Park and Fly Liability
Park and fly services are increasingly being offered by hotel and motel operators across Canada. However, a recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision found that hotels/motels may be held liable for damage to vehicles utilizing this service. It is important for hotel and motel operators to understand their liability exposure, as well as risk management practices to reduce the chances of incidents such as theft or damage.
Care, Custody or Control
At the center of the SCC’s decision was whether the hotel had care, custody or control over guests’ vehicles while they were parked on their lots. Under most circumstances, vehicles parked on property parking lots do not fall under owner’s care, custody or control.
However, if a guest leaves their vehicle’s keys with hotel, the guest’s vehicle may now be under the hotel’s care, custody or control and therefore they may be liable for any damages that occur as they are not covered under standard commercial general liability policies. In the SCC case, guests were asked to leave their keys with the hotel in case snow removal was required. By accepting control of the guest’s keys it was determined that the hotel had a responsibility to “look after the guests’ interests with prudence and diligence”. Should your hotel offer a Park and Fly service it is important to speak with your Insurance Advisor about adding Garage Automobile Liability coverage to your insurance policy.
Park & Fly Risk Management Strategies
Adequately lighting your parking area helps to deter theft and improves visibility for drivers, lowering the chance for incidents.
Fencing reduces the potential for trespassing, while also allowing for control over who can access the parking facilities.
Locked Key Cabinet
Guest’s keys should always be locked in a secure lock box or cabinet and tracked through a detailed log book. This reduces the potential of theft but also ensures that only authorized individuals have access to keys.
Appropriate signage can help direct pedestrians to important safety items—exits, emergency phones— but also serve as a reminder to ensure that there is nothing of value left in the vehicle.
Installation of security cameras allows for continuous monitoring and creates an instant record of incidents such as theft, assault or auto accidents.
Security Patrols / Logs
Having random patrols of parking areas can deter potential criminals and allow for detailed logs of parking area conditions to be kept.
Employing these risk management strategies can help reduce the risk of theft and damage to vehicles under your care, custody or control. For information on Garage Automobile Liability Coverage or to learn more about risk management strategies for your business please contact one of our Risk Management Advisors.
This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions, as the authors or contributors, do not accept liability or responsibility for any loss arising out of reliance on this information.
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