Who Is Responsible For Car Wash Damage?
As I mentioned, the party who pays for the damage to the car depends on who is responsible for causing it in the first place. Here are some common scenarios where each party may be responsible for the damage.
When The Car Wash Owner Covers Damage
In general, the car wash owner may be responsible for covering the damage when it is caused by some malfunction of equipment or the owner’s negligence.
These are some examples where an owner may be held liable:
- Your car is damaged as a result of an equipment malfunction, such as a brush falling onto your hood and breaking the windshield
- Car wash employees weren’t properly trained and their actions caused damage
- The owner did not fix equipment they knew was faulty
- The owner did not regularly maintain the equipment to keep it in good working order
- Guidelines for safety were not clearly communicated to the customer
If any of the above actions resulted in damage to your car, you may be able to get the car wash owner’s commercial insurance policy to pay for the repairs.
When Your Car Insurance Covers Car Wash Damage
Your car insurance policy may cover damage from a car wash if you were the cause. If you forgot to put your car in neutral and hit the car in front of you, for example.
But remember that the type of insurance you buy will determine whether your insurance company will pay for the damage.
As long as you have liability coverage, which is required by almost all states, any damage to another person or building should be paid for by the insurance company.
You need to purchase comprehensive and collision to have coverage for damage you cause to your car. There is also a deductible that will apply in these scenarios.
When You Will Cover Car Wash Damage
Fortunately, there aren’t too many scenarios where car wash damage wouldn’t be covered by either your insurance company or the car wash owners’ policy. But, there are some notable exceptions.
First, intentional damage will never be covered by your insurance. If your insurance company determines that you purposely caused damage to your vehicle, you will not only be on the hook for the cost of the repairs, but you could jeopardize your insurance coverage.
Secondly, as mentioned a few times, coverage is imperative. Without comprehensive or collision coverage, any damage you cause to your car will be your financial responsibility.
It’s important to note, however, that these coverages also include a deductible, which means there is a slight out-of-pocket expense, even if insurance is picking up the tab.
Speaking of deductibles, any damage to your car needs to exceed the deductible amount you carry on your car.
For example, if you have a deductible of $1,000 for collision coverage and the cost to repair the car wash damage is $500, your insurance company will not pay for the repair. You would be responsible for that.
The same goes for any damage you cause to the car wash property. If you only carry the minimum limits required by your state, and the damage you cause is over that limit, you will be responsible for paying that out of pocket.
With the average car wash equipment ranging in price from $500,000-$2,000,000, you will need to carry more than minimal limits to ensure you are adequately protected.
Lastly, insurance will never pay for wear and tear. There is always a risk of paint or finish deterioration with car washes over time.
If you notice this happening to your car, even if you can trace it back to the car wash, you will be responsible for the damage.