OSHA Standards Part I: Hazardous and Toxic Substances

As an auto body and repair shop owner, you are aware of all the potential risks that both you and your employees are exposed to on a daily basis. Luckily, there are OSHA standards in place that can help minimize threats in the shop. However, there is no way to always be 100% immune to these risks. The best owners and workers can do is to be careful, follow standards and stay covered with reliable garage insurance.

The first step to staying safe is to recognize the risks. Many times, workers may be unaware of the potential hazards in the workplace, making them much more vulnerable to accidents and injuries. In order to help you better understand your risks, we have put together a series of OSHA standard blog posts. The first order of business: hazardous and toxic substances.

According to the United States Department of Labor, hazardous and toxic substances are defined as “those chemicals present in the workplace that are capable of causing harm. The term chemical refers to dusts, mixtures, paints, fuels and solvents.” Currently, OSHA regulates exposure to about 400 substances. In order to protect yourself and your workers from these chemicals, it is important to:

• Provide training in OSHA standards and training guidelines;

• Make sure the workplace is well-ventilated;

• Understand the toxic substances that you are using;

• Wear chemical-protective clothing;

By following these rules and being aware of OSHA standards, both you and your employees will be lowering risk and injuries in the workplace. If for some reason you DO have to face an injury or issue, you have our garage insurance to turn to for protection. This specific policy can provide workers compensation, group benefits, garagekeepers coverage, garage liability coverage, auto insurance, equipment and tools coverage and much more. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to speak with our experts at Wolpert Insurance!


Will Garage Insurance Cover My Boat Repair Shop?

Garage insurance is not only for auto body shops, though it may seem like it. With terms like “auto” and “land,” it may not seem like boats and other modes of transportation would be included. However, with the proper changes and endorsements, you can make sure that the boats, engines and other watercraft vehicles in your repair shop are covered.

If you are the owner of a boat repair shop, you may wonder how you can properly protect yourself from any liability issues. What if the boat or engine is stolen while it is on your premises? What if the boat is damaged? There are a lot of “what ifs” involved in this type of business! Luckily, you can make sure you have your garage insurance tailored at Wolpert Insurance to fit these needs.

For the best protection, it is best to turn garagekeepers liability insurance. This policy will respond to certain comprehensive and collision type claims. However, it is important that you review the terms defined in the policy itself. If you notice words such as “auto” or “land”, as we stated above, it is best to ask questions and figure out if boats and watercraft vehicles are included. These policies should be read word-for-word in order to make sure you are not relying on the wrong coverage.

To properly insure the boats in your shop, the proper endorsement would be necessary. With an endorsement, you may be able to change the definitions of the policy to fit to your specific needs. Without this, you may end up in the wrong and left without coverage.

If you have any questions, concerns or are generally confused about a policy, it is best to speak up! We are equipped with insurance experts at Wolpert Insurance. We specialize in auto body and repair facilities, which make us the go-to for any questions or confusion. We are dedicated to helping you find the best garage insurance policies for your place of business!


Has Your Garage Insurance Premium Increased? We Can Explain!

As a garage or auto body shop owner, you know that having garage insurance is critical in order to stay in business. That being said, you continue to pay an affordable premium and continue to work without having any claims. Suddenly, your premium has jumped in cost. What gives?
This is a common scenario and question from other garage and auto body shop owners. As your reliable insurance agency, we have an answer for you. Allow us to explain…
Insurance companies receive income from two sources: the premium charged to insurers and investment income. They use the premiums paid to invest in the marketplace to supplement their revenues. In the past, these investments could result in returns from 3-10%. However, if you have looked at your retirement account in recent years, you know invest income has dropped and this has affected insurance companies well.
Insurance companies are now faced with two choices:
#1: Increase the policyholder’s premium.
#2: Implement a very strict underwriting criterion in hopes of reducing losses.
These are the two main reasons why you may have seen a spike in your garage insurance premium. However, there are always ways to fight off these growing costs. If your garage or auto body shop can demonstrate safety, training and other efforts to lower the risks in the workplace, you may be able to bring those rising costs back down. Never hesitate to speak with us at Wolpert Insurance. We would be happy to talk about techniques and procedures in order to lower your premium!


What Information is Needed to Get a Garage Insurance Quote?

Are you looking to open an auto body shop for the upcoming year? Besides having a business plan, it is crucial to look into the proper coverage. For such a specialized company, it is important to look into specific coverage: garage insurance.
There are a few specific coverage options for this policy, including: garage keepers liability, general liability, property, auto and workers compensation. So what will you need exactly to complete a garage insurance quote?
Garage keepers liability: In order to figure out this number, one must calculate how many customer cars will be at your facility times the average value. For example: for a shop with 10 customer cars with an average value of $10,000 there would need to be a limit of $100,000.
General liability: This number is based on sales, which means one would need to figure out what the annual anticipated sales will be.
Property: This coverage should include your rental space, tools, spray booths, lifts, machinery, etc. So that an underwriter may properly assess the exposure, one would need ALL information relative to the building (e.g., sq. ft, construction, year built, the year that updates to the roof, electrical, heating and plumbing were performed) whether or not you own or rent.
Auto: If you need this coverage, it is crucial to put together information such as the drivers, names, DOB and license numbers. It will provide coverage for any company-owned vehicles and any repair plates.
Workers compensation: This policy is estimated on the payroll for the shop employees and any clerical staff that a company may have. Remember, this is a separate policy but an imperative one.
Once you have put together all of this information, you are well on your way to being 100% covered with garage insurance. Before going ahead and opening your auto body shop, be sure to check with the state about special requirements in order to register your shop. Other than that, we wish you the best of luck!

New Year, New Initiative: Helping Your Auto Shop Go Green

Across the country, business owners are working towards operating in a more eco-friendly manner – hoping to leave behind less of a carbon footprint. As a garage or auto body shop, you may not think that going green is necessarily a priority, however many garage owners have found their newfound eco-friendly procedures to not only be good for the environment but also good for their business. Garage owners have found that the cost savings involved, resulting from successful green policies and regulations, greatly outweigh any push back that may have initiated when the decision was first made to make the green switch.

Interested in making the green switch yourself? Below are 3 easy ways you can implement eco-friendly practices at your garage or auto body shop:

1. Recycle. It’s as simple as that. There are a variety of things that can be recycled in an auto body shop, from: anti-freeze, oil filters, batteries, steel, transmission fluid, brake fluid and beyond. There a several companies who will come and collect your shop’s recycled goods either weekly or monthly, as well as provide you with easy-to-use collection tools for storing items prior to pickup.

2. Get the lead out. You’re average vehicle contains between 200 and 250 grams of lead in wheel weights. Much of this is released out into the environment during normal driving; however to reduce the pollution affects, steel and zinc wheel weights can be supplemented.

3. Use Green Products. Specifically when it comes to detailing and cleaning, there are a variety of eco-industrial products your garage can choose from. For example, Wurth’s Greeline offers powerful cleaning solutions such as industrial degreaser and metal polish that are all 100% green. Avoid using harsh cleaners and chemicals whenever necessary.

When it comes to improving the profitability and overall health of your garage or auto body shop, going green can help produce significant results. Remember though that proactively protecting your commercial venture begins with securing comprehensive garage insurance. Our inclusive coverage solutions can provide you with a multitude of protection including: garage liability, garagekeepers coverage, commercial property, auto coverage, equipment and tools, workers comp, business interruption and more.

At Wolpert Insurance, we offer a unique variety of safety, compliance, and risk management tools to enable you to run your business safer and be more profitable. Interested in learning more about our garage insurance coverage? Contact Wolpert Insurance today for a free commercial insurance quote!

Self-Auditing the Safety Regulations at Your Garage

When it comes to operating a garage or auto body shop, it’s important that you remain focused on the health and safety of those around you. Your require a skilled workforce, so placing your staff in danger, due to inefficient safety regulations could cause a number of issues, all of which may affect your shop’s profitability. Not to mention that a mechanical fire could wipe out thousands of dollars in inventory as well as your venue as a whole.

Of course, securing a specialized garage insurance package can help you to safeguard your business against a variety of risks – providing coverage for commercial property, commercial vehicles, general liability and workers compensation – but combine that with the ability to self-audit your current health and safety policies and you are well on your way to proactively protecting your business.

As your trusted leader in commercial insurance solutions, specifically for garage owners, Wolpert Insurance has compiled a list of helpful tips you can employ when reviewing the policies and procedures needed at your venue. The following is just a portion of the self-auditing checklist you can use to evaluate the health and safety regulations at your garage or auto body shop:

A. General Walk-Through of Site

Materials and Waste Storage Management

Flammable and hazardous materials should be stored in containers approved either by the U.S. Department of Transportation or the State Fire Marshall
All employees are trained how to use a fire extinguisher, all fire extinguishers are clearly marked and labeled
Smoking is permitted where repair work is done and only allowed in designated areas
Electrical outlets all have cover plates, no wiring is exposed, frayed or damaged
Floor drains are connected to the sewer, there are no cracks in the floor that could allow leakage
Lifts have operational safety locks, are tested and inspected monthly
There are no illegal furnaces or space heaters in use
B. General Health & Safety

The shop has written contingency plans for fire prevention, emergency response, spill control etc.
No food is consumed in the repair area
Eye wash and shower stations are available where chemicals and acids are used, each provide 15 minutes of continuous flush
Employees are trained in chemical hazards, safety and emergency preparedness
Ensuring that everyone is on the same page is critical to the success of your onsite health and safety regulations. As the shop owner, anytime that you adjust or revise health and safety procedures, be sure to communicate effectively to your staff.

Overall, it’s crucial that as a garage owner you protect your business by making health and safety risks a top concern. At Wolpert Insurance, we offer a unique variety of safety, compliance, and risk management tools to enable you to run your business safer and be more profitable. Interested in learning more about our garage insurance coverage? Contact Wolpert Insurance today for a free commercial insurance quote!


Renting & Loaning Vehicles to Your Garage Customers

Your main goal as a garage keeper is to help your customers solve their auto problems. However, are you a business that goes above and beyond for your community?

At Wolpert Insurance, we understand that as an independent repair facility, it’s likely that you are deeply rooted within your community. This attribute gives your business a special kind of personal touch, generating feelings of trust and comfort with your customers. Independent shops are convenient because they can turn a repair around faster than a dealership. In addition, shops like yours want to develop relationships with their customers and will usually keep thorough records of a vehicle’s repair history as well as allow the opportunity for a client to rent a garage-owned vehicle during a period of repairs.

Does your garage operate in this fashion? If so, then you know your customers are your number one priority and their safety means everything. If you rent and loan vehicles to your garage customers, there are some precautions you should follow.

By having the client sign a loaner or short-term rental agreement when loaning a vehicle, you can avoid financial implications in the event of an accident. If you don’t take this step, the customer’s insurance could take a hit. If a form is not signed, and the car is involved in an accident, the client’s insurance may not cover damage and instead, you may be held liable.

In order to avoid your garage insurance policy becoming primary, in response to any accident claims on a vehicle that is loaned, it is recommended that a formal form of loaner or short-term rental agreement be completed and authorized. Since you face unique risks as an auto repair business, you need protection you can trust. So call one of our specialists at Wolpert Insurance today to learn more about our affordable garage insurance program!