Truck washes are part of the car wash industry in which businesses are engaged in cleaning, washing, and/or waxing automotive vehicles, such as passenger cars, trucks, vans, and trailers. Truck washes specialize in cleaning semi trucks, trailers, busses, RVs, and other large vehicles.
Truck washes are very unique businesses with varying business insurance needs. Whether you operate a manual or an automatic truck wash, you face risks such as fire, vandalism, slips and falls, damage to your customers’ trucks, and more.
Why Do You Need Truck Wash Insurance?
Truck washes can be either manual or automatic. If you operate a manual truck wash, you and your employees may perform the truck cleaning with equipment, soapy water, brushes, and your own manpower. Some manual truck washes are self-service operations. This means that the drivers clean their trucks themselves, but you provide the proper equipment and cleaning materials, as well as the space to perform the cleaning.
Automated truck washes are also popular. In an automated truck wash, the truck is cleaned entirely with automated equipment in a speedy and efficient manner.
Regardless of the type of car wash you operate, accidents and errors that can lead to financial loss are everywhere. Customer slips and falls in the wet, soapy environment should be high on your list of concerns. In addition, your business insurance should at least address the following:
- Fire, theft, or vandalism
- Employee injuries
- Weather events and business disruption
- Employee theft and crime
- Employee lawsuits for wrongful termination or harassment
- Customer vehicle damage
- Equipment and machinery breakdown
What Type of Truck Wash Do You Operate?
Most truck washes are either self-service or full-service. Automated self-service truck washes are performed entirely by machines, with no interaction between customers’ trucks and employees. A self-service truck wash cannot operate without fully functional machinery and equipment. And that equipment can cause damage to your customers’ trucks, no matter how many precautions you take.
If you operate a full-service manual truck wash or perform just some services by hand, your employees likely briefly operate or enter your customers’ trucks, leaving you exposed to a variety of additional property or liability claims.
Your insurance needs vary depending on the type of truck wash you operate and the services you provide.
Automated self-service truck wash insurance begins with fairly standard coverage.
- Commercial property coverage: This protects your building(s) and business personal property.
- Commercial general liability (CGL) coverage: This provides protection for claims or lawsuits related to bodily injury or property damage caused by you or your employees.
- Business interruption coverage: This provides coverage for lost income and pays for continued expenses if you experience a weather-related or some other type of business interruption.
Automated truck washes must also consider equipment breakdown coverage, which we highlight in greater detail below.
If you own a manual truck wash where employees actually get behind the wheel of your customers’ vehicles, you will need additional protection. In addition to the property, liability, and business interruption protection described above, you also need garagekeepers liability insurance for when you take customers’ vehicles into your possession.
What Is Garagekeepers Liability Insurance?
Garagekeepers liability insurance: This is a specialty business insurance policy designed for garages that take possession of customer vehicles in order to perform some kind of service. Truck washes, car washes, service stations, auto body shops, detail shops, oil change and lube shops, vehicle inspection sites, and just about any other type of establishment that provides parts or service for vehicles and takes temporary possession of those vehicles.
Garagekeepers liability insurance protects you if a customer’s truck is damaged due to your negligence while it is in your care, custody, or control. This protection is not included in a standard commercial liability policy.
Garagekeepers liability insurance does not cover the contents of a customer’s truck, and also does not cover damage that occurs as a result of faulty workmanship, parts, or insufficient warrantees.
What Is Equipment Breakdown Coverage?
Equipment breakdown insurance: This is often referred to as boiler and machinery coverage, and it supplements your property insurance. It covers certain costs associated with accidental breakdown of machinery or equipment and the resulting property damage or loss.
Automated truck washes are 100% reliant on equipment and machinery to provide service to their customers. If your truck wash machinery breaks down or is damaged and you cannot operate, you will face a devastating loss of revenue.
Equipment breakdown coverage typically covers breakdowns due to power surges, motor burnout, boiler malfunction, and even operator error. While the name evokes images of old-outdated machines, equipment breakdown insurance includes coverage for the latest technologies. You can obtain coverage for mechanical and electrical equipment, computers and computer systems, boilers, and other types of pressure equipment.
Boiler and machinery insurance is important for truck washes because it covers repair and replacement costs as well as business interruption costs. Even if you lease your building and equipment, this policy provides coverage for business interruption.
Other Truck Wash Insurance Policies
If you own a truck wash or similar operation, you will need to consider the following types of truck wash insurance in addition to those discussed above.
- Employee theft and crime insurance: This covers costs associated with employee theft and crime.
- Workers’ compensation insurance: This protects employees who are injured on the job.
- Employment practices liability coverage: This provides coverage if an employee sues you for discrimination or some other type of unlawful or damaging employment practices.
How Much Does Truck Wash Insurance Cost?
Truck wash insurance is a necessary investment in protecting your business and your livelihood. Purchasing insufficient or minimal coverage may seem like it will save you money, but if you have a claim that exceeds your coverage, the devastating costs could force you to close your doors.
When shopping for truck wash insurance, make sure that you are choosing proper coverage limits, and most importantly, take the time to determine the true value of your buildings and property. Purchasing appropriate coverage limits will greatly impact your business insurance costs.
It is equally important to work with an independent insurance agent who has experience working with truck washes. You want coverage that is tailored to the specific risks you face, not cookie-cutter coverage that could leave you with significant gaps.
You have to work hard as a business owner to keep your insurance costs low. If you have a lot of claims, your insurance costs will go up and could even become unaffordable. The safety of your customers and employees should be your number one priority. Keep your machinery in good working condition, and hire employees who will treat your customers’ property with care.
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 truck wash 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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