As a trained mechanic, you spend your time fixing other people’s problems, repairing any damages to their vehicles, and ensuring safe and secure driving. Most activities you do every day will carry a certain level of risk and therefore getting the right type of mechanical repairer insurance is vital.
You may operate full-time or part-time, own a workshop on a private property, rent a premises or garage or even operate from a mobile van. Whatever your circumstances, it is likely you own expensive tools and equipment needed for your job. If stolen, these could put you thousands of pounds out of pocket as well as prevent you from working.
Aside from mechanics often being a target for thieves, there is also an element of risk that accidents or mistakes can happen within your daily business. An experienced insurance broker will be able to make sure you have a comprehensive mechanical repairer insurance policy in place to allow you to focus on your business whilst making sure you are fully protected.
Who Needs Mechanical Repairer Insurance?
Mechanical repairer insurance is designed to cover many trades in the sector, from mobile mechanics to auto electricians. The risks associated with the Motor Trade require a specialised insurance policy to protect your livelihood, so if something unfortunate were to happen you’ve got peace of mind knowing you’re covered.
Mechanical repairer insurance can cover a wide range of businesses, from the mobile mechanic to the workshop. It is often purchased by:
- Service and repair garages
- MOT stations
- Recovery operators
- Body shops
- Classic car restoration
- Auto electricians
- Any other motor trade business with stock or premises
What is Mechanical Repairer Insurance?
Depending on the exact nature of the service you offer, there is a specialised mechanics insurance suited to the size and scope of your business from part-time mobile repairs to a fully functioning garage. Working with several underwriters, Tradex devises bespoke combined insurance packages that cover everything from road risk insurance to premises, liability insurance and tools and equipment.
Mechanics are responsible for a multitude of activities including maintaining vehicles, MOT testing and keeping vehicles and their drivers safe when on the road. But, to work as a mechanic you will need certain motor trade insurance in place which will typically be a combined insurance policy, bringing a range of covers under one policy.
Your mechanical repairer insurance can protect many aspects of your business, including:
- Equipment and tools
- Driving customer vehicles
- Your business premises
- Public and employers’ liability
- And more
Do I Qualify for a Mechanical Repairer Insurance Policy?
In general, you will need the following to qualify for a motor trade insurance policy:
- You must have held a full UK driver’s licence for a minimum of 12 months.
- You must be at least 21 years of age, though many providers stipulate 23 years or higher.
- You may need to provide some form of proof that you work in the Motor Trade.
Starting Out with Road Risks Cover
Road risk insurance is the most basic level needed by mechanics. This allows you to drive customer vehicles under your custody and control, as well as cars you own in connection with your Motor Trade business. This is especially important when test driving vehicles you have repaired or when moving them from one location to another. It is important to note that driving vehicles on public roads without at least ‘third party only’ Motor Insurance is illegal, and could land you with a hefty fine and points on your licence.
You can get cover on a third-party, third-party fire and theft or comprehensive basis. If you also offer customers test drives as part of your business, you may also want to include demonstration cover (you may want to consider fully comprehensive demonstration cover if offering test drives). –
Third party only: This is the most economical car repairer insurance, but it only covers damage to other vehicles and people on public property or public roads. It also includes damage to their property. For example, if you crashed into another vehicle on the road, then your vehicle would not be covered, but the third parties would. This policy does not include any damages to a customer’s vehicle in the event of you working on it at your garage or workshop
Third party, fire and theft: This level of cover offers the same as above, except it also includes fire and theft to vehicles which you own.
Fully comprehensive: As the name suggests, it is all-inclusive. Everything available in the first two levels of road risks insurance is covered, including accidental damage. Additionally, a comprehensive insurance package includes damage to your own vehicles, and you can claim against the policy in the event that you sustain a personal injury.
Additional Cover in a Combined Policy
A basic road risks policy will not completely safeguard your motor trade business. However, by combining several other riders or add-on policies, you will be able to make a customised mechanical repairer insurance policy to suit all your business needs.
Here are just some of the add-on covers you can take on top of your road risks insurance policy.
Business premises insurance gives protection for the structure of your buildings and can be taken out whether you own or lease your premises. It can cover you if your business premises are damaged or destroyed, paying out for repairs and rebuild costs. If you are leasing, check first with your landlord whether they have insurance and on what basis so that you aren’t duplicating any cover. This cover will not over your stock and equipment and should be added to your policy separately.
- Tools and equipment cover
The list of expensive equipment you need to run your business can be extensive. Diagnostic electronic equipment, ramps, lifting tables, tyre fitting gear, hydraulic platforms, pressure washers, fabrication machines, not to mention essential tools that you may keep on the premises.
Adequate tool and equipment cover protects your garage from theft, vandalism, fire and other accidents. As well as on-site, you can be covered for tools and equipment in transit too so any theft while on the move in your van is also insured.
Keeping spares to hand is important if you want to be able to make quick repairs for customers, whether at your garage or when using a mobile mechanics service. Stock and spare parts can quickly become an expensive asset in your business and need protecting. With such a cover, your stock is protected against damage due to fire, theft, and vandalism.
Stock cover is designed to protect you financially by securing your stock, ensuring you could continue to trade if any, or all, of your unsold goods were destroyed or stolen. You will generally need to keep an accurate, up-to-date stock check so you know how much stock in on your premises at any one time. This can then be used to estimate how you have lost in an incident and the value of the subsequent pay out.
If you run your garage from a business premises, you may want to choose combined premises insurance, which will include customer vehicles, cars and stock at your registered company building. This will provide cover for vehicles on your business premises overnight up to an agreed limit.
If you handle money on-site and store keys, you can be covered against theft. This may come within another add-on policy, so be sure to check before taking it out as separate cover.
This allows vehicles to be taken on a test drive by members of the public and would be useful if you were to sell the occasional vehicle as part of your business.
If you are an MOT station, then it’s worth investigating this insurance if you lost your licence for whatever reason.
- Business interruption insurance
Business interruption insurance can protect you if you suffer damage at your premises resulting from an insured event. This means that if you had, for example, a fire at your business premises and you were unable to trade, business interruption insurance would cover your profit and fixed expenses including staff salaries to tide you over while your building is being repaired and you get back up and running.
Liability Insurance to Reduce Risk
Working in a garage can be a risky and dangerous environment not just for mechanics but other employees and members of the public. Mechanical repairer insurance can cover a full range of liability insurance to help safeguard your business in the event of any claims made against you.
These are the main types of liability insurance for your motor trade business:
Public liability insurance – If you allow customers to enter your garage, you are exposing yourself to a possible liability claim in the event a client is injured or hurt on your business premises. This could include any slips on oil or trips over equipment, whereby a customer sustains an injury. Public liability insurance will also help to protect you against being sued if you cause injury or damage whilst working at a client’s premises or home. You will also be covered for any legal fees that may be incurred.
Employers’ liability insurance – This is a legal requirement for any business with employees. It protects against claims of alleged work injury from members of staff. If you have full- or part-time employees, you will need to have £5 million worth of cover. If an accident occurs and you do not have sufficient cover, you could be prosecuted.
Product liability insurance – This protects you if an item being worked on is accidentally damaged, such as scratching the paintwork or dripping oil on leather upholstery. This type of liability insurance also protects you against the cost of compensation for personal injuries and damage caused by a faulty product sold, or defective workmanship when fitting the part.
Despite a full inspection, mistakes do happen. If a customer were to drive their car away and the brakes failed, this could lead to serious damage to the driver, the vehicle as well as any third parties. If you have product liability insurance you will be covered for the repair or replacement costs, as well as legal expenses if the case were to go to court.
How Much Does Mechanical Repairer Insurance Cost?
This will vary greatly and is dependent on the size of your business, number of employees, experience of your team and the location of your company. If you want to reduce the cost of your mechanical repairer insurance, keep in mind some of the pointers below.
- Limit the number of employees on your road risks policy and employ experienced drivers with few (or no) motoring convictions or claims.
- Reduce the work that you do on more high-end or classic cars.
- Control the range of motor trade activity that you carry out. Rather than offering too many services such as vehicle sales or breakdown and recovery, focus on a main area of business.
- Ensure that you build-up your no claims history on your policy and keep an eye on any employees who may regularly be causing claims
- Install adequate on-site security including sturdy perimeter fencing, floodlights, approved security locks and alarms, barriers (e.g., pull-up bollards), secure safe boxes for money and keys and specialised CCTV and surveillance equipment approved by your insurance broker.
- When choosing the location of your business, think about the surrounding area and if it has high or low crime. It can seriously affect your premiums in the long-term if your premises are deemed to be in a risky area.
Mobile Mechanics Insurance
Mobile mechanics require a specialised policy to cover all associated risks. If you are embarking on a career as a mobile mechanic rather than setting up at a premises, it’s likely some of your insurance needs will be different to those with a larger company.
Road risks insurance – As with larger companies, all motor trade vehicles need some form of road risks insurance. This comes in the form of third party, third party fire and theft or fully comprehensive. Budget will be the significant factor in which insurance you choose to buy.
Tools in transit cover – Vans unfortunately are a magnet for thieves, so it’s always a good idea to have your tools covered on your mobile mechanical repairer insurance policy. An insurer will expect you to empty your van of tools at nights unless it is being kept at a gated and secured premises. It’s also a good idea to install slam locks on your vehicle, which automatically lock behind you.
Public liability – This is essential when you’re working on other people’s vehicles. This can cover you if someone gets injured or their property damaged due to something you did whilst working on their vehicle. This could be the owner tripping over a jack you left lying around or a tool slipping and denting the bodywork. This cover will also include any legal fees you may incur.
Breakdown cover – When you work as a mobile mechanic, the reliability of your vehicle is essential for you to earn a living. Therefore, you want to be sure that if your vehicle breaks down while on the road, you’ll be assisted quickly and efficiently. If you don’t already have breakdown cover in place, then you should strongly consider having it included as part of your mobile mechanical repairer insurance policy.
How Much Will Mobile Mechanics Insurance Cost?
We know just how tough it can be when starting out with a new business. The younger you are, unfortunately, the more expensive your insurance is likely to be. At Tradex, we offer special packages, such as our Bonus Booster, which offers those with no bonus a six-month policy to accrue a year’s no claims discount which can subsequently be used on a full-term motor trade insurance policy.
The main factors that can affect the price of your mobile mechanical repairer insurance include:
You are under 25 – It can be tough for younger drivers to get started in the motor trade industry, especially when you are working alone. If you are under the age of 25, you will pay more for cover. However, there are many specialist motor trade insurance companies like Tradex that are sympathetic to younger drivers. You can get a reasonable price if you are able to demonstrate safe and sensible driving by having a clean driving licence, a black box to record your driving skills or have accrued some no claims history.
The level of cover you take out – The level of cover you take out will influence how much you will need to pay out. Third party is the cheapest option but remember this will not cover your van should you be involved in an accident that is deemed your fault.
Your van’s value – A more valuable, higher powered van is going to cost you a lot to insure, especially if you are opting for a fully comprehensive package. Look out for a van that is in a lower insurance group bracket and more reasonably priced.
Making sure your van is secure – Any insurance broker will be looking to see that you have taken the necessary steps to make sure your van is secure. Alarms, immobilisers, steering locks and rear blacked out windows all help to keep your van and the contents safe.
Where your van is parked –Ideally you should have a locked garage to park your van in as this provides the most security and is favoured by insurance brokers. Failing this, a private driveway is a better option than parking on the street, which is considered to be the least safe choice and leaves your van more vulnerable to thieves and vandals.
Saving Money on Mobile Mechanics Insurance
Putting together a mechanical repairer insurance policy when starting out can seem expensive. However, there are some things you can do to try and keep your costs to a minimum.
Find a good broker – a good insurance broker will not just search for the best deal available; they will make sure every add-on included in your policy is necessary and offers the best value for your business.
Get many quotes – It’s always a good idea to get many quotes from a lot of different insurance providers to make sure you are being offered the best mobile mechanics insurance for your hard-earned money. Having more choice will prevent you from overspending and allow you to select the policy with the most value.
Pay annually – If you offer to pay up front in full you are likely to receive a good discount on your overall policy. It may mean a larger outlay when money is tight, but it is one less cost to worry about as you progress your business.
Van security – As already mentioned, how secure your van is will impact costs. Most modern vans now come with immobilisers and alarms fitted as standard.
What if I Only Work Part-Time as a Mechanic?
Many people only work part-time as a mechanic and therefore you should be able to find a suitable part-time mechanical repairers insurance policy that will provide the level of cover suited to your business and your needs as an individual trader.
You can select whatever type of cover you feel you need to a part-time policy, including road risks, premises cover, money and keys cover, liability insurance and legal expenses.
How much the part-time mechanic insurance policy might cost will depend on factors similar to a full-time policy. This includes your age – if you are under 23 years of age, you will be considered high risk and your insurance costs will reflect that.
Other considerations include the type of business you run and how secure you have made your premises. If it doesn’t have any real security measures in place, it is more is more likely to be a target for thieves and vandals so you can expect to pay more for your insurance cover.
Trading Up from a Mobile Mechanic to Garage Premises
If you change from home-based or mobile mechanical trading to garage premises, your business will obviously need a much broader range of insurance cover.
A mechanical repairers combined insurance policy is more likely to meet your needs. It is designed for motor traders that work in business premises and employ several staff. Combined cover will offer additional items such as equipment, tools, and buildings and contents if required.
Keep in mind the following if you are thinking of trading up:
- Changes to your motor trade activity
Whilst activities such as mechanical repairs, MOT servicing and bodywork are considered low risk, venturing into breakdown recovery or salvage are considered a higher risk and will increase your insurance costs. The same goes for a move towards high-end or performance vehicles. More space does mean additional business opportunities but be careful about your insurance premiums and how they will be affected.
- Location of your premises
Whilst finding premises in a less desirable location will keep your building costs lower, it could also be in an area of high crime which will undoubtedly reduce the number of insurance companies that will cover your business. Less choice of insurer means the likelihood of higher premiums. Always do your due diligence when choosing a property, thinking about crime as well as flooding.
- Security of your premises
A bigger business means increased equipment, tools, stock, and numbers of customers’ vehicles kept overnight on your premises. CCTV, security alarms and security lighting should be top of your priority when setting up in a new location. Strong fencing and lockable gates will help to deter thieves and keep your insurance broker more satisfied that you are doing everything to keep your business safe and secure.
It’s likely you will need to start employing staff to help grow your business. If this is the case, you will need to invest in employers’ liability insurance as a legal requirement to make sure you are covered should someone suffer a workplace injury.
Adding drivers to your road risks policy can prove costly, especially if they are young or less experienced. Unless absolutely necessary for your business expansion, try to keep the number of drivers to a minimum if you want to reduce your premiums.
An experienced motor trade insurance broker will have dealt with thousands of businesses just like yours and will be able to walk you through your insurance needs whether it’s as a mobile mechanic or a larger business.