By Karim Chandani
Every day, 30 cars are stolen in Vancouver. In Toronto, the number is nearly 40 per day. And in Montreal, 50 cars each day go missing.1 What’s more, 5 of the 10 riskiest places to park your car in Montreal are in hotel parking garages, especially those near the airport.2
A recent Supreme Court ruled that a car that was stolen from the parking garage of the Econolodge Hotel was, in fact, the responsibility of the hotel.3 Just as a hotel is responsible for providing a safe space for guests inside the hotel, it must also protect guests’ vehicles from damage or loss.
If your hotel offers valet service, you need a garage policy as part of your commercial liability coverage that protects your employees in the event of any accidents and/or damage to a guest’s vehicle. This type of policy covers you if:
- an attendant damages a vehicle or causes third party bodily injury or property damage to others while the vehicles are in their care, custody, and control;
- there is any legal liability implied because your hotel charges a fee for parking in the garage; or
- any damages occur to a vehicle under various circumstances, including an attendant juggling a huge influx of vehicles at the same time, an overflow of vehicles with no designated spots and attending to a high-value car.
Even if you don’t offer valet parking, your guests will still assume that their vehicles are protected and secure in your parking garage. Set their minds at ease by exercising reasonable care to protect their vehicles through some simple precautionary measures:
- Do a quick walk-around. If you offer valet parking, make sure the attendant walks around each vehicle as it arrives. Make a list of each ding, scratch or other cosmetic issue, and ensure the car’s owner is aware of the list.
- Ensure the space is friendly and well kept. Clean, well-lit parking garages are less likely to attract thieves and other troublemakers, especially if there are security cameras in place. You may need to arrange for a regular security patrol or just a simple staff walk-around as well.
- Post signs. Hanging signs in the garage and near the hotel’s entrance help make the owner’s responsibility clear. Signs can remind guests to keep their valuables hidden or secured and even warn that the hotel is not responsible for any loss or damage. You may wish to include similar language in the paperwork completed upon check-in, when asking for the car’s license plate and description.
As a hotel owner, you need to take a proactive approach to ensure that your business, employees and guests are properly protected.
Contact a HUB hospitality specialist to learn more about garage policies and to ensure your hospitality business has the right kind of coverage against risk.
1 Statistics Canada
2 CTV News, “Where Not to Park: Top ten hotspots for car theft in Montreal,” https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/where-not-to-park-top-ten-hotspots-for-car-theft-in-montreal-1.3146086
3 Canadian Lawyer, “Quebec hotel’s insurer on the hook for car stolen in ‘park and fly’ arrangement,” https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/news/general/quebec-hotels-insurer-on-the-hook-for-car-stolen-in-park-and-fly-arrangement/275561