Getting car wash damage paid by the owner of the wash can be difficult, especially if you leave the car wash's property before noticing damage. Whether you visit an automatic or full service car wash, there is always an off-chance your vehicle will be damaged. The brushes in an automatic car wash may hold dirt, debris and rocks from vehicles that have run through the wash earlier in the day. These rotating brushes can then scratch your vehicle with the debris. Additionally, other moving parts in the car wash can damage or break the antenna on your vehicle and possibly cause your wheel covers to fall off. In any case, car wash damage is often preventable and aused only by the neglect of car wash management. This guide will help you take the right steps in the unfortunate case your vehicle is damaged in a car wash.
Step One: Ask About the Damage Policy
When you arrive at a car dealership, see if there is a sign that outlines the damage policy at the car wash. Many will have a sign saying they are not responsible for damage, but if negligence can be proven you may still be able to get damage paid. Of course, if the damage policy says the car wash is not responsible or if there is not one posted, it is best to ask an employee or leave the car wash for another one.
Step Two: Inspect Your Vehicle Immediately
As soon as you are done having your car washed, inspect it for damage. This should be completed outside of the wash bay, where the sunlight can show imperfections and damage. The car wash owner should not object to this step, as it ultimately provides a safeguard for both business owner and customer. You should find that there is no damage on your vehicle or, if there is, it was damage that occurred earlier. However, in the unfortunate event that your vehicle is damaged at the car wash, it is important to park your vehicle and speak to an employee. Depending on the car wash's policy, you may have little or no recourse if you leave the car wash and discover damage later on. At this point, you cannot prove that the car wash caused the damage.
Step Three: Make Your Complaint
If possible, speak to the owner or a manager who acts as the owner's agent. You may be asked to fill out an incident/damage report form that is kept on file by the car wash, or you may be required to write a complaint on your own. In any case, make sure that you make plenty of copies and you keep one for your records.
Step Four: Await a Decision
After you file your complaint with the car wash, you may have to wait some time to get a decision. Depending on the car wash's insurance policy, they may require you to get estimates to repair the damage before any benefit is paid. After it is determined your complaint will be paid, the car wash may simply write you a check for the lowest estimate, or you may be required to get the damage repaired. If your claim is denied, see if you can contact the insurance company. If necessary, you may also contact an attorney.