- Staying vigilant: Always look around you using your head and the mirrors. This is especially true while driving down near storefronts or entering or exiting the lot. Never use your phone or get distracted by anything else.
- Blind spots: Always be aware of your blind spots and make it a point to double-check them before moving or changing direction.
- Backup camera: Always use backup cameras as an aid rather than the sole point of reliance while backing your vehicle.
- Face outwards: Make it a habit of parking the car in reverse so that you reduce blind spots while leaving the parking lot.
To sum up, accidents in parking lots are just like everywhere else. Your car insurance will hold good as long as you are not at fault. On the flip side, if you are found liable for an accident inside a parking lot, you will face the same consequences as you would on the road. This can impact your insurance premiums and you may end up paying a fine.
Therefore, it is always recommended to keep an open eye while driving in and out of parking lots. This will ensure you stay safe and that your car insurance stays intact.