Will My Insurance Cover Car Wash Damage?

by | Feb 16, 2024 | Insurance | 0 comments

What else can be more satisfying than a streak-free car? Did you think we would say nothing? Well, you have got another thought your way! An excellent cleaning session at a car wash can make your vehicle as good as new. About 2.3 billion cars get washed at these stations annually. Sometimes, situations can go against our expectations.

After an automatic wash, a scratch, dent, or other damage can ruin the whole experience. That makes us wonder whether the insurance will handle this damage. The answer is neither a yes nor no.

The at-fault party is usually responsible for covering the damage. However, those who carry full coverage can demand a reimbursement with their insurance.  Yes! Accidents can happen anywhere. Despite the professional team and advanced cleaning equipment, it invites certain potential risks. Luckily, the right insurance policy can help you combat this situation.

How Often Does My Car Need Washing?

A bad wash or over washing can put your car in trouble. Besides damaging the car’s paint, it can also deteriorate some parts. But not cleaning it would be even worse. Without an adequate wash, the grime and chemicals will destroy the paint; thus, the underbody will eventually start corroding.

Car cleaning is usually recommended once a fortnight. However, if your car is exposed to more dust, grime, or bird droppings, you must clean it more often.  Will My Insurance Cover the Damage

Will My Insurance Cover the Damage?

The two factors that decide the answer are:

  1. Your Coverage Type
  2. Who is At Fault?

Which Type of Insurance Coverage Favors It?

Driving without liability coverage is illegal in most of the U.S. states. What makes it the law is its protection against property damage and body injuries. If your vehicle damages the washing station accidentally, your liability insurance will handle it. On the other hand, collision coverage will take charge of the damages to your vehicle that occur after colliding with any car-washing machinery, object, or car. 

Comprehensive coverage is the major problem solver in such cases. It covers most car wash damages, including dents, water damage, scratches, and faulty equipment. You will be financially responsible for restoration expenses without comprehensive or collision coverage. 

Who is At Fault?

The negligent person would be held liable for the damage. Here are some common scenarios:

When You are the Cause

Let’s say, you forgot to put your vehicle in neutral, and it smashes into any machinery or other vehicle. In such an accidental case, your car insurance would be accountable for bearing it. But the damage should be within your limits. Otherwise, you will have to pay that out of pocket. Remember! Insurance companies do not cover intentional damage.

When the Other Party is At Fault

Suppose your vehicle gets damaged due to a malfunction or faulty equipment. In that case, the vehicle wash owner will face the consequences. Vehicle damage due to untrained employees, workers’ negligence, or lack of safety measures would also make the company owner accountable for damages.

When Both are At Fault

In such conditions, both would have to share the damage. Each person would pay the damage amount according to their assigned percentages.  However, many states follow the modified comparative negligence. According to this law, if a party is more than 50% liable for the damage, it will reimburse the entire amount.  What Should I Do If Car Wash Scratches My Car

What Should I Do If Car Wash Scratches My Car?

Damages after an automatic wash are uncommon. However, you can take the following steps to use your legal rights effectively:

Inspect Your Vehicle Thoroughly

Always perform a detailed examination before leaving the washing station. 

  • Open and close all doors and check for any misalignment. 
  • Observe the paint and look for swirl marks, new dents, or scratches.
  • Sometimes, the cleaning solution enters the interior and messes it up. 
  • Don’t forget to check your delicate sunroof.
  • Examine the windows, mirrors, and frames.
  • The delicate windshield wipers often get damaged by automatic washes. 
  • Try to take a quick glance at the undercarriage.
  • Inappropriate equipment or harsh washing sometimes leads to discoloration and faded paint.
  • Check on the headlights, signal lights, and tail lights.

Document and Report the Damage

If you notice any of the above damage, document it. Take several photos and record videos of the damaged part from various angles. Now, talk to the owner or manager about it. 

Contact Your Insurance Company

At first, try to settle things out with a calm and polite conversation. If the owner refuses to take responsibility, consult your insurance provider or lawyer and file a claim. The insurance company would send an adjuster to examine the damage and its cost.  

Does Insurance Cover for Paint Damage During Vehicle Wash?

Indeed, automatic vehicle wash is pretty effective, quick, and affordable. However, outdated abrasive brushes and harsh cleaning agents can destroy your vehicle’s finish. 

On a positive note, your comprehensive insurance will cover such paint damages. Regardless, deteriorations due to wear and tear, manufacturing defects, and mechanical failures are some of the significant exclusions.

Final Thoughts

It is better to avoid a problem rather than to find a solution. Hence, choose a satisfactory cleaning station for your car, equipped with modern equipment and skilled employees. Try to switch to the advanced touchless technology or give it a delicate wash at home. 

Don’t forget to opt for full coverage always to be safe!

Patience Noah

Patience Noah migrated to the United states in 2003 after the Liberian Civil War. She attended the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and got her B.A in Marketing. After graduating college in 2013, she started her career in the insurance industry cold calling.

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