Car valeting is long established, straightforward and easy to understand trade. So you would think that the insurance solution would be equally straightforward, but this is far from being the reality.
Car valeting businesses can vary from one that is premises based providing intricate detailing services offering collection and delivery of vehicles, to a mobile one man band operation. The type of risk determines the scope and complexity of insurance cover required.
What insurance do I need for car valeting?
The larger operators are best suited to a motor trade combined insurance, which can provide cover for loss or damage to assets and earnings, Employers Liability, Public Liability and Road Risks amongst a vast range of covers. This type of policy can tailored to the exact requirements of the business. A full disclosure of the types of work, vehicles worked on and vehicle values must be made, otherwise the insurer may seek to avoid some or all the cover in the event of a claim.
At the mobile end of the market, the insurances most commonly purchased are public liability and motor insurance. Again these are common insurances and most would think the ‘off the shelf’ products would provide adequate cover, but there are pitfalls to be aware of with both of these.
Am I covered if I damage a customer’s vehicle while valeting?
A car valeter may expect their liability for damage to vehicles in their custody or control, or being worked upon to be covered by their ‘Car Valeter’ Public Liability, as, after all, it would be damage to third party property which one of the cornerstones of Public Liability insurance. However, despite issuing policies with a Business Description of ‘Car Valeting’ or similar, most Public Liability insurances do not cover these risks. Many policies contain a specific exclusion of ‘property being worked upon’ which is a key exclusion and greatly restricts the cover. Even if the policy does not contain a specific exclusion, there may be a similar exclusion contained in the basic policy wording or the insurer may rely on the standard exclusion of liability for loss or damage to property in the Insured’s care, custody or control. To be sure that cover is in place, it is best buy insurance from an insurer that positively includes cover. A small number of insurers endorse their policies to include cover for property being worked on, albeit with a lower limit of indemnity and higher excess, for little or no additional premium.
In addition to adding a property being worked upon exclusion, some insurers add additional exclusions or restrictions such as excluding work on certain types of vehicle and removing the contingent motor extension. It is important to read the insurance documentation provided to ensure there is a full understanding of what is and what is not covered.
What type of motor insurance does a car valeter need?
Motor insurance can be an issue as well. The use of vehicle in connection with the motor trade is an excluded usage in standard motor insurance, whether for car or van insurance. It is critical that the insurer knows that the vehicle is going to be used for car valeting and not for generic business such as ‘Cleaning Services’. An insurer providing cover may want to remove ‘Driving Other Vehicles’ cover they may ordinarily give, as this cover is not intended to replace motor trade risks insurance which a car valeter will need if driving of customers’ vehicles is required.
In summary, the key is to be careful when purchasing insurance and to be aware that not all insurances are the same. It is worth spending some time comparing quotations to ensure the product best suited to the needs of the business is purchased. If in doubt, advice should be sought from the insurance adviser.