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Working in the motor trade means you don’t just need to have your own vehicles insured, but you need coverage for those you come into contact with, too. Then there is also your equipment, premises, and the wellbeing of other people to consider. In the event of an accident, the financial implications can be severe, particularly when there is personal injury to a member of staff or a member of the public. In these cases, an insurance claim is pretty much inevitable.

But not all accidents are the same and there are situations where you may choose not to tell your motor trade insurer about the incident. Minor dents and scrapes might be cheaper to fix yourself. Here’s what you need to know about when to tell your motor trade insurer about an incident.

Is the damage easy to repair?

If your business has the ability to fix bumps, scrapes or minor mechanical problems, claiming on insurance might not make economic sense. A claim – no matter how small – might impact your future insurance policies by affecting your no-claims bonus. Your new policy will cost more if you’ve previously made claims, so balance the cost of repairing minor damage yourself against what it might cost in increased premiums.

There is also a cost in terms of time. Taking on repairs yourself puts you in charge and you can turn around the repairs quickly. Claiming through insurance might require an inspector to visit to assess the damage before the repairs are started and it could take longer.

So covering the cost of repairs might, in the short term, cost you time and money, but the long-term benefits might outweigh the upfront outlay. If you want to clarify whether it’s worth claiming or not, contact a motor trade insurance broker. They have the experience to assess your situation and ensure you make the right decision for your situation and finances.

Has your property been stolen?

Commercial properties are a target for thieves looking for expensive vehicles and equipment, and this kind of loss has a huge financial impact. In the first instance, always contact the Gardai to report the theft. These records will be required by your motor trade insurance in the event of a claim. If your belongings are not recovered and you make a claim, you will receive a payout of the market value of the item minus the policy excess. Again, if the theft is of items of minor value you might decide to cover the cost yourself to protect your repayments. However it’s likely that covering the costs yourself will be prohibitively expensive so cover for theft is absolutely essential.

What to do after a fire or flood?

Damage from fires or floods in a showroom or garage can be devastating, costing hundreds of thousands of euro to replace stock and equipment. Check your fire and flood coverage when you are looking for insurance, and compare what is offered. Some policies might not cover you for vehicles kept on site, and smaller traders who work from home should clarify what is covered on your home insurance and what falls under business. As soon as possible after the event, call your broker to see what level of fire cover you have.

A further impact from this kind of destructive event is that your business might be unable to trade for weeks or even months afterwards. Business Interruption Insurance is essential in this scenario – it will allow you to continue working while you get your business back on its feet.

How do I protect other people?

If someone is injured in your vehicle or at your premises, the first thing to do is ensure they are safe and call the emergency services if appropriate. Once the initial situation has abated, call your insurer to assess the implications of the accident. Public Liability and Employers’ Liability insurances will protect you in the event of a claim. Your insurance company might advise that you stop or limit trading, or oftentimes regular daily activities can still be conducted.

Still unsure?

If you are considering making a claim, call your broker to explain the situation and see what they advise. And remember, there is no substitute for having the right insurance for your particular circumstances, so talk to your broker about the best motor trade insurance for you.