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How you park your car can impact your insurance premiums

Reviewed by General Insurance Expert, Stephen Zeller
6 min read
9 Sep 2021

For many of us, cars are a necessary mode of transport to get from A to B. Some of us (like classic car enthusiasts or those with expensive new cars) can be more precious with where we park them than others.

However, where we park the car is important, as it can have an impact on how much your car insurance will cost.

While not everyone will have a garage or carport on their property to use (or room in their garage if they’ve turned it into a workshop or storage space), those people could be missing out on some serious car insurance savings.

Let’s take a look at how much of a difference a good, secure car park can make to car insurance premiums.

Driveway parking costs more in insurance, but is the second most common place to park

Parking in a garage is one of the most secure places to park your car and one of the cheapest places in terms of car insurance premiums. The table below featuring data from Compare the Market shows the top four locations people prefer, with most cars being kept in the garage:

a bar graph showing the most popular parking locations

Notes: based on car insurance policies sold through Compare the Market’s car insurance comparison service between 01/01/2019 and 18/07/2021.

While driveways are the second-most-common parking location, they do have an impact on the cost of car insurance premiums. This is because they are more exposed to the elements and can be damaged by storms, hail, fire, falling trees and whatever else Mother Nature can throw at it. They’re also an easier target for thieves.

How crime rates impact car insurance costs

While different parking locations can affect the cost of car insurance, it’s also important to factor in the suburb itself. Crime rates are a major factor that can influence insurance premiums between suburbs, but even low crime rate suburbs have a noticeable price disparity between garage and driveway parking.

Alt tag: a family hopping into their car with suitcases

To demonstrate the difference, we analysed data from Compare the Market for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, comparing some average prices for a suburb with a high crime rate (particularly motor vehicle theft) to prices for a suburb with a low crime rate.

Both suburb locations in this example have prices for garage, driveway, carport and street parking as well, while all other factors remained the same.

Average Sydney indicative car insurance premiums
Parking locationBlacktown (high crime rate suburb)Hornsby (low crime rate suburb)
Garage$1,099.69$906.59
Driveway$1,122.16$1,075.37
Carport$1,104.61$1,054.59
Street$1,143.70$1,097.45
Notes: Average prices are based on quotes from Compare the Market’s insurance comparison service for comprehensive policies with a $900 excess on [date]. Prices are for a 35-year-old male who drives a 2016 model white semi-automatic petrol-engine Mazda 3 four-door sedan with no modifications and are subject to change.

Crime data sourced from the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.1

 

Average Melbourne indicative car insurance premiums
Parking locationDandenong (high crime rate suburb)Diamond Creek (low crime rate suburb)
Garage$1,188.86$1,009.35
Driveway$1,205.99$1,025.72
Carport$1,192.16$1,012.74
Street$1,229.05$1,042.00
Notes: Average prices are based on quotes from Compare the Market’s insurance comparison service for comprehensive policies with a $900 excess on [date]. Prices are for a 35-year-old male who drives a 2016 model white semi-automatic petrol-engine Mazda 3 four-door sedan with no modifications and are subject to change.

Crime data sourced from the Crime Statistics Agency of Victoria.2

 

Average Brisbane indicative car insurance premiums
Parking locationWoolloongabba (high crime rate suburb)Belmont (low crime rate suburb)
Garage$820.06$693.59
Driveway$845.20$716.73
Carport$827.09$699.50
Street$869.33$736.37
Notes: Average prices are based on quotes from Compare the Market’s insurance comparison service for comprehensive policies with a $900 excess on [date]. Prices are for a 35-year-old male who drives a 2016 model white semi-automatic petrol-engine Mazda 3 four-door sedan with no modifications and are subject to change.

Crime data sourced from the Queensland Police Service.3

The difference between parking in the garage or driveway is small, between $16.37 and $25.14 difference on average for Blacktown, Dandenong, Diamond Creek, Woolloongabba or Belmont.

Hornsby, however, had an average difference of $168.78 just by moving a car off the driveway and into the garage.

Upon further investigation, two other Sydney suburbs showed drastic price increases when the hypothetical car in the previous examples was moved from a garage to the driveway:

  • In Chifley, the average price when parked in the garage was $1,007.49; the driveway was $82.36 more expensive at $1,089.85.
  • Parking the car in a garage at a Liverpool address had an average price of $1,122.97; the driveway in this scenario was $116.10 more expensive at $1,239.07.*
* Average prices are based on quotes from Compare the Market’s insurance comparison service for comprehensive policies with a $900 excess. Prices are for a 35-year-old male who drives a 2016 model white semi-automatic petrol-engine Mazda 3 four-door sedan with no modifications and are subject to change.

How to save on your car insurance

This shows that there is the potential for better savings depending on not only where you park your car, but the suburb you’re parking it in.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager of General Insurance at Compare the Market, said that parking the car in the garage won’t be an option for everyone.

“Taking small steps to secure your car can help protect it, but not everyone will have a garage or carport in their home or the ability to build one,” Mr Zeller said.

“Other options could include a secure car park or locked compound, which are more common in apartment blocks and unit complexes.”

But now you know how parking spots influence insurance premiums, this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to lie about where you park your car to your insurer.

According to Mr Zeller:

“Wherever people park their car, they should be honest when taking out an insurance policy. Saying you park in the garage when you actually park on the driveway to save the odd $20 or so is not worth the pain this may cause when you need to make a claim.”

Looking for more car insurance saving tips? Learn how to get cheaper car insurance premiums with our handy guide.

Sources:
1 NSW Crime Tool. New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Department of Communities and Justice, Government of New South Wales. 2021.
2 Latest crime data by area. Crime Statistics Agency, Victorian State Government. 2021.
3 Queensland Police Service – Online Crime Map. Queensland Police Service. 2021.

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avatar of author: James McCay

Written by James McCay

James is a devoted husband, father, animal lover and history buff. He studied Creative and Professional Writing at QUT, and is often buried in a book. While he writes on a variety of topics, a personal favourite is cars and all things motoring. James hopes to make a positive difference for readers through his writing.

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