Car Care

Revealed: The stats behind car park dings

A trip to the supermarket often starts with the dreaded drive around a full car park, searching for a parking space whilst doing your best to dodge stray trollies. But have you ever got back to your car to discover it isn’t how you left it?

Although car insurance is not mandatory in New Zealand, NZAA actively encourages its Members to take out a Third Party policy at the very least.

A recent survey conducted by AA Insurance suggests that over half of New Zealand drivers have returned to their parked cars to find them damaged. In these cases, only 14% of people left a note with their details, despite seven in 10 drivers saying that they wouldn’t hesitate to leave their details if the roles were reversed.

“The disconnect between what people say they’ll do and what they actually do when it comes to car park accidents has become a common theme in our annual lifestyle survey, especially when no one sees them causing the damage,” said Amelia Macandrew, Customer Relations Manager at AA Insurance.

“The reality is that most people don’t leave a note, despite it being a legal requirement to give your details and registration number to the owner within 48-hours, or if you can’t find them, to report the accident to police within 60 hours.”

Ninety-three per cent of survey respondents claimed that they obey the rules of the road in car parks, such as keeping to the left and using their indicators. With even more people claiming that they pay extra attention when opening their car door when stationary.

However, in the 12 months to 30 November 2019, almost 11 per cent of all AA Insurance car claims involved parked vehicles. Unfortunately it’s the one situation where the victim must rely on the moral compass of the other driver.

“If we don’t know who did the damage, we can’t contact them or their insurer to manage the claim, which means the owner of the car must claim on their own insurance and pay an excess or pay for the damage themselves, if it is minor,” added Macandrew.

If you happen to see who caused the damage to your vehicle, be sure to get as many details as you can about their vehicle before making a claim to your insurance company. In some cases, drivers are lucky and a witness has made of note of that information for them.

Here are some tips from AA Insurance to help avoid car park collisions:

  • Drive according to the road rules. Indicate to let people know where you’re headed, use your mirrors to see other drivers/pedestrians before reversing.
  • Most drivers like to park as close as possible to their destination, so make a point of parking at the far end of the car park instead.
  • Park away from where people are most likely to leave their trolleys, including trolley bays, pavements closest to the store’s entrance, and traffic islands.
  • Don’t shop during peak hours when car parks are at a premium. Early morning, or later into the evening should be less congested.
  • Shop local and park down side streets, or parallel park instead.

So always make sure you take extra care in supermarket car parks – according to the AA Insurance survey, one third of Kiwis have had their car damaged by a runaway trolley!

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