The idea of taking your car for washing is to get it cleaned and look sparkling. But in some cases, your car ends up being damaged by a valet in the washing process. If that’s the case, then you need to file a claim so that the car wash business can compensate you for their negligence or breach of contract.
But before you make a claim, there are several things that you need to know. For instance, did you notice the damage after leaving the car wash or before leaving? This is important because a Valet may deny the damage if you claim after leaving their premise. Also, you need to know if there were some instructions that you didn’t follow when parking your car for washing.
All of these factors play a huge part in whether you will get the compensation or not. In case of damage to your, many car wash businesses are smart and will normally hide the damage until you drive off. So, whenever you take your car for a car wash, you need to always inspect it carefully before leaving.
And if you find any damage, then you can go ahead and take photos and if possible, interrogate the valet before gathering the necessary evidence to use in court if you’re not compensated for the damage caused.
Most car wash businesses have liability insurance that will cover such cases but only if it is proven that they caused the damage. If the car wash isn’t able to cover the damage, then you will have to rely on your car insurance to cover (i.e if the comprehensive insurance covers damage caused by a car valet) the damages. But you shouldn’t automatically assume that you will be covered thus you should contact your insurance first.
Is a Car Wash Liable for Damage?
To determine if the car wash is liable for damage or not, here are some of the things that you should look out for:
- Are there rules and signs
A car wash can be liable for damage if it has not displayed any rules and regulations that the customer should know of before leaving their car in the hands of a valet. For instance, close their car windows and loosen the windscreen wipers.
As a car wash business, you need to set out rules that are clear and even have signs that show what the customer needs to do such as where to park the car and so forth. Besides giving instructions, you can also instruct your employees to explain the rules to every customer that visits the car wash business.
In such a case, if a customer doesn’t follow the rules even after being explained by the car valet, then, you will be safe and not liable to the damage. However, you should not rule out any type of damage as the brush may contain stones or the car valet may make a mistake, especially if they are not experienced.
- Was the damage caused because of negligence from the Valet?
If the car valet makes a mistake because of lack of experience or another reason, then the owner of the car wash business will be liable. Therefore, it is your duty as a car wash business owner to hire competent workers and train them to execute better.
Damage resulting from the negligence of the employee will be passed on to the owner and if they have liability insurance, it will cover the damages. Ensure your car wash workers are experienced with the right skills to offer spontaneous and safe cleaning.
- Who has the burden of proof?
When a customer reports the damage to their car, the first thing as the car wash owner is to determine if the car was damaged in your premise or not. And if the damage cannot be traced back to the car wash, then it is the obligation of the customer to prove that it did. As a result, you will be the defendant and the customer the plaintiff.
Usually, an expert is called in to determine the root of the damage. If the expert opinion is against you, then you will have to prove yourself innocent. And if you fail to prove yourself innocent, then you or your company will be liable to pay for the damages. For this reason, you need to keep your working tools serviced and in top condition. Also, have CCTV footage to avoid such problems in the long run.
- What about the publicity?
If a customer is not able to prove that you damaged his or her car, then you’re not liable. But keep in mind that some unsatisfied customer may cause problems for you by trying to let the world know how you treated them unfairly.
They can air their views on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and even in forums where your online reviews may be affected. Therefore, you should handle every situation that arises at your car wash amicably and try to find solutions even without taking the matter to court.
Teach your employees how to handle different situations and let them be friendly to customers even at times of tension like when damage is noticed. But this doesn’t mean that you should be liable for damage you didn’t cause!
Does Insurance Cover Car Wash Damage?
Most car wash businesses have liability insurance. So, in case your car is damaged during washing and you’re able to prove it, then you will be compensated by the car wash business owner’s insurance.
But in the situation where you’re not able to prove that the car was damaged as a result of washing, then you will have to talk to your insurance company and find out if they cover such cases. If you’ve comprehensive insurance, then there is a high chance that your car will be covered.
However, you should note that the amount of liability even for some car wash businesses vary as they may not cover damage to your car or even theft of goods in your car. So, don’t assume but find out first.
It is never a wish of a car Valet to damage your car during cleaning. But if it does happen, you need to claim for compensation. But first, gather the evidence so that if they fail to take care of the problem you can file a claim in court. Also, it is good to check with your insurance and find out if they will cover you if your car is damaged during valeting. Otherwise, always check your car before leaving a car wash to be sure nothing has been messed up with.