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What Are the Risks Involved in Washing Cars? 

Last Review Jan 2024 by Insurancequotesni Editorial Team

Insuring a car wash is a simple process, even if it is not exactly a simple risk to insure. They’re a popular motor trade that will more often than not be set up on a fairly large plot and employ some heavy pieces of expensive equipment. The number one cause of accidents in any place of work is slips and trips. With the amount of slippery substances and long hose pipes being used by a car wash, the risk is even higher, which applies to small hand car wash businesses as much as large car washes. This is on top of the other risks always present at a car wash, such as theft, fire, flood, accidental damage, and injury. Taking out a car wash insurance policy is the best course of action to prevent financial rainy-day expenditures following these and other unfortunate incidents. Not only that, but you’re legally required to have insurance to cover your employees if something should happen to them, via the employers' liability section of a car wash policy. 

Do I need Car Wash Insurance?

Most car wash policies will be composed of a few core sections and a number of optional sections that provide additional protection and peace of mind. The most important aspect of any car insurance policy is the employer's liability, as these valued workers must be protected if anything should happen to them. If they’re injured or become sick through the work that they do, they must be insured by law, as some incidents can be more expensive than most companies can afford on their own. 

How Do I Insure the Vehicles at my Car Wash? 

Following this, public liability insurance is usually sought after, as accidents are not uncommon in a car wash and especially to the public that are not familiar with the car wash environment. The value of the vehicles that the public hand over can be very great, and this section also protects their property if it should take a scratch or bump from a worker or the car wash’s moving parts while it is on the property of the car wash. This aspect of the policy will often cover over £1,000,000. 

What is included in a Valeting Policy?

A typical policy will include the following, with an option of additional extras if required

  • Road risk Cover : If your business activities will including driving a customer car, then road risk cover is legally required. This is required even if you only drive a customer's car around your forecourt.
  • Public Liability Insurance: This, whilst not a legal requirement, should be part of any car wash policy. It will protect you against claims of injury or property damage from your customer base. You can choose the level of cover during the quote process, but speak with your insurance provider if unsure of how much cover is required for your business circumstances.
  • Service indemnity : often referred to as ‘defective workmanship insurance’. This element of the policy covers you if something you do (or don’t do) results in damage to the customer's vehicle or injury to the customer.
  • Employer's Liability : If you have employees, this is a legal requirement

How Much Does Car Valeting Insurance Cost?

The cost of car valeting insurance will depend on a number of factors. The key factors will be the size of your business and what elements that you decide to include in addition to the basic motor trade element, which will be at the core of any valet or car was policy. Find out how much you’ll pay by comparing prices from a panel of trusted insurers. You can pick and choose additional elements if required, so you only pay for what you need.

What are the Risks to my Property posed by a Car Wash?  

Property is almost always included, as the building and surrounding areas can be harshly affected by the chemicals that are used to treat the cars, such as antifreeze, detergents, grease, oil, fuel, and suspended matters, which can all play a part in causing permanent damage to the property and the surrounding environment. The drainage of these chemicals is very important, and many car washes fail to put into place the correct drainage and containment control measures. Apart from this, there are the usual risks to consider, such as fire theft, flood and other natural disasters that can cause huge loss events for your business. It’s always important to read the wording of your insurance policy, as chemical erosion may not be covered, which is why it’s important to deal with surface run-off effectively in the first instance. 

How Do I Insure my Car Wash Equipment? 

In most car washes you will find a lot of expensive kit. That can be from pressure washers to tunnel washes, and these pieces of equipment often involve complex mechanisms that can cause serious injuries if they malfunction. Not only that, but the repair of these machines can be extremely expensive in and of themselves. Without proper maintenance of these machines, things do go wrong, and the inevitable incidents can be catastrophic. With a commercial combined package policy you can cover all of your equipment, however expensive and specialised, ensuring that a loose screw or rusty mechanism doesn’t wash your business down the drain.  

What are the Main Risks Operating a Car Wash? 

The real danger besides equipment failure is to the people from just being on the site. Despite the clean and friendly exterior, a car wash can be a dangerous place, especially for customers that don’t know what to look out for. Public liability and employer's liability are a really important part of any car wash policy, as unsuspecting members of the public, as well as full time employees can easily injure themselves or cause damage to the property from simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, not noticing a hose pipe running along the floor, or failing to spot equipment left next to their car. 

What Additional Cover should I consider for my Car Wash Business?  

There are several other additional covers that are offered with any basic car wash policy. Firstly there is motor trade cover, which may be used by those car washes that also sell used automobiles, or offer a car service or MOT with their washes, to protect that aspect of their business as well as the car washing function under one policy. Legal cover is another non-essential cover included to protect the business from excessive legal costs. Business interruption is offered to protect the business should they have to shut for a period of time due to some extenuating circumstance. As well as this, there is stock cover, which will protect the business from damage to their cleaning supplies or basic equipment. 

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