Skip to main content

What is a garage policy?

If you’re one of those people who love motor vehicles in all forms shapes and sizes and you happen to own an auto repair business or auto dealership congratulations! You are doing what you love and getting paid for it. That to most people is what living the dream is all about. But how do you ensure that this dream does not become a nightmare?

From a financial perspective the single most important thing you can do to keep that dream going is to protect yourself and your garage or dealership against unforeseen circumstances. And that’s where a garage policy comes in.

What are garage policies designed to cover?

A garage policy is designed to protect auto trailer and recreational vehicle dealers especially those which also offer a service department or body shop where repair is done to vehicles . What is considered a garage under such policies is quite broad; in addition to dealerships mentioned the policy can also apply to service stations specialty shops collision repair facilities parking garages and valet service . In short most facilities in which a customer’s vehicle is left in your care and control . Each of these facilities have certain risks in common – the possibility of doing damage to the vehicles that customers leave in your care.

Think about it for a moment – if one of your employees were to crash a customer’s RV in the process of test driving it after repairs who would be liable? Your dealership or garage of course; it was left in its care. Unfortunately your Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy wouldn’t cover that; it would cover things like bodily injury on your premises defective products etc but it does not cover damage to vehicles not belonging to you the insured party. Nor would your regular commercial auto coverage do that since that is meant for businesses that use vehicles – their own vehicles owned or rented – in the normal course of business. Since your customer’s vehicle is not owned or rented by you it would not be covered. Similarly customer’s vehicle insurance doesn’t insure garages while they operate or are in custody or control of the customer’s vehicle.

Which could have left you in a quandary except that the insurance industry has designed a specialist product that’s intended solely for garages in order to address their unique needs. That is the garage policy. The policy covers liability exposures for damage to a customer’s car truck truck-tractor motorcycle recreational vehicle or trailer and extends to any of your active partners or employees that you list on your application with the insurance company.

The Main Features of a Garage Policy

A garage policy is multi-pronged – it covers what can be termed normal garage considerations – liability for damage to customers’ vehicles while they are on your premises or while they are not on your premises but in your care and custody; for example when you take the vehicles for a test drive or for delivery to customers after work has been completed on them. The second aspect of the garage policy covers damage or loss caused by a garage’s work . For example if you worked on the clutch or brakes of an RV but something wasn’t re-installed properly and this led to an accident an engine failure or some other damage this could lead to liability on your part. A garage policy would protect you in such an instance. And if you own a dealership the garage policy can also cover your stock as well as your own vehicles .

With such coverage in place you can breathe a lot easier knowing that expensive damage will not set you back financially or affect your ability to continue with your business. You would of course still need insurance to cover the risks inherent in the day-to-day operations of your garage such as the possibility of bodily injury or other property damage. Rather than having multiple policies that you may find difficult to keep track of the best thing would be to speak to your broker who will do a thorough assessment and offer you a comprehensive solution that takes care of all your needs. Then you can relax and continue living the dream.