22 May 2012

Losses and Lessons: Stay away from valets

VEHICLE COVERED: 1965 Porsche 356 SC

WHAT WENT WRONG: It’s hard to imagine a classic car owner handing his keys to a perfect stranger on the street, but many of us do it without hesitation at restaurants and downtown hotels simply because the stranger is being paid to park our car. But what if the valet is careless with your precious automobile or someone else’s? The owner of a 1965 Porsche 356 SC found out the hard way. A valet got caught up in the excitement of parking a late-model Maserati that turned out to be too hot for him to handle. He lost control of the car and struck a Jeep that was being parked by another valet, and the Jeep crashed into the Porsche.

DAMAGE/LOSS: Both valets were injured – fortunately neither was seriously hurt – and all three vehicles were damaged. Structural damage to the Porsche was so severe that the insurance appraiser declared it a total loss. Since the valet was at fault, the owner first tried to come to terms with the valet service. But the company offered only $55,940. Since the Porsche had a guaranteed value through Hagerty that was considerably higher, he turned to us for payment.

LESSON: Unless you have reason to trust the valet who is parking your car, never put your automobile in a garage or parking situation where valets are involved. They are usually young males who get a testosterone rush whenever they’re near a powerful car. And even if you park your car yourself, valets can still pose a threat in another vehicle, as in this case.

3 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Al Shott Seattle May 31, 2012 at 18:49
    I just look at the valet smile and say, "the only two people that drive this car are my wife and me. You do not look like her so the answer is no." Next question is "where would you like me to park it?" Works everytime and we end up with it parked right by the front door for everyone to see.
  • 2
    George P Huber Shoreview, Minnesota June 8, 2012 at 17:16
    I never let anyone park any vehicle that I am driving. That includes my own vehicles or rental vehicles. If I am too old to walk from my vehicle, I am too old to drive.
  • 3
    Joshua Baker Arizona April 24, 2013 at 16:29
    Al and George both make good points, but the vehicle in the claim was stationary in a parking space. Short of being confined to a personal garage, this is the risk we take.

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