Parking damage: What a festive mess!

Parking damage: What a festive mess!

So much for a tranquil Advent season. Quite the opposite is the case when out shopping: department stores and underground garages are bursting at the seams and all your thoughts are on just one thing ­– where can I park my car?

The consumer appetite of Swiss citizens increases daily until the end of the year. More than half leave their Christmas shopping until December and nearly one in four leave it to the fortnight before Christmas. Frantic shopping frenzy! This is also reflected in the hectic behavior in the parking lots and garages.

Distance slightly underestimated

In tight parking garages, it's easy to accidentally drive into someone else's car. While this is annoying, it's not tragic: The liability insurance pays for the damage to the other car. And if you damaged your own car as well, your comprehensive insurance will foot the bill. This also applies if no other car is involved and your vehicle, for example, becomes closely acquainted with a post.

Important: If you find yourself in a situation like this, then take a photo of the damage to the other vehicle and your own – as well as the number plates and the accident location. This facilitates subsequent processing, avoids unnecessary debate and helps you to forget those annoying dents. You must also inform the other driver of your unintentional feat by either waiting for them or notifying the police.

Unknown party leaves behind scratches

But what if, on returning from shopping, you discover deep dents in your own car – but the responsible party has made off without leaving a message? If the driver has selected the «loss or parking damage» option in their motor vehicle insurance, then the insurer will pay for the repairs, without you having to pay a deductible. However, insured individuals who don't have this option might lose their spending appetite for a while, because they will probably have to shell out for the repair themselves. At least this is the case for normal scratches and dents.

How to ensure Christmas doesn't fall through

However, if the car is severely damaged and the repair costs exceed CHF 1,000, the National Guarantee Fund (NGF) will help. The Guarantee Fund is intended for cases of hardship where the driver at fault is unknown or uninsured. If the person who caused the accident cannot be found, the owner must pay a deductible of CHF 1,000. The same applies here, too: take photos of your car and the scene of the accident. And report the incident to the police.