Garage Keepers Insurance is an optional coverage on the liability policy that you may purchase to protect your customers vehicles while they are in your possession. There are three different levels of coverage to consider.
Who Needs the Coverage?
Garage Keepers coverage is designed specifically to provide protection for damage to a customer’s vehicle while in your care, custody, and control. Any garage business that works on someone else’s vehicles, boats, and/or recreational vehicles should consider this coverage. Examples of garage operations that may need Garage keepers include Auto Repair Shop, Attending Servicing Repairing Parking or Storing, Body Shop, Service Stations, Storing Customers Items, and Dealerships that offer service.
There are three different levels of coverage that may be purchased on the Garage Liability Insurance, on in some cases the General Liability Insurance, Legal Liability, Direct Excess, and Direct Primary. The most common choices being between Legal Liability and Direct Primary.
Legal Liability: The least expensive option, this covers damage to a customer’s vehicle in which the shop is legally liable for. Examples include an at fault accident on a test drive, the vehicle falling off the lift, or scratching the vehicle with a tool while repairing it.
Direct Primary: Also known as Primary Coverage, is the most expensive and comprehensive coverage that is available. Like comprehensive and collision on a personal auto policy, it will provide protection to customer’s vehicles regardless of who is at fault for damage. In addition to the coverage offered by the legal liability option, it also provides protection for acts of nature, theft, vandalism, and not at fault accidents.
Direct Excess: This middle ground option will cover everything under the legal option, as well as provide the coverage for instances in which the shop is NOT legally liable, but only in excess to the customers own coverage. This is least purchased option because there is a greater benefit from the two options above, the often the cost savings for this option is minimal off the Primary and doesn’t help with the customer satisfaction angle.
I would like to dive into these coverages with a real-life example to help you make a decision on which may be a better option for you. A customer has a repair shop with a fenced and gated lot in which vehicles are stored in. One morning upon arriving they notice the vehicles along the fence were shot with a bb gun. If the customer has the legal liability option for the garage keepers, they would not have any coverage because they are not liable (cannot control a criminal’s action). If the customer had Direct Primary on the garage keepers liability insurance, they would be covered and subject to the deductible. Finally, the Direct Excess option would provide coverage but only after the customers filed to their own personal insurance and did not have enough to cover.
When trying to help customers determine the right coverage from them, I often ask the following question. If a customer’s vehicle is damaged while they have left it at your shop for repairs and the vehicle is damaged at no fault of your own, i.e. a thief breaks in and steals the vehicle, would you want the insurance company to pay for the vehicle? Each business is different, and some shops are looking to keep costs low and display signs to notify their customers they are not responsible for the vehicles while they have them. Other shops want to make sure the insurance protects them regardless of what happens, which in turn can also help protect the reputation of your business.
Why Barbee Jackson Insurance
Customer service is an important part of purchasing insurance and selecting an agent. Commercial insurance for Florida Garage Keepers Insurance is an important coverage that should be built and designed to meet the specific needs of your business, all while keeping the costs affordable. We work with the best carriers who have customized options to make sure this is achieved.
Don’t spend any longer with the wrong coverage or inadequate service. Make the call today for a Free, Comprehensive Insurance Review.