The 2010 AA Insurance Survey indicates Tauranga is the most dangerous main centre in New Zealand to park a car.
The survey reports a national average of 21 out of every 1000 AA Insurance policy holders claimed during the last 12 months for damage caused to their vehicle while it was parked.
Tauranga was the worst main centre with 73 out of every 1000 AA Insurance policy holders claiming for damage caused to their vehicle while it was parked there.
The safest city to have a car parked in was Christchurch with 16 out of every 1000 policy holders claiming for parked car damage there, although the statistics have not included incidents related to the September earthquake.
The Tauranga numbers are concerning as the Christmas shopping season nears and that is the time when more car park accidents occur.
The most common place for car park collisions is the supermarket with 33 per cent of AA Insurance claims for cars damaged while parked.
Shopping centres are the second most likely place for car park damage, with 18 per cent of car park collisions occurring there.
“Car parks are notorious for accidents as space is tight and drivers can feel rushed or frustrated,” says AA Insurance deputy general manager Martin Fox.
“If drivers make a conscious effort to not let holiday pressures get on top of them, Christmas shopping will be easier for everyone.”
The survey also analysed the honesty of people who caused damage to parked cars based on whether they made an effort to contact the owner of the parked car they hit.
There were 4336 drivers aged 18-65 surveyed on this issue.
Twenty per cent of respondents said if they damaged a vehicle in a car park and no-one saw them, they would consider not leaving their details (2009: 15 per cent).
Of those whose car was damaged in a car park last year, the survey shows 91 per cent of them returned to find no contact details from the person responsible.
“This year we have received an average of 377 claims per month from customers whose cars were damaged while parked, and in most cases the person who caused the damage did not leave their details,” says Martin.
“There is a legal responsibility to own up if you damage someone else’s vehicle. Even a small ding can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.
“If we know who is responsible, we can contact them or their insurer to manage the claim,” says Martin.
“If we don’t, we can’t. This means you’re more likely to have to pay your excess and it might also affect your no claims record.”
The average claim amount for parked car damage last year was $1481.