Finding the right insurance for your gas station is an important step in protecting your business and achieving long-term success.
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When you run a gas station, you face a high level of risk from a number of sources. Your gas station could be affected by fires, explosions, crime, customers suffering injury on your premises, or other hazards. Business insurance can provide financial protection that will help your business cope with unexpected incidents.
What insurance coverage do I need for my gas station?
There are many types of insurance coverage to consider, but these policies are particularly relevant to gas stations:
Commercial property insurance covers the value of your business property, including buildings, furniture, computers, equipment, supplies, and other property. Gas stations have a particularly high property damage exposure because gasoline, oil, propane, and other fuels are highly flammable, and there is a risk of fires or explosions. If a fire, storm, or other disaster damages your property, repairs or replacements can be costly. Commonly covered causes of loss include fire, storms, hail, explosion, water damage, and vandalism.
- A fire breaks out at your gas station, damaging equipment and your convenience store building. Your commercial property insurance would pay to replace damaged equipment and inventory, as well as pay to repair your building.
Gas stations need their property to be open to customers to maintain their income. If property damage forces your gas station to close temporarily, you would lose significant income but would still need to pay fixed operating expenses like rent, utilities, and payroll. Business interruption insurance, also called business income insurance, is commonly added to a commercial property policy in order to provide coverage for loss of income and operating expenses related to property damage.
- A major storm damages your gas station, and you must close it while repairs are completed. Business interruption insurance will cover operating expenses and lost income while you are temporarily closed.
General liability insurance covers incidents of accidental third-party property damage, bodily injury, personal injury, and advertising injury. This is a crucial coverage for gas stations since they are visited by large numbers of customers on a daily basis. Risk of injury is particularly high during inclement weather, as customers can be exposed to wet, icy, or muddy flooring. Customers could slip or trip and injure themselves, and your gas station could be held liable for their injuries.
General liability insurance also provides coverage for injury or damage caused by your products and completed operations. This is particularly relevant for gas stations that operate a repair shop, and it can also apply to food items sold at your gas station. If someone becomes ill after eating food purchased at your gas station, or if a car part is installed incorrectly and ends up damaging a customer’s property or causing an injury, this coverage will step in to pay for the damages.
- Bodily injury: On a rainy day, a customer slips and falls on a wet floor in your gas station convenience store, fracturing her elbow. General liability insurance will cover medical bills and provide funds for legal defense and settlement if the customer sues.
- Products and completed operations: A customer suffers food poisoning after purchasing a hot dog from your convenience store. He sues your company. Your product liability insurance would cover your legal fees and any resulting settlements.
Pollution liability insurance covers bodily injury, property damage, and cleanup costs caused by pollutants that are released in the course of your company’s work. Gas stations have a high exposure to this type of liability because they store and dispense gasoline and may operate a service center that uses motor oil, solvents, and other chemicals. Because gas stations typically use underground storage tanks, you’ll need to purchase underground storage tank coverage.
If you are held liable for causing pollution-related damage, you may be required to pay for costly cleanup costs and fines. Pollution liability insurance will provide financial support if your company causes environmental damage.
- One of your underground storage tanks springs a leak and gasoline seeps into the ground. Your pollution liability insurance would cover cleanup costs.
Gas stations rely heavily on equipment such as gas pumps and automatic car washes, as well as convenience store equipment such as refrigerators. If equipment breaks down, it can impact your ability to continue operating. Although some business owners may believe that commercial property insurance would cover these situations, equipment breakdowns are typically excluded from commercial property coverage.
Commercial property insurance covers damage to equipment caused by covered perils, like a fire or storm. If a piece of equipment breaks down due to something internal, like a mechanical failure, equipment breakdown insurance can step in, providing funds to repair or replace damaged equipment and cover lost business income while the equipment is out of commission.
- Your gas station’s automated car wash suffers a mechanical failure and cannot operate. Repair parts will take weeks to come in, and your car wash must close until it can be repaired. Your equipment breakdown insurance would pay for repairs and any loss of income while your car wash is temporarily closed.
Commercial crime insurance provides financial protection from losses caused by theft, fraud, robbery, burglary, forgery, or other crimes. Coverage applies both to crimes committed by outside parties and crimes committed by your own employees. Gas stations face a high level of crime risk because they handle a large amount of cash, are open during nighttime and early morning hours when holdups are more common, and may have a high employee turnover rate. Although gas stations can take steps to reduce crime risks, commercial crime insurance is still a critical coverage to obtain.
- Someone robs your gas station and steals thousands of dollars from your cash registers. Your commercial crime insurance would cover the loss.
Working at a gas station can be dangerous due to the potential for holdups, slip and fall injuries, or other accidents, and operating a repair shop adds even more potential sources of employee injury. Workers’ compensation insurance provides financial and medical benefits for your employees or their survivors in the case of a work-related injury, illness, or death. This coverage is legally required in almost all states, and companies may face severe fines or penalties if they do not follow their state’s guidelines for workers’ comp.
- One of your employees injures her back while lifting a case of drinks to shelve. Workers’ comp would pay for her medical bills and a portion of lost income while she is unable to work.
Commercial auto insurance is a particularly crucial coverage for gas stations that offer towing services or have company-owned vehicles. If your employees are involved in a car crash while driving for work purposes, commercial auto insurance can provide coverage for physical damage to vehicles, third-party bodily injury, and property damage. Commercial auto insurance can also provide coverage for damage to your vehicles caused by covered perils, including theft, falling objects, fire, and more.
- While towing a vehicle back to your gas station’s repair shop, your employee makes a left turn and strikes a pedestrian in the crosswalk. Your commercial auto insurance would provide coverage for the pedestrian’s injuries.
If your gas station also operates a repair shop, you’ll need garagekeepers insurance to cover customers’ vehicles left in your care. Garagekeepers insurance provides coverage for customers’ vehicles while they are at your gas station repair shop for repair, storage, or service. If an unexpected disaster damages a customer’s vehicle, garagekeepers insurance will cover you for the damages.
- While moving a customer’s car out to the parking lot after repairs, one of your employees accidentally backs into a retaining wall. Garagekeepers Insurance would cover the damages to the customer’s vehicle.
If your gas station sells alcohol, you could be held liable if a customer drinks too much and causes bodily injury or property damage. A customer who purchases alcohol from you, becomes intoxicated, and causes a car collision or starts a violent altercation with another person could result in liability for your company.
Many states have “dram shop” laws that hold businesses liable if they serve an intoxicated customer who later causes an accident or injury. Liquor liability insurance will protect your gas station if claims arise as a result of liquor liability. Commercial leases or liquor license laws may require you to have this coverage.
- An already-intoxicated customer purchases alcoholic beverages from your gas station and immediately begins drinking. The customer then gets into a fight with another customer, causing injuries. The injured person sues your business. Your liquor liability insurance would cover the lawsuit and any resulting settlements.
- A business owner’s policy (BOP) combines general liability, property, business income, and extra expense coverage into a single package. For qualifying small or midsize businesses, this type of insurance could help you obtain a wide range of coverage. Premiums for a business owner’s policy are typically cheaper than the cost of buying each coverage separately.
- Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) protects your business against lawsuits by prospective, current, or former employees accusing your business of wrongful treatment such as discrimination, harassment, or other employment-related issues.
- Cyber liability insurance can cover financial losses that result from cyber events such as data breaches, hacking, viruses, denial of service attacks, and more.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for car dealer insurance will vary based on the type of insurance coverage and the risk profile of your business. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a gas station business with a history of frequent claims will face higher premiums. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer coverage for gas stations:
|Provider||Business Interruption||Business Owner's Policy||Commercial Auto||Commercial Crime||Commercial Property||Cyber Liability||Employment Practices Liability||General Liability||Product Liability||Professional Liability||Workers' Compensation|
As you plan your insurance coverage, it’s important to be aware of the risks that could have an impact on your gas station. From accidental customer injuries to fires or robberies, there are many incidents that can have a major impact on your company’s finances. If your company must cope with an expensive accident or lawsuit, it could severely drain your resources. Business insurance can help your company deal with unexpected disasters and give you peace of mind, knowing that if a catastrophe occurs, your company will be financially protected.