Suspension shops are part of the specialized mechanical or electrical repair services for automotive vehicles. Suspension shops specifically repair and maintain parts of a vehicle’s steering suspension system, including shocks, struts, ball joints, and more.
You likely employ highly qualified technicians to carry out your work, and your customers expect to be satisfied and get their vehicle returned in better shape than it was when they dropped it off. This is likely to happen 99 percent of the time, but no matter how hard you work to be perfect, accidents happen, and many of them are simply out of your control.
Any kind of auto shop should purchase business insurance in order to protect their assets when things go wrong, and suspension shops are no different. Business insurance typically covers basic property and liability risks, and you’ll need some additional coverage that is customized to your unique needs.
A local independent insurance agent can help you find insurance that covers the risks of your suspension shop.
Why Do You Need Suspension Shop Insurance?
A vehicle's frame is attached to its wheels by an arrangement of shock absorbers, springs, and linkages that are meant to keep the ride smooth even when the road isn't. If a car’s suspension system weakens or fails, the other parts are forced to work harder and even take on physical stresses that they were not designed for. That’s why suspension shops are so integral to keeping their customers’ vehicles running safely and comfortably out on the road.
Owning a suspension shop requires a high degree of knowledge and service, and you may even have large volumes of expensive inventory and equipment on hand in order to repair and maintain suspensions in a wide variety of car makes and models. What’s more, you’re entrusted to keep your customers’ cars safe while they’re in your care.
In addition, suspension shops face the following types of business risk:
- Slips and falls on your premises
- Damage to your building or inventory due to fire, bad weather, vandalism, or theft
- Worker illness or injury
- Faulty parts
- Employee theft or crime
- Business interruption
You need a variety of business insurance policies to protect your business from these risks. Most importantly, you need garage liability insurance and garagekeepers liability insurance. Both are designed to help you protect your customers’ property and your business in wake of accidents, injuries, or property damage.
What Is Garage Liability Insurance?
Garage liability insurance is a type of general liability insurance that provides several forms of liability protection specifically designed for the needs of garage and auto repair shop owners, including suspension shops.
A basic garage liability insurance policy is designed to cover bodily injury or property damage caused by an accident during garage business operations. It covers:
- Third-party injuries
- Property damage caused by equipment owned by the business
- Products manufactured or sold by the shop that cause damage to a customer’s vehicle
If a customer slips and falls at your shop, this coverage will help pay for any related medical bills and your legal fees if he or she decides to sue you. It will also help pay for the damage if a vehicle owned by your business causes a collision with another automobile or structure, damaging a third party's property.
The Importance of Product Liability Coverage for Suspension Shops
Suspension shops place new parts in cars that are operated by the general public and driven on public roads. Other vehicles that you service may be used in construction, in industry, and in numerous other ways in the presence of other vehicles, pedestrians, and other types of property. If a product that you install is faulty and leads to injury or death of a driver, passenger, or bystander, your business could be held liable.
Steering and suspension parts can be more dangerous if they fail than other run-of-the-mill auto parts. Imagine installing a part that quickly fails and makes a vehicle impossible to steer. The driver could be killed or kill or injure someone else while driving an uncontrollable vehicle.
Product liability insurance covers a business’s financial responsibility for losses or injuries to a user, buyer, or bystander caused by a defect or malfunction of the product. In some instances, product liability insurance may also cover the manufacturer or seller of the product for defective design and “failure to warn.”
Claims against companies for product-related damages are usually related to manufacturing or production flaws, design defects, or defective warnings or instructions. Claimants may be awarded payouts for medical costs, compensatory damages, economic damages, attorney fees and court costs, and even punitive damages. Consider the impact these costs would have on your business if you did not have insurance coverage. “Devastating” is the only appropriate description.
It is not just manufacturers who need product liability insurance. Any company that participated in bringing the faulty product to market can be included in a lawsuit and held liable for damage to the user. Because you sell a potentially dangerous product to the public, you need some type of product liability coverage.
Product liability coverage is usually included in standard garage liability policies, but never assume that the coverage is sufficient. Keep in mind that some products come with more potential exposures to liability claims than others, and therefore the amount of product liability insurance needed by your business will depend upon the products you sell, the volume of sales, and where your organization fits in the chain of commerce (manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, etc.).
Be sure to discuss your product liability exposures with an independent insurance agent to make sure that you have adequate protection.
What Is Garagekeepers Liability Insurance?
Garagekeepers liability insurance: This is a specialty business insurance coverage designed for auto repair shops as well as service stations, auto body shops, detail shops, vehicle electrical and repair shops, auto glass installers, oil change and lube shops, emissions testing sites, and just about any other type of establishment that provides parts or service for vehicles and temporarily stores those vehicles onsite.
Garagekeepers liability insurance protects you if a customer’s vehicle is damaged due to your negligence while it is in your care, custody, or control. This protection is not included in the standard garage liability policy. There are a number of ways in which a customer’s vehicle can be damaged while in your possession, such as fire, theft, weather events, vandalism, employee test drives, and lift accidents — to name a few.
Garagekeepers liability insurance does not cover the contents of a customer’s vehicle, and also does not cover damage that occurs as a result of faulty workmanship, parts, or insufficient warrantees.
What Other Insurance Policies Do Suspension Shops Need?
In order to protect your suspension shop from all of the risks you face, you need a variety of other business insurance policies that protect your property and can help you pay for your legal fees if you’re sued for some kind of negligence.
- Commercial property insurance: This is essential for proprietors who own their buildings or whose business handles a large volume of inventory. Business property insurance protects you if a fire, vandalism, smoke, theft, or other type of event damages your property. It provides coverage for lost inventory, office equipment, computers, and more.
- Commercial property insurance policies usually include business interruption coverage, or business income coverage, which protects your earnings if your business is unable to operate because of damage caused by some type of disruption (fire, hail, wind, equipment breakdown). This coverage is usually quite affordable and will be invaluable if you are forced to close your doors for a period of time in order to make repairs. It pays for rent, employee salaries, lost income, relocation fees, and more.
You can expand your business income policy to include coverage for breakdowns in utility services (water, electrical) that force you to temporarily close your doors.
- Owners of suspension shops may want to consider a business owners policy (BOP) if they qualify for one. BOPS are designed for small businesses and include liability, property, and business income insurance in one affordable package policy.
- Do you own any business autos, trucks, or vans? If so, you need commercial auto insurance. Business auto insurance covers your company’s vehicles and drivers (cars, SUVs, vans and trucks) that are damaged or injured in a collision or some other type of event.
What Is Employee Theft and Crime Coverage?
Employee theft and crime coverage: This can protect your businesses from the costs of theft, dishonesty, and fraudulent acts committed by an individual employee or a group of employees. While it may be difficult for you to imagine, employees all too often steal property, money, and securities owned by their employers.
Employee dishonesty coverage can be purchased as a stand-alone policy or as an endorsement on other business insurance policies. A basic stand-alone employee theft and crime policy provides coverage for forgery, alteration, theft, unauthorized electronic funds transfers, credit card fraud, computer fraud, money order fraud, and counterfeit fraud. You can also add endorsements for additional coverage.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Is Essential for Suspension Shops
Suspension shops can be dangerous places, particularly for the employees who do the work. The potential for smashed hands and crushed limbs from machinery or falling vehicles is with you and your employees every day. And if one of your employees gets injured while on the job, he or she may not be able to work until fully recovered.
Workers’ compensation insurance: This protects your employees and your business from the costs associated with work-related injuries and illnesses. It provides coverage for medical care and income protection for an injured worker while he or she is unable to work. Workers’ compensation insurance also helps protect employers from lawsuits by injured employees.
Each state has workers’ compensation insurance laws. Most states require nearly every business that has employees to provide this coverage. Your state’s workers’ compensation statutes determine the amount of benefits injured workers are entitled to, which impairments or injuries are covered, how those impairments will be evaluated, and how medical care will be delivered.
Talk with your business insurance agent about workers’ compensation insurance. Your agent should be able to educate you about your state’s workers’ compensation requirements, and help you find adequate coverage.
Other Coverage to Consider for Your Suspension Shop
In addition to the insurance policies described above, suspension shops will want to consider some of the following types of business insurance. Whether or not you need them depends upon your specific business needs.
- Equipment breakdown/boiler and machinery coverage
- Fire legal liability coverage
- Employment practices liability coverage
- Cyber liability coverage
How Much Does Suspension Shop Insurance Cost?
The cost of suspension shop insurance varies depending on the size of your business, the number of employees you have, and how much business property (buildings, inventory, and equipment) you have, and the types of services that you provide in your garage.
Business insurance costs are also higher or lower depending on the location of your business, whether or not you own any commercial vehicles, and how risky your physical space and line of work is to customers and employees.
An independent agent who has experience working with businesses like yours can help you decide the types and amounts of coverage you need for your suspension shop. The choices you make will determine your cost of coverage.
Find and Compare Quotes
An independent agent can work with you one-on-one to determine the types and amounts of coverage you need. Your agent can get quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can evaluate the cost and coverage options and make the best choice.
Benefits of an Independent Agent
Our agents simplify the search process for finding the right suspension shop insurance. They’ll walk you through the handpicked policy options and explain the details.
Most importantly, they’ll be there for you when claim time comes. They know the ins and outs of the process and will make sure your claim is handled appropriately.
The Lowdown on Online Quotes
Online quotes can be tempting. They are fast and easy to get — but are they accurate? And are you getting quotes for the right coverage? For business owners, choosing speed over accuracy can cost you.
Online quotes can’t and don’t see the whole picture. They can omit important coverage that will leave you devastated if something unexpected happens. And they can leave out cost-saving opportunities that an agent can help you take advantage of.
Instead of getting an online quote, find an independent insurance agent now, and get one-on-one consultation and affordable options for the best coverage for your unique needs.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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