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!

Does My Garage Liability Cover More than Just Cars?

Have you recently had customers bring in transportation vehicles other than your typical automobiles? Especially during the winter season, it’s common that snow mobiles can be damaged as a result of bad weather. It’s also a great time for other things – such as motorcycles, ATV’s and boats to be repaired while out of service for the season. However, do you know if your garage insurance covers more than just your typical registered motor vehicles?

As a garage owner, you may be wondering just how far your coverage can extend. We are here to answer your questions and get you the security you deserve.

By making additions to your garage liability coverage, you can be covered for garage operations that span beyond covered “autos”. This means in addition to the autos, motorcycles, trucks, buses and motor homes in your shop, you can protect modes of transportation that are outside of the box, such as: boats, aircrafts, ATV’s and more.

The garage operations coverage, offered for “other than autos”, is subject to an accident limit so be sure to select a limit of insurance that fits your needs by covering your maximum exposure.

Also, since garage liability coverage may not be as broad as a CGL policy’s coverage, it is recommended that you consider adding the Broadened Coverage – Garages endorsement (CA 25 14). This adds coverage for:

Personal and Advertising injury
Fire legal liability
Non-owned watercraft
Newly acquired garage businesses (90 days)
Besides providing superior, tailored garage insurance insurance, the specialists at Wolpert Insurance’s Collision Select include former Licensed Auto Damage Appraisers; so we know a thing or two about repairs. Our extensive experience allows us to develop truly exceptional, custom garage insurance programs that fit your budget. Interested in learning more about garagekeepers insurance and the coverage you need for your auto body shop? Speak with a leading expert from Wolpert Insurance today to discover your specialized commercial insurance options!

Garagekeepers Point of View: What’s the Difference Between Direct Excess and Direct Primary?

As a garage or auto body shop owner, one of the most difficult tasks we are faced is developing a relationship of complete trust with each and every client. To most people, their vehicle is an integral part of their everyday life – whether it’s a quick trip down the block for a carton of eggs, or a cross country excursion – our customers depend on us to protect their autos; allowing for them to maintain their quality of life. But who’s protecting you?

No matter what type of venue you own, whether you are a standard auto dealer, body repair shop, detailer, service station, storage garage, etc. you’ll find that your commercial general liability and business auto liability insurance are heavily blended together – making it difficult from time to time to decipher how to handle particular claims.

Depending on the incident, whether your garage was found negligent, and any other outside factors, how your insurance applies to the loss will vary. Most importantly, how the claim is handled will also be affected by the garage insurance option you chose. Remember, in our earlier series of garage liability posts, we explained the variations of coverage: legal liability, direct primary and direct excess. Let’s now put those forms of coverage into action:

Garagekeepers Direct Excess Insurance: will pay for damages to a client’s vehicle that the business bears NO legal liability for. This means that the customer must report the loss to their own insurance carrier and have them pay for the damages. Their deductible will be reimbursed by your venue’s garagekeepers insurance. However, if your business is found legally liable, coverage applies on a primary basis.

Garagekeepers Direct Primary Insurance: will pay for any damages incurred while a client’s vehicle is in the custody of your business. This means that the client does not have to involve their own insurance carrier in the claim or repair of resulting damages.

Here’s how a claim, between these two different types of insurance, could potentially be handled:

A client leaves their vehicle at your shop for repair. Due to an influx in business, you have limited indoor parking, causing you to move the client’s vehicle to curbside parking during the course of repair. While it is parked on the street, a careless motorist damages the entire left side of the vehicle while driving down the street. As a garage owner, you are not legally liable in this case – you didn’t cause the damage and were not negligent in the safety of the vehicle. Overall, the car was parked properly, yet it was unattended at the time of the crash.

If your garage is insured under garagekeepers direct excess insurance, the client will be notified immediately of the accident and must report it to their own insurance carrier. It will be considered a no fault loss since the client’s vehicle was unattended, but the customer will need to actively be involved in the claim process and repair.

If the shop is insured under garagekeepers direct primary insurance, the client may not even be notified that a accident or damage has occurred. Your shop’s garagekeepers direct primary insurance will handle the claim and repairs entirely.

Overall, the main reason a shop would consider choosing garagekeepers direct primary insurance is because of this idea of building and maintaining positive relationship with each client. By taking on the responsibility and initiative to protect a client’s vehicle to the fullest extent, you are showing that your venue cares about their well being – as well as your reputation.

Interested in learning more about Garagekeepers Legal Liability? Contact the coverage experts at Wolpert Insurance to discover your specialized commercial insurance options today!

Garage Liability 301: What is Direct Excess Coverage?

Throughout this series of garage insurance explanations, we have reviewed legal liability and direct primary coverage; it’s now more evident than ever that various levels of coverage exist. Overall, garagekeepers coverage provides protection for damage or loss caused to a customer’s vehicle as a result of the insured’s (your!) legal liability. Standard coverage options include: comprehensive (other than collision), specified causes of loss (for example: fire, lightning, theft, vandalism etc.) and collision or overturn.

In its simplest form, coverage is needed because of the “care, custody or control” exclusion in a general liability policy. As explained in an earlier post, basic garagekeeper’s coverage is based on the “legal liability” you possess, in regard to damages caused to a customer’s vehicle; the deciding factor in this situation is that the customer must prove that you were negligent.

But what if you took every step necessary to protect your client’s vehicle and it was determined that you were NOT negligent for the damage?

This is where our two direct coverage options come into play – direct primary and direct excess.

Protecting your commercial garage with inclusive coverage is critical to your business’ success, leaving us to explain yet another garage insurance option: direct excess coverage. With direct excess, coverage applies in surplus of the vehicle owner’s coverage and as the garage owner you must select a limit for each location.

One way to determine the limit is to consider the average value of the vehicles in your garage’s care multiplied by the average number of vehicles you house at a given time.

For example, if the average value of customers’ vehicles equals $15,000 and the average number of vehicles on hand at your venue typically is 12; a limit of $180,000 would be selected:

($15,000 x 12 = $180,000)

It’s also important to keep in mind that garagekeepers coverage is subject to various exclusions, such as contractual obligations, theft by the insured, defective parts, faulty work, etc. It’s clear that selecting an appropriate garage insurance policy take work, research and patience, but once inclusive coverage is in place your venue can operate smoothly and more efficiently. The true differences in coverage really come down to liability insurance and coverage for damages, so working with an experienced professional who understands your industry can make the insurance process that much easier.

Interested in learning more about garage insurance? Contact the coverage experts at Wolpert Insurance to discover your specialized commercial insurance options today!


Garage Liability 201: Do I Need Direct Primary Coverage?

As a garage or auto body shop owner, you have options when it comes to your coverage.

When purchasing your garagekeepers liability insurance, there are three distinct forms of coverage you can opt for, including: legal liability, direct primary and excess. So, how do you know what level of coverage is best for your venue?

What’s important to remember is that your garage is unique and your coverage is dependent upon your specific operational needs. A legal liability policy, in its simplest form is meant to cover damages to a vehicle held in the garagekeeper’s custody whether it’s for sale, being serviced, repaired or simply parked. Where direct primary coverage differs is that this form of liability coverage mediates loss even if it is not the policyholder’s fault and even if the garagekeeper is not legally liable. Sounds like a dream come true for any garage business, right? Happy customer, covered claims. But like anything that is good for you, there are both pros and cons that need to be weighed.

Still not sure which form of garage insurance is right for you? Let’s say you run a tight ship – play by all the rules – and one night, while a customer’s locked vehicle sits parked, securely in your locked garage, it is burglarized. The damage and loss of goods tallies up to a hefty claim and although you were not negligent in any way, your direct primary coverage takes care of the claim, once submitted through your insurance carrier. Easy, except when that claim affects your premium rate for the next several years. Keep in mind if you operated with a legal liability policy, since you were not legally at fault for the theft that same claim would have had to be filed under the client’s insurance; thus having no affect on your future premiums.

Weighing the value of each form of garage coverage is essential to ensuring your business is protected with comprehensive, inclusive coverage. Furthermore, the most important thing is that the commercial coverage you secure is tailored to the unique needs of your specific venue. Consider your average clientele, your location and the common services you provide to help you decipher your coverage options

Interested in learning more about Garagekeepers Legal Liability? Contact the coverage experts at Wolpert Insurance to discover your specialized commercial insurance options today!