The Nuts and Bolts of Garagekeepers Insurance

Keep cars at a garage? You need Garagekeepers Insurance

If you work on or keep vehicles for someone else, you need Garagekeepers insurance.  While most of you probably already saw our Amazingly Honest Guide to Auto Mechanic Insurance and learned about Garagekeepers there, we are going to dig a little deeper into it now and see how people use it in the real world.

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But let’s start with what this coverage does and why it is an absolute necessity for car dealers and auto mechanics everywhere.

mechanic shop

Have tools, won’t travel.

The Basics

Garagekeepers Insurance is all about damage to the cars in your care.  It protects you if something happens to the body of the car while you are fixing it, holding it, or doing pretty much anything for someone else.

The main thing is that you don’t own the vehicle – so it doesn’t cover cars you are trying to sell or that are owned by your dealership or shop.

It does not protect you from the liability of cars in your care – that is Garage Liability Insurance.  Garagekeepers exists to help you if you damage the actual body of the car itself.

It doesn’t matter if you knock off a mirror while working on it, or ram it into a wall by accidentally hitting the gas when testing the engine, or if hail falls and dents the hood during a storm – Garagekeepers covers it all.

So if you take away nothing else from this article, remember this – Garagekeepers covers the damage to a vehicle that you have but don’t own.  Period.

car in front of garage door

Baby don’t hurt me.

What it covers.

Garagekeepers insurance covers you from exactly what you might face when you’re a dealer or a mechanic:

  • Fire
  • Weather – Hail, Wind, Lightning
  • Theft & Vandalism
  • Collision

While most policies cover more than just these risks, the accidents I just mentioned are the most common things you will face on the lot or in your shop.  For example:

If there is a fire in your body shop at night and it spreads, destroying your customers truck that you almost had fixed, Garagekeepers covers it.

If a storm comes through and blows down your hanging sign and it lands on a car you had just finished repairing, Garagekeepers covers it.

(Here in North Carolina, wind is a huge problem during hurricane season.  Strong winds can throw cars around or drop all kinds of stuff on them!)

If your employee is moving a sports car you were about to paint with “wicked racing stripes” and runs over the lift he forgot to lower, ripping out the undercarriage, Garagekeepers covers it.

If teenage boys spray paint “O’Doyle Rules” all over the most expensive car you have on your lot, Garagekeepers covers it.

As you can see, Garagekeepers does a lot.  It doesn’t cover everything that can happen, however.  Let’s look at what it doesn’t cover.

Mechanic welding.

Rick! Wrong car!

What it doesn’t do.

It would be bad to assume that Garagekeepers protects you from anything that can happen.  It doesn’t protect you from doing a bad job.  If you are fixing someone’s car and you do it incorrectly, making it have to be repaired again, Garagekeepers does not cover that.  It is not a warranty or a guarantee on work completed, so don’t expect it to protect your work.

It also does not protect any parts that you put in the vehicle that may be faulty or incorrect.  Again, it is not a warranty for equipment.

It also does not protect your customer’s personal property INSIDE the vehicles.  What does that mean?  Let’s look at it this way:

If a car is stolen from in front of your shop, and you had just repaired it and were waiting on it to be picked up, Garagekeepers would cover the body of the car.  It would NOT COVER the backpack with the owner’s laptop that was in the back seat.  Nor would it cover the portable DVD player that he used to keep the kids happy on long car rides.

Personal property is the responsibility of the vehicle owner, and  is not covered by Garagekeepers insurance.

Car on lift.

Options & Additions

There are optional coverages that can be added to a Garagekeepers policy, depending on the company you go with.  They usually revolve around expanding what is covered or higher limits of coverage.

A Legal Liability addition makes it so that the policy covers any damages that you would be forced to pay after to a legal dispute.

Direct Primary makes this coverage pay no matter what other coverage the vehicle owner may have.

Labor and Materials coverage protects your tools and property if you leave them in a customer’s vehicle.

Actual Loss Sustained is a coverage that protects you to the full extent of the loss, no matter how much property you have in your possession at the time of the accident.

Let’s wrap it up.

So do you need Garagekeepers insurance?  Obviously.  Nobody wants to pay out of pocket for the price of a car (or more!) if you have a fire or vandalism or a bad storm.  Accidents happen – it’s a part of being in business.

So let’s talk about what you have.  One of our Garage Insurance Experts can go over the policy you have now and see if you have enough coverage.  Or, quote you a new policy and see if there is a better option for you.

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