Many or all of the companies featured provide compensation to LendEDU. These commissions are how we maintain our free service for consumers. Compensation, along with hours of in-depth editorial research, determines where & how companies appear on our site.
Every business needs insurance for their company, and car wash businesses are no different. Depending on the type of car wash (self-service or full-service), they can have many different things to insure, including their buildings and washing machinery. They also need standard insurance like liability insurance.
Car washes also have to worry about damaging customers’ vehicles. Cars can be costly, so having proper coverage if a customers’ car gets damaged is essential.
This article will help you understand your car wash business’ risks and how proper insurance can help protect you from those risks.
On this page:
- What risks can be protected by car wash insurance?
- What kind of coverage do car washes need?
- Where to find a car wash insurance policy
- How much does car wash insurance cost?
- Is insurance necessary for your car wash business?
What risks can be protected by car wash insurance?
Businesses face many different types of liabilities that they can insure against. Any business can benefit from liability insurance to protect against a customer getting injured on their property. However, car washes face many unique risks, making their insurance needs unique.
Car washes often use heavy machinery to clean cars. This machinery can be dangerous and cause significant injury or even death, so car washes likely need higher liability coverage levels than other businesses. The machinery could also malfunction and damage a vehicle, leaving the car wash liable to cover the repairs.
The machinery can also be expensive to maintain and could break down. If a car wash has no way to wash cars because its equipment is broken, it will lose out on business. Business insurance that pays for the cost of repairing equipment can help protect against such losses.
Some of the many risks that car washes face include:
- Broken equipment preventing the car wash from operating
- Damage to customers’ vehicles
- Injury or death of a customer or an employee caused by car wash machinery
- Damage to the business’s buildings, such as an office or the building holding car wash equipment
- Liability for damage to the environment from solvents and other cleaners
What kind of coverage do car washes need?
Car washes face many risks that could cause a blow to their finances. Insurance is one way to mitigate these risks. Some types of coverage that car washes can take advantage of include:
- General liability – This coverage protects car washes against liability for many things, including damage to customers’ vehicles and injury to customers. This includes coverage for court, lawyer, and medical fees related to covered incidents.
- Workers’ compensation – This coverage pays for employees’ medical benefits if they get injured while working. It can also provide disability benefits for the employee, saving the employer from paying these benefits out of pocket if a worker files a claim.
- Garagekeepers liability – Car washes clean and take care of customers’ cars, which are often worth tens of thousands of dollars. This coverage protects car washes against theft, vandalism, collisions, and other damage that can happen to cars left by customers.
- Commercial property – This insurance policy protects car washes’ physical property, including buildings and other property on the premises. If something damages an office building or garage, this type of property insurance can pay for the cost of repairing it.
- Equipment breakdown – Car washes use expensive machinery to clean vehicles. Maintaining the equipment and repairing it when it breaks down can be costly and challenging, and a breakdown can lead to loss of revenue as the car wash can’t operate without it. This coverage can pay to repair broken equipment.
- Business interruption – If a car wash has to close temporarily to repair its equipment, or its regular operation is otherwise interrupted, this insurance can replace its lost income.
- Employment practices liability – This insurance coverage protects car washes against claims of unfair employment practices from employees, including discrimination, wrongful termination, and harassment.
Where to find a car wash insurance policy
Due to the many unique risks that car washes face, specialized insurance is needed to protect them from those risks. Coverwallet is one company that offers coverage to car washes that need insurance and can do so at a low price. Car wash owners can apply for a car wash insurance quote easily from their phone or computer.
Receive quotes from multiple insurance carriers, available 24/7
- Utilize CoverWallet’s award-winning intelligent assessment system to buy a tailored policy
- Update payments, manage claims, request certificates of insurance, and more through one online wallet
Coverwallet has four levels of coverage to choose from:
- The basic plan starts at $39 per month and includes the bare minimum coverage a car wash may need. This includes bodily injury, property damage, and other liability claims. This type of coverage doesn’t cover expensive machinery and equipment.
- The standard plan starts at $49 per month and includes all basic plan coverage and additional protections. Some of the coverage offered includes damage to a third party’s property, lost business income, equipment breakdown, and garagekeepers liability.
- The pro plan starts at $89 per month and adds employment-related coverage to the standard plan. This includes insurance for workers’ compensation coverage and insurance for costs related to work-related accidents, including medical care and rehab.
- Coverwallet also offers customizable plans where car wash owners can choose the exact protections they want, letting them customize their monthly insurance costs.
The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
How much does car wash insurance cost?
Insurance for a car wash can vary in cost. The type of coverage and the amount of coverage purchased will determine how much the business has to pay. In general, larger amounts of coverage tend to be more expensive.
Plans from CoverWallet range in price from $39 to $89 per month or more. The average car wash in the United States can expect to spend between $450 and $1,000 per year for general liability insurance, with additional costs for other insurance types.
Even though insurance can be costly, it’s well worth the expense.
Consider this example:
Someone driving a 2020 BMW 2 Series, which has a Kelly Blue Book Value of about $35,000, visits a car wash. While their car is getting cleaned, a machine malfunction causes significant damage to the vehicle.
The car owner sues the car wash for the damages, and the car wash is found liable. In the worst case, the car wash might have to pay $35,000 to replace the car. If the car wash owner had insurance, it could pay for the car’s replacement instead, saving the car wash tends of thousands of dollars.
Is insurance necessary for your car wash business?
In many jurisdictions, car washes and other businesses don’t have a legal requirement to purchase insurance. If you’re setting up a business, you should always check local laws to see if you have to purchase specific coverage types to start operating.
Even if a car wash isn’t legally required to purchase insurance, most businesses should still buy insurance. Insurance protects companies against financial catastrophes.
Something that a business would struggle to recover from, such as significant damage to facilities or a lawsuit, can happen without warning. Compared to the cost of these events, insurance is an inexpensive ongoing cost that can protect a car wash from going out of business.
Author: TJ Porter