Valet services for motor vehicles typically come into one of several categories:
- value-add services provided by a garage, perhaps as an optional part of car servicing or repair work. It might be performed by the garage’s employees or perhaps sub-contracted out to a professional provider of car valet services;
- a valeting company working on customers’ vehicles brought to their premises by the customers concerned;
- a valeting company who specialises in visits to a customer’s location in order to deliver their services. This is commonly encountered in the business car or fleet management sector.
Whichever of these categories you fall into (it might also be all three) then you may wish to give serious consideration to valeters’ insurance.
What valeters’ insurance cover is required?
It’s not easy to state what forms of cover you’ll need because a fair amount of the risk you face will vary depending upon the precise nature of your business. That leads to the first message – it’s important to find flexible and customisable cover to suit your specific circumstances.
For example, your existing motor trade insurance may cover some of the hazards that are part and parcel of a valeting service – or it may not.
Typically, some of the risks you may face as a valeting service could include things such as:
- claims from your employees who have been injured as part of their work on your behalf. If this sounds unlikely, it might range from things such as getting cleaning fluid in their eyes to someone hurting their back while manoeuvring a vacuum cleaner. It’s typically advisable to have at least £5m in employers’ liability insurance cover under this category – as well, in most cases, a legal obligation;
- a customer who accuses you of damaging their upholstery or bodywork. Whether you think it’s fair or not, if a court agrees with them you might get some hefty damages awarded against you;
- someone employed by you damages or misuses a customer’s vehicle;
- you accidentally damage another vehicle on a garage forecourt with your equipment;
- a customer falls after slipping on water on the ground that’s there due to your work.
Of course, none of these things might ever happen but if they did – could you cope with the financial implications? If you couldn’t then you really should be thinking seriously about valeters’ insurance.
Types of cover
The above risks might be addressed through valeters’ insurance that includes:
- employers’ liability insurance
This is typically mandatory under law if you have employees. Do be careful here too when making assumptions about people working for you on a casual or self-employed basis. What you consider to be a casual “non-employee” and what the law might think of their employment status in your company might be two very different things;
- public liability insurance
That covers you in qualifying situations where a member of the public believes they’ve suffered injury (or damage to their property) as a result of your actions;
- sales and service liability
This might apply in situations where your customer believes that your actions have led to direct or indirect damage to their vehicle;
- premises cover
This might be essential if you have an office or depot from which you operate.
To the above portfolio of cover you might wish to consider personal property and vehicle cover. Opportunist thieves are widespread and some valeting equipment is specialist and expensive. You might appreciate such cover if your tools and equipment were stolen or vandalised.