What to Do When an Automatic Car Wash Damaged Your Car

Automatic car washes use high-quality technology to avoid accidents, but mishaps can happen at any time — Maybe when your car is in there. What should you do when your car gets damaged by the automatic car wash?

  • Read the Damage Policy of the Car Wash
  • Inspect Your Car Thoroughly Before & After Visiting the Car Wash
  • Fill Out the Incident Report
  • Wait for the Insurance Company’s Decision
  • Get a Lawyer Involved

It’s likely to get paid for your car damages by the automatic car wash if you execute things in a sequence.

In this article, I will explain how you can get paid for your car wash damages by the automatic car wash, how to find the liable party, and if insurance covers car wash damages — Read on to find out.

Read the Damage Policy of the Car Wash

Most car owners forget to read the car wash policy before using their services. That one-page document haunts them back when the car gets damaged during the washing process.

A car wash damage policy contains essential legal points that apply to the cars damaged or claimed to be damaged during an automatic car wash process. Car washes need it to clarify who is to be held liable for the damages.

If you’re looking to visit a car wash, don’t forget to read the car wash’s original damage policy. It will clarify most of your doubts.

Sometimes, people don’t put effort into reading such legal documents due to the fact that they know that it will be mentioned that “The car wash won’t be responsible for any damages.”

But that’s not the case every time. By reading the car wash damage policy, you will get some details that will be helpful when your car meets an unfortunate accident in a car wash.

Even if there is a slight chance of proving the car wash liable for the damage, it’s worth reading the car wash policy. Also, it creates a bad legal impression that the car owner didn’t bat an eye on the damage policy, and you may end up having no moral right to ask for compensation.

If it’s clearly stated in the policy that “Under any circumstances, car wash won’t be liable for any car damages,” Do yourself a favor and go to another car wash.

Inspect Your Car Thoroughly Before & After Visiting the Car Wash

Considering that the car wash damages your car, it’s important to check your vehicle thoroughly and make sure that there are no hidden damages.

Sometimes, minor damage starts a chain reaction of technical damages in the car, putting heavy burdens on your pocket.

It doesn’t take long to inspect your car fully but will save you from the hassle of returning to the car wash, which will make your case weaker.

If you don’t find anything suspicious or changed in your car, you’re good to go. But let’s say you spot an issue with the car, then immediately bring it to the car wash manager’s notice.

In most cases, car wash employees will listen to your concerns and will propose a solution. If the case doesn’t resolve here, you can move on to the next step.

Fill Out the Incident Report

You drive your car into the car wash facility, and it comes way different than expected — It’s damaged. It’s time to fill out an incident report.

An incident report is a straightforward guide for the insurance companies and law enforcement authorities, which describes the extent of the damages to your car.

After inspecting the car damages, fill out an incident report given by the car wash and make sure you mention all the details correctly. 

Don’t be shy writing even if there is a small scratch.

Here are some details you should expect to mention in the report:

  • Details of the Car Wash
  • Time of the Incident
  • Location of the Incident
  • Likely Cause of the Incident

Presuming that you go home without filing an incident or damage report, your chances of getting compensated are almost none. It will be difficult for you to prove that the car wash caused the damages to your car.

Don’t expect to get a dime in return without submitting an incident report.

Ask the car wash owner to give you a copy of the incident report as a matter of record.

Wait for the Insurance Company’s Decision

Here comes the part which may take several days to complete. Insurance companies don’t respond in a short time. Don’t expect them to get back to you urgently.

Be patient and wait for the insurance company to make a decision. If they find your complaint valid, the car wash will be obliged to pay you for the damages.

Usually, the car wash owner estimates the lowest cost associated with the car damage — Don’t rely on their estimates and calculate your own to check if the compensation is in your best interest.

Contact the insurance company if you have any concerns to be resolved.

The car wash will try not to exceed its losses, and therefore, it’s likely that they will deny your claims.

In such cases, you should take this matter to another level.

Get a Lawyer Involved

If you feel that you’re not getting paid enough, find a legal advisor to help you out.

Fight for your legal rights, and don’t succumb to any pressure from the car wash.

If the car wash is indeed responsible for the damages to your car, the owner will avoid involving your lawyer in the case and will work for the settlement.

Are Car Washes Liable For Scratches?

Car washes are liable for scratches when their negligence is proved, and their damage policy doesn’t support them. If you can prove their negligence to a small claims court, they will be liable to pay for the damages.

As I mentioned above, the damage policy of the car wash saves them most of the time. But still, there can be a loophole in it.

I know a case when the car wash paid for a complete repaint of the hood when the car had a scratch. The car wash owner was courteous enough to pay for the whole hood repaint.

The question is — Will your car wash’s owner do the same in case of such an incident?

Does Insurance Cover Car Wash Damage?

The car wash insurance company will be liable for the damages proved to be caused by the car wash. The insurance company will have to cover the expenses in case of liability and pay for the damages after calculating an estimate.

If you have dealt with insurance companies before, you might know how insurance companies try to act in case of a claim. They will try to minimize their losses (your compensation) so as to make as much profit as possible.

But you should not worry as long as you’re getting the deserving compensation from the insurance company.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t forget to read the car wash damage policy.
  • Inspect your car before and after visiting the car wash.
  • Your car wash will ask you to fill out an incident report in any mishap situation.
  • Car wash insurance companies will pay for your damages if the car wash is liable.
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge