Shop owners who operate towing companies, garages, and auto repair shops are not only trusted to protect and possibly fix their customers’ vehicles, but also to keep the property safe while it’s in their control, including transport. But as we all know, accidents can happen anywhere. And for that, garage liability insurance, together with garagekeepers insurance, are needed to help protect your customers’ property — and especially your business.
Fortunately, our independent insurance agents are here to eliminate the hassle of searching on your own by walking you through a hand-picked selection of top insurance policies to cover both your business and your employees. But first, let’s talk more about why you need the protection in the first place and what kind of coverages you should consider.
The Difference Between Garagekeepers and Garage Liability Insurance
A basic garage liability insurance policy is designed to cover bodily injury or property damage caused by an accident during garage business operations. Garage liability coverage is typically purchased by automobile dealerships and repair shops, among other businesses. This insurance provides coverage for:
- Third-party injuries
- Property damage caused by equipment owned by the business
- Liability claims like discrimination and employee dishonesty
- Products manufactured or sold by the shop that cause damage to a customer’s vehicle
If a customer slips and falls on an oil spill at your shop, this coverage will help pay for any legal defense if they decide to sue and help pay for any medical bills the customer had due to the injury. It will also help pay for damages if a vehicle owned by the business causes a collision with another automobile or structure, damaging a third party's property.
A garagekeepers insurance policy protects you if a customer’s vehicle is
damaged while it is at your business. This coverage is not included in a standard garage liability policy. It protects customers' vehicles from damages while in your possession or control as a result of:
- Extreme weather
- Vandalism at your place of business.
- Other accidental damage to the vehicle (like a collision)
It does not cover damage that occurs from faulty workmanship, parts, or insufficient warranties. Basic garagekeepers liability insurance excludes coverage for the contents of your customers' vehicles, like things in their glove box or trunk and any non-factory stereo equipment. You can, however, add an endorsement to your garagekeepers policy to extend coverage to personal property kept inside customers' vehicles. This isn’t exactly necessary, but it does encourage goodwill and will boost your reputation if a client's vehicle and/or its contents become damaged or destroyed.
Garagekeepers liability insurance is usually sold with a garage liability policy, but it’s still a separate contract. The contents of a customer’s vehicle are not covered under a garagekeepers policy — which only covers vehicles, and not personal property inside the vehicles. Garage owners can add endorsements for coverage of customers’ personal property that’s in their care.
Which Businesses Need Garagekeepers or Garage Liability Insurance?
The difference between garage liability coverage and garagekeepers liability insurance is a subtle one, but it’s important. Basically, both are needed to make sure you have the proper protection and filled in any risk exposure gaps. Garage liability insurance and garagekeepers insurance aren’t just recommended for auto repair shops, but also for:
- Service stations
- Tow truck operators
- Auto body shops
- Detailing operations
- Auto glass installers
- Oil change and lube shops
- Vehicle painting and pinstriping operations
- Sound repair and installation shops
- Emissions testing sites
- Vehicle interior restoration shops
- Any business that uses valet services
No matter which type of business you own, you know the importance of having insurance — even though you hope to never use it. You can avoid having to file an insurance claim by:
- Installing video surveillance equipment to deter theft and vandalism
- Ensuring proper lighting is available around your business at night
- Making sure autos are stored indoors overnight with locked fencing surrounding your property
- Developing fire prevention policies, making sure that extinguishers and smoke detectors are up-to-date and functioning, and installing a sprinkler system
- Hiring qualified employees with good driving records
- Making sure each of your employees is covered by the insurance policy or policies
Finding the Right Insurance Policies for Your Business
The cost of a garage liability and garagekeepers insurance package will depend on several factors, including:
- The annual revenue from your garage operations
- The limits you choose
- The deductible you opt for
- The coverage options you elect
It’s always a good idea to compare garage liability and garagekeepers liability insurance policies from a few different carriers to see what is available and at what price. A policy with a higher limit and a lower deductible will have higher premiums than one with a lower limit and a higher deductible — though it may have the protection you need. Also, adding an extension, like coverage for a customer's personal property kept inside a vehicle, will increase the premiums you pay.
Finding and Comparing Garagekeepers Insurance Quotes
Our agents will review your needs and help you evaluate which garagekeepers insurance policy makes the most sense. They'll also compare policies and quotes from multiple insurance companies to make sure you have the best protection out there. They'll hook you up — in a comprehensive and affordable way.
What's So Great About an Independent Insurance Agent?
Independent insurance agents have experience in dealing with all kinds of businesses and insurance policies. They excel at matching the most appropriate policy to the business in need. Shopping around for insurance policies can be tricky, confusing, and time-consuming, and an independent insurance agent's role is to simplify the process.
They’re also there to help make sure you get the absolute best deal, and the one that meets your unique needs. They shop and compare insurance quotes for you, and they'll break down all the jargon so that you understand exactly what you're getting.