You’ve parked in a shopping centre car park, paid a man from a car wash company to clean your car and returned three hours later to find the car is scratched. So who is liable; the car washing company or your insurer?
Well, a huge factor depends on the type of insurance you have. For example, research on 237 comprehensive car policies showed just under 50% would insure your car if damaged in the valet’s care, which could include car washing companies. This implies you aren’t immediately covered.
Car wash and valet firms tend to have their own insurance to cover themselves against any unfortunate incidents but the amount of liability they would be willing to accept can vary greatly, since some may not cover damage or theft from your car. So if you want to recover the costs of damage, claiming a breach of contract or an act of negligence against the car wash company are options. Another basis for a claim could be against the car park proprietors, if the car wash company was authorised to operate on their premises.
To maximise chances of a successful claim, you must be able to prove that the damage was caused by the company, or if it was not, when the car was under their supervision. Just like any other claim, evidence will be crucial. Specifically, objective evidence like CCTV footage, otherwise a Court will decide, on balance, whether the damage occurred or you may need to rely on the company to admit the damage was caused by them.
As a point of note, make sure to check with your insurer to see what damage you are covered for. The carwash company will be unwiiling to cover for the damages as they can state that it wasn’t conclusive that the damage happened on their premises. One more point of notice is that repair claims might affect your claims history and future car insurance premiums. If you aren’t covered, then the cost of repairing scratches will fall on you and could cost in the region of £60- £70.
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