Valet Parking – Protecting Your Luxury Service

Did you hear about the valet parking attendant that recently gave a $300K Ferrari’s keys to the wrong person? That’s more than a big oops – that’s a claim waiting to happen. USA Today reported on this unbelievable story out of Florida that highlights the importance of protecting your organization against the multiple risks associated with valet service.

Hotels, restaurants, and other valet service providers are not only legally obligated to return cars to their rightful owners, but the managing company will be on the hook if any damage occurs—both to the car or to a person that sustains injuries.

The average age of a valet parking attendant is between 19–25. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay is $10/hour. Couple that with the rising price of cars (and medical bills), and many companies are quick to assess their service and its risks.

In fact, valet parking claims accounted for 7% of all hospitality claims at Distinguished since the mid-90s, costing more than $2.8 million. We offer a handy checklist that you can download and print out to review your valet service. Here are a few highlights to get you started:

  1. Do you contract an outside firm with its own employees or do you use your own? Either way, you may still be liable for a claim. Evaluating staff who have their hands on the keys and cars is of utmost importance—see our checklist for tips on screening, training, and documenting procedures.
  2. What are your standard procedures with guests’ personal property left in the car? What is the protocol for guests that make a claim after they pick up their car?
  3. Handling the car—How would your valets drive the car if there was a baby on board? Now what if no one was watching and there were no passengers? Ensuring safe driving and proper handling is key to offering top-notch service. Do you have video monitoring to assess the drivers or other ways of confirming responsible driving?

Accidents happen, but knowing how to avoid the most common mistakes in valet parking is a great step in preventing a costly headache for both the car owner and your company.