Mechanics are understandably focused on fixing cars and not what happens while the vehicles are waiting for service or to be picked up. Unfortunately, a lack of attention to the “waiting” aspect can leave your shop open to unexpected liability. The upside is that there is an easy to prevent that liability from costing you thousands of dollars: Get automotive repair facilities garagekeepers insurance. This insurance protects you from costs arising due to damages to customers’ waiting vehicles.
This insurance covers damages to vehicles that are waiting, or “garaged,” at your facility. Fire, theft, vandalism, and collision are covered events. It has also been defined as covering that which is excluded by a related type of insurance – “garage liability.”
Liability insurance is one of the most important types of policy a business can have. A customer could easily demand something like the replacement of an entire door panel for a little dent in the original. While that may only amount to a few hundred dollars for the average old car at a mechanic’s shop, you will also have customers who leave expensive sports cars or rare antiques under your care. You may even have some who come to you with the secret intention to sue you right from the start.
Many customers don’t wait until morning to bring their cars in to be fixed. Instead, they have them dropped off after hours, either hoping for a late night auto repair or that their car will be worked on first thing in the morning.
Picture this: An auto repair shop’s owner arrived one morning to not only find a surprise drop-off had happened during the night, but that the parked car next to it now had a severe dent. It was clear that the tow driver either didn’t bother to look, or couldn’t see, exactly where he was going. Instead of leaving his information behind like he should have, the tow driver then disappeared into the night – leaving the shop liable for repairing the costly dent or replacing the door. To make matters worse, the damaged car was a Mercedes.
People who get fired are often angry about it, and some of them decide that they’re going to get back at the company that did the firing. When this happened to one shop, the manager came in the next day to find that every car in the lot had been vandalized by an ex-employee. Suing the vandal was useless since he didn’t have nearly enough money to cover the bills. That left the shop paying for the vast majority of the needed vandalism-related repairs.
One shop found, to its dismay, that a customer’s car was no longer present when he came to pick it up. Someone, perhaps a person who knew the car owner planned to do his pickup in the morning, had made off with the repaired vehicle the previous night. Due to a lack of garagekeepers insurance, the shop had to pay for the replacement of the stolen car.
As you can see, garagekeepers insurance is one of the most important forms of shop liability insurance. Contact Zuma Insurance today for a garage keepers insurance quote and put your mind at ease.
*You can read the original blog post from July 2017 below.*
Every business faces its own unique challenges and risks. Whether your auto repair shop has been in business for decades or you’ve just opened the garage doors, ensuring the safety of your employees and clients should be at the top of your safety list. While there are a great many insurance options available for protecting your team and your bottom line, additional coverage options like Garagekeepers Liability insurance help protect against the truly unexpected.
This insurance coverage is designed to protect against damage to a customer’s vehicle while in your auto shop. It covers damage by fire, theft, vandalism or collision. This optional coverage is great for any business owners who offer towing services or operate service stations because it protects your customer’s vehicles whenever you keep it in a covered location for parking, storing or to provide services.
At Zuma Insurance, we believe it’s important to explore optional coverage options whenever you choose an insurance policy that is tailored to fit your business needs. If your business provides towing services or auto repair services, this type of coverage will protect against liability claims whenever you store customer vehicles on-site.
An auto repair shop was called to tow away a broken-down car very late at night when their garage was already closed. The customer was aware and knew that repairs wouldn’t begin until the morning, so the driver stored the car in the shop overnight. Unfortunately, someone broke into the shop overnight and vandalized the customer’s car. The garage didn’t have the right level of coverage and had to pay for the damages out-of-pocket.
When picking up her new Mercedes from her local auto repair shop after a few minor repairs, a customer noticed that there was a ding on her driver’s side that wasn’t there before. Not knowing what happened, her mechanic suggested she notify her insurance company to file a claim. Upset, the customer successfully filed a claim. And unfortunately for the repair shop, they were forced to pay for the expensive cosmetic repairs to her new car.
Even with warning signs, when customers park their broken down vehicles outside to wait for repairs, shop owners are responsible for damages. Like in the case where a customer left his expensive laptop and work tools in his car over the weekend. While it was waiting for repairs someone broke in and stole everything inside. He filed a claim against the repair shop and won because they didn’t invest in the right level of protection.
Because garagekeepers liability is considered an additional or optional coverage option, many business owners skip this coverage altogether, only to find that they could have used it after an accident. Keep these factors in mind when building your insurance policy at Zuma Insurance:
Don’t get caught without the right level of protection when your business needs it the most. Instead, invest in a comprehensive insurance policy that includes optional coverage like garagekeepers liability, with Zuma Insurance. Visit us online to get a free quote and invest in a new policy today.