Common claims for caravan & motorhome dealerships
Mar 29, 2012
Prevention of accidents
Preventing claims should be a high priority for caravan and motorhome dealers. Through good risk management it is possible to prevent many accidents occurring, which can help to reduce insurance premiums and improve profitability. In this article we take a look at some of the most common claims from dealers.
1. Fall/slip from caravan steps (often when in the showrooms and/or forecourts)
This is one of the most common claims from caravan & motorhome dealers. Some dealers don’t put the steps out at the vans but provide a stack, to take from, at the entrance to the dealership. Unfortunately all too often steps can slip or move during use and cause injuries to visitors leading to claims against your public indemnity insurance.
There are differing types of steps and they will react in different ways depending on the ground surface. It can often be totally impractical to secure them to the floor. A rubber pad under the steps' feet can help to prevent sliding.
It is unlikely manufacturers will install fitted steps, as they do on most motorhomes, but we would be interested in any good ideas that you have to prevent these incidents.
2. Slips/Trips on site
Forty people died and £800 million was lost across all industry sectors due to slips, trips and falls at work in 2010*. It is extremely important to have a full risk assessment of your business to highlight any potential hazards and remove them from the workplace where possible.
3. Loss of metered water - burst underground pipes
It is important to review your utility invoice regularly to ensure there are no large increases as this may indicate that there is a water leak from your pipework. The earlier the issue can be identified the better as not only will this reduce the amount lost but some insurers impose time limits on the reporting of such claims. Regular inspection of pipework, where possible, is to be recommended.
4. Damage to caravans whilst in storage (being moved etc)
In general this should be a relatively simple task of parking the unit up in a secure storage location and leaving it there until such time as the customer wishes to use the unit again.
Unfortunately problems can arise when the customer comes back to pick their unit up and notices a scratch or dent on the unit. In some cases the customer may blame you for causing the damage whilst the unit has been in your care and, unless you are able to show the damage was there when the unit went into storage, you may find that you end up dealing with any subsequent repairs.
Your position could be greatly improved by adopting some pre-storage procedures whereby you note the condition of the caravan as it goes into storage and, in particular, note any damage to the caravan at that time. The customer would then sign a form confirming the existence, or otherwise, of any damage so there would be no arguments once the unit came back out of storage.
In the age of digital photography and smart telephones etc it may also be useful to take photographs of each unit, prior to it going into storage, to back up the procedure.
This will, inevitably, add a little time to the pre storage procedure but prevent any arguments and ill feeling once the unit comes back out of storage. Click to download a pre storage inspection form.
5. General theft on sites
Anything from personal items to copper wiring/piping etc - copper being very topical at the moment as it is present in air conditioning units. On one unfortunate occasion a client had four air-conditioning units stolen, and the thieves waited for replacement to take place before returning again. It is important to review general site security and compound security on a regular basis.
6. Theft by deception
There are a number of ways in which people can commit theft by deception. It may involve creating information which is false, or failing to correct false information, such as pretending to have professional certifications or pretending to be someone else by adopting their identity. Likewise, failing to disclose information which could be relevant to a transaction, or preventing someone from accessing relevant information, are also forms of deception.
There have been a number of issues recently surrounding the fraudulent use of credit cards and it is therefore important to make as many checks on the purchaser as possible to clarify their identity before releasing or delivering vehicles/caravans. Dealers could ask for a driving licence, utility bills and other information to verify that the identity of the buyer corresponds with the details on the method of payment.
7. Vehicle Servicing
There have been claims emanating from damage to a vehicle following inadequate servicing. It is important that checks are made to ensure work has been completed in good order against a checklist/menu of servicing.
8. Theft of catalytic convertors
Catalytic convertor theft has increased lately because of the increasing value of scrap metal, catalytic converters are made from a honeycomb of different metals that will sell for a good price. They have to be removed delicately to ensure the vehicle remains in good condition however, thieves are pulling them off with no concern for the vehicle damage. Caravans and motorhomes have a lot of space underneath and are easier to access. Ensuring your premises are secure will help to reduce the risk of such thefts.
*Statistics from http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2010/hse-1232010.htm