While owning and operating an auto body repair shop can be a very rewarding experience, owners face a number of exposures that they will need to contend with on a daily basis in order to successfully run their business. It’s important to understand the challenges presented by these exposures, as they can cause significant damage to your clients’ property, serious physical harm to your employees and irreversible financial consequences for your business.
In addition to risks common to every industry, auto body repair shops face unique risks due to the movement of vehicles, the need to perform repairs, and the presence of equipment and chemicals. The list below provides an overview of these risks and more—helping you identify potential blind spots in your risk management and insurance programs.
Significant property exposures are present in auto body repair shops due to the presence of toxic or flammable chemicals and materials used for repairs, as well as the constant moving of vehicles around the property. Vehicles, tools and equipment, office supplies and the building itself are all at risk of being damaged during day-to-day operations.
Even for a company that specializes in knowing vehicles inside and out, it’s important to protect yourself from commercial auto exposures. Auto body shop employees often use vehicles for business purposes, such as for picking up parts and materials, towing or providing mobile auto repair services. Additionally, if your business offers towing services, your commercial auto exposures will increase.
Equipment breakdown can lead to huge costs and lengthy delays. Equipment like jacks and lifts are necessary for your daily work and, if damaged, must be repaired or replaced quickly in order to maintain operations.
General liability exposures at auto body repair shops can directly affect customer safety and, when injuries occur at your business, you could be held responsible. Accidents related to slips, trips and falls are a source of concern. Slippery or uneven surfaces, under-lit exteriors and moving vehicles can all lead to accidents.
Continuity is critical in business, and there are few things more important than continuous revenue and cash flow, particularly for small to midsized organizations. In fact, just one brief business interruption can be incredibly costly for an organization, often leading to serious reputational damages or long-term closures. Common interruptions for auto body repair shops can include natural disasters, fires, part recalls, cyber events and staff shortages.
Due to the presence of toxic or flammable chemicals such as oil, grease, hydraulic fluid and other substances, auto body repair shops must contend with the possibility of environmental liability in the event of a chemical spill or similar incident. Environmental incidents are particularly concerning for body shops because they can cause harm to the surrounding community, involve costly cleanup and often cause damage to a business’s reputation. What’s more, businesses that cause harm to the environment are at risk of incurring fines that can exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Crime exposures can be of particular concern for auto body shops because of the presence of expensive parts, equipment and vehicles. Auto body shops are also at risk of computer fraud, forgery or alteration, cash theft and employee dishonesty. In some cases, a body shop’s location and the type of vehicles they service can increase crime exposures.
Any time one of your employees is injured on the job, your business could face an expensive workers’ compensation claim. Normal, everyday tasks related to driving vehicles and performing repairs can all lead to accidents and, in turn, increased costs for your business. Musculoskeletal injuries, burns, shocks, respiratory problems, hearing loss, heat exhaustion, slips, trips, falls, sprains and strains are all common on-the-job injuries for employees of auto body repair shops.
Customers trust you to take care of their vehicles when they leave them with you, which creates garagekeepers liability. Auto body repair shops must contend with liability exposures with respect to damage to a customer’s vehicle left in their care for service or repair.
While the proper risk management practices can reduce certain exposures, no system is 100% effective in ensuring an incident-free workplace. As a result, it’s all the more crucial to work with a qualified insurance broker to not only assess your exposures, but to secure the appropriate coverage as well. To learn more, contact Stapleton Insurance Group today.