Wheel alignment shops are part of the specialized automotive repair industry. Wheel alignment involves ensuring that a vehicle’s suspension and steering components are sound and that the tire and wheel assemblies are running straight. Proper alignment is necessary for even tread wear and precise steering for all kinds of vehicles.
If you own a wheel alignment shop, it’s likely that you 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 probably happens 99% 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.
Why Do You Need Wheel Alignment Shop Insurance?
Wheel alignment shops make front-end or rear-end mechanical alignment adjustments to their customers’ cars, trucks, and vans. They also verify that the new alignment is performed in accordance with the vehicle’s manufacturer specifications, and that the vehicle runs straighter and safer on the road than when it was brought in.
Wheel alignment also creates a smoother ride by minimizing steering pull of the vehicle, and it can help your customers’ extend the life of their tires. It’s a very important service for most vehicle owners, and it must be done properly in order to satisfy your customers as well as keep them safe on the road.
Owning a wheel alignment 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 perform wheel alignments and related automotive services 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.
But while you're offering top-notch service to your customers, you face some scary business risks that can get in the way:
- 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
Wheel alignment shops need variety of business insurance policies that offer protection from these risks, and more.
Garage Liability Insurance for Wheel Alignment Shops
Garage liability insurance provides several forms of general liability protection specifically designed for the needs of garage and auto repair shop owners, including wheel alignment 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 if you cause damage to someone else's property.
Product Liability Coverage for Wheel Alignment Shops
Wheel alignment shops repair and service the parts of a car that are responsible for steering and control. These cars are then returned to customers who drive them on public roads. You may also service vehicles that are used in construction or industry, or that are used in numerous other ways in the presence of other vehicles, pedestrians, and other types of property. If a part that you install or a vehicle that you have serviced is faulty, it could lead to injury or death of a driver, passenger, or bystander, and your business could be held liable.
Product liability insurance: This 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 commercial general liability (CGL) policies or garage liability policies, but never assume that the coverage is sufficient. 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 all kinds of auto repair shops, including wheel alignment shops.
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 Wheel Alignment Shops Need?
In order to protect your wheel alignment 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. Your 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.
- Business interruption coverage: Also known as business income coverage, this is usually included in your commercial property insurance policies, and 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.
- Business owners policy (BOP): Owners of wheel alignment shops may want to consider this if they qualify for one. BOPS are designed for small businesses and include liability, property, and business income insurance in one affordable package policy.
- Commercial auto insurance: This is a policy you need if you own any business autos, trucks, or vans. 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.
- 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. It 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: 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.
How Much Does Wheel Alignment Shop Insurance Cost?
The cost of wheel alignment shop insurance varies depending on the size of your business, the number of employees you have, 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. 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 wheel alignment 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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