There are questions you never really think about until something out of the ordinary happens and you’re forced to think it over.
One of those things, I imagine, is the answer to how you should handle it if a valet crashes your car while it’s in their possession.
If we’ve got you curious now, good thing – we’ve also got 11 people’s answers!
11. It could depend on where you live.
While the liability differs from state to state , the person driving the car is the one responsible for damages. So in most cases that would be the valet’s employer.
You should be prepared to go to people above the ones you started out with on this issue. You will most likely need to find the corporate people in charge.
10. The company covers it.
The valet is no different than you are at your job. If you break something on the job, do you have to pay for it?
No, you hold no personal liability between the valet and the customer. As long as the valet is acting 100% within the company employment policies, the business is liable for the damages. If the valets just happens to valet a Ferrari and wrecks it while trying to do 150mph, the company that employs the valet is responsible for fixing the customers Ferrari, then the company can take the employee to court and try to sue them for breach of contract. Which most likely won’t happen as a valet probably doesn’t have anything to recover.
When you are employed by anyone, the employer holds the liability with the customer for damage their employees do. The employee is just an agent, authorized to do business on the employers behalf, but only given the authority within the company polices. As long as the employee is acting within the policies, they hold no liability. So, you can not sue the employee at McDonald’s in civil court for spilling hot coffee on you, you would sue McDonald’s. You can’t sue the Walmart employee for dropping a bicycle on you from the top rack, you sue Walmart. The same at whatever job you work at, you can’t be sued for messing up at work, your employer gets sued because you are doing their business, not yours.
As the owner of the car, I’d send the valet company the bill for the damages they did to my vehicle. If they did not pay me for the damages, I’d take that valet company to court for those damages. If they paid me for the damages when I sent them the bill, there is no longer any debt and I have been made whole. This is why valet companies are required to car insurance to be able to do business.
9. Or will they…?
I live in South Florida and parking valet is very common here and I avoid at all costs. Several reasons. I don’t care what they say most of them are not insured. Many times they have worked out a deal with the restaurant or bar and it just someone to park your car two or three people and they all split the money including the owner or the manager of the restaurant.
I also have a stick shift many of them lie they don’t know how to drive a stick shift. Don’t even get me started about the English problem down here. Especially when I try to explain to them that I have a stick shift. There is also a newer scam in crowded clubs in South Beach. Guys show up at the busiest times with a black shirt that says valet on it they take your car and you don’t get it back they steal it. Yep you heard that right.
What I usually do is Park my own car and tip them anyway. It’s a lot easier if they can ever understand what you want to do. I have had way too many friends experience damage to their car and things stolen from their car. They even have up the sign sometimes saying they are not responsible but you never notice that.
8. I don’t think I would let anyone drive that.
I have a friend who has one of those limited edition Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4. Porsche made only 200 of them and everyone paid above list price for their car. Each dealership got one and no more than two to sell. My friend got it because he is a long-time Porsche guy and over time has bought numerous cars from this one particular dealership.
When he drives that limited-edition race-ready 911, which he does rarely, people leave notes on his windshield offering to buy it for cash, routinely offering $150–200K more than he paid for it.
He was invited to attend the opening of a new Audi dealership by the owner, who also owned the Porsche dealership nearby. The owner asked him to bring the GT3, which would be parked in a prominent place for the party. They were sparing no expense and it would be black tie and catered by a very well-known restaurant in town.
My friend drove his flawless jet black car to the opening of the dealership. The owner was in the carport welcoming the guests, and met him as he stepped out warmly shaking hands in welcome. A valet walked up to park his car, which my friend of course declined, but the owner insisted on valet.
“Don’t worry about it, all the cars are being valet parked tonight to clear the area for the party. We have a special place for your car,” and he nodded to a spot next to a couple Audi R8 V10s.
My friend looked at the owner skeptically, because the valet looked like a 16-year-old girl. He asked her if she could drive a stick and she smiled with a “Yes, of course sir. Please don’t worry.”
So my friend and owner walked away only to turn on hearing the 911 GT3 RS4 getting over revved. It was screaming loud under the carport. The valet then popped the clutch. There was loud tire squeal and the car leaped over the curb and literally flew through the air before coming to rest among some shrubs.
My friend said that the owner lost all color and looked like he was having a stroke; he was speechless and immobile for long moments in disbelief.
Fortunately there was only minor cosmetic damage to the front fascia, no suspension or frame damage. Needless to say, the car was repaired and returned to my friend in spotless condition.
My friend is a car fanatic but he’s not crazy. He’s also very kind. On the night he initially received the GT3 new, it was raining and misty as he left the Porsche dealership. As he got to the traffic light not more than 50 feet away, he was lightly rear-ended by a frail elderly woman in a very old Volvo. She was horrified because she could see the new car sticker and no plates. She apologized profusely, was visibly shaken and near tears.
He told her not to worry about it. She didn’t need to give him her insurance information because he would take care of the minor damage on the rear bumper. Fortunately the titanium exhaust tips were unscathed.
7. Handle it like a regular claim.
If a valet crashes your car, then the company that hired that valet is responsible for the damages.
They may take that out of the valet’s hide, but that isn’t your problem.
As the owner, you file a claim with the company who hired the valet, and your own insurance company.
6. You’ll have to be vigilant.
It happened fo my almost new Land Cruiser. I gave the car to valet and when I came back I saw a big dent on my bumper. Probably another car hit it in the parking but again, it was the valet’s responsibility due to valet reserved parking.
I spoke to the super when i noticed the damage and he offered me some cash compensation. I refused as I was not sure if that would have covered the costs of repair.
We went to nearby police station, where the police man simply conveyed to valet that it is his responsibility to check the car before he take it and to return it in same condition. The valet had some insurance and eventually all the repair costs were paid by valet service. I also got a standby use car for the duration of the repair.
So, if the valet has not marked any damage on the ticket while taking it in and the owner reports any damage then valet has to fix it.
5. It might not be that simple.
The valet’s employer would claim against their insurance to repair your car.
Fine you might think?
No as you have just lost your no claims discount which is often worth more than the value of the claim.
So, you (car owner) lose over the next years.
4. It seems so cut and dried.
Businesses that take custody of your vehicle carry a form of liability insurance called Garage Liability. This provides for defense and payment of claims should they be sued. You would have to prove negligence. Like you auto policy, they can also purchase physical damage coverage that comes in several forms, one that pays for all damage (may have a deductible), one that pays in excess of specific coverage that you may have, including your deductible. Another would pay only if you do not have insurance.
You make your claim. You will be contacted. If not make a claim under your policy (less deductible) or seek out an attorney. Legitimate businesses want to make you whole when they are negligent in damaging your property, especially if you are their customer. But no one wants to be take advantage of.
3. Well aren’t we opinionated.
My opinion is if you are willing to hand over your vehicle to a complete stranger you should bear the cost of everything.
I don’t drive but I would never, ever utilize the services of a valet to park my car.
2. Make sure you take photos.
I think that the employer insurance that pay. I mean by definition if you park thousand of car every year, one day there will be a problem. Maybe minor but still.
What I would do is to take photos as proof, and ask the responsible to fill it the papers for insurance.
I guess if you have a nice business and work with wealthy people and nice car & have valet parking, you must ensure that if that happen, and it will happen one day, that you are fix the things elegantly so that you client remember you as a pro that treated them well even in worst circumstances.
Be it real or not, imagine if one of these guys make a big complains on social media… This could decide a lot people to go to the next restaurant/hotel/disco… Not good for business.
1. How would they prove that?
Depends on which country you are in that on the rules that apply.
In some countries, the valet must be physically inside the care when the crash happens in order for the valet company to be responsible, but they have no liability if the car is impacted while parked (by another vehicle).
Depending on the type of insurance, the valet may only have to pay the copayment/overhead and not the actual cost of repair.
Well I don’t know about you, but I feel smarter already.
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? If so, chip in your two cents down in the comments!