Is your motor trade business fully insured for all eventualities? Failure to obtain a sufficient level of the correct cover can spell disaster for independent garage operators, both financially and in terms of human cost – and the potential threat of prosecution. Kim Henson explains…
For independent garage operators, bodyshop repairers and mechanics, working life is always busy, and amidst the daily round of looking after customers and their vehicles, it is easy to ignore ‘peripheral’ aspects such as insurance – which can slip down the priority list. Yet, as many people have discovered, you ignore insurance cover at your peril…
Without wishing to scare-monger, serious incidents can and do occur, with far-reaching and often life-changing detrimental consequences if inadequate or no insurance cover is in place to deal with the situation.
Of course insurance is something that everyone hopes will never have to be called upon, but if the necessity does arise, having sufficient proper cover for your garage operation can truly make the difference regarding whether it is able to remain in business… or not.
Fortunately it is straightforward and cost-effective to guard against all eventualities, so that risks can be managed effectively and suitable protection put in place. Specialists in this sector can guide you through what is required, advise how to set up the most appropriate cover, and tell you the costs involved.
No-one can foretell the future and all sorts of unexpected hazards and incidents can occur, many of which you might never have considered. The following topics all illustrate the need for appropriate insurance cover:
1. Health and Safety
Prevent tragedy and avoid possible prosecution; liability cover protects you and your business against worst case and avoidable instances.
Recently a garage in Lancashire was fined £120,000 after an apprentice accidentally ran over a colleague, very seriously injuring him… Employers Liability cover is a legal requirement and in such circumstances proves crucial.
Crash statistics relating to drivers distracted at the wheel are frightening, and research by Direct Line recently revealed that more than 47,000 accidents each year are caused by drivers failing to look properly. Appropriate driver training can help preserve your No Claim Bonus (losing it could add 60 per cent to insurance premiums) and reduce claims… It’s also worth reminding drivers on your motor trade policy how important it is to pay full attention at the wheel.
3. Electric Cars and Vans
The numbers of fully electric and hybrid electric vehicles are growing fast. As the future unfolds, more of these cars and vans will be on the roads and requiring correct maintenance. With the necessarily high voltages (typically 360 to 400 volts DC) involved, there are many risks for the unwary, including fire, the potential risk of injury/death to technicians working on these vehicles, and the need for expensive tools.
The Institute of the Motor Industry (I.M.I.) feels that new regulations are required to ensure that technicians are properly trained to work on electric vehicles (currently around 45,000 on the road, with just 1,000 or so technicians trained to maintain and fix them).
Employee and public liability cover, also contents, tools, plant, stock, vehicles and buildings cover, is required to protect you and your business.
4. Business Interruption
Unforeseen occurrences can prevent a garage from operating for a long time, with the potential to ruin a business. These include disasters like fire damage, flooding or other weather-related incidents. For peace of mind it is imperative to consider taking out Business Interruption insurance cover to help your firm survive, should the worst happen. Just recently a garage owner from the west country was counting the cost of a flooded workshop that halted operations and cost many thousands of pounds…
5. Correct Calibration
For today’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (including, for example, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning), correct calibration of cameras/sensors is essential for the vehicle’s computer system to be provided with accurate information, or the safety features cannot operate as designed…
If a customer should be involved in an accident attributed to such a failure (or indeed other incidents concerning questions over quality of work), this could have grave consequences for your business. Adequate liability insurance to cover defective workmanship is essential protection.
The 2016 Crime Survey for England and Wales showed that car theft had risen by eight per cent – the first increase for 20 years, and with more than 80,000 vehicles being stolen in one year. Are prevention measures in your business good enough? Do you have a secure key box to prevent vehicles being stolen following a break-in at your premises?
DON’T RISK YOUR BUSINESS! For guidance on the above and all motor trade insurance matters, contact Plan Insurance Brokers on 0333 003 0061 or go to: www.planinsurance.co.uk