Bailee’s Customer’s Coverage


Dry cleaners, computer repair shops, parking valets, jewelers, and auto body shops

have more in common than you might think — at least from a risk standpoint. They

all take responsibility for property they do not own while performing a service.

 

 

Along with taking possession of property not owned comes the risk of damage or destruction

while the property is under the care, custody, and control of another. To obtain

protection from this risk, these types of business owners acquire Bailee’s Customer’s

Coverage.

 

 

What is Bailee’s Customer’s Coverage?

 

 

Bailee’s customer’s coverage is insurance protection against legal liability resulting

from destruction or damage of a bailor’s (customer or client) property while under

the temporary possession of a bailee (business service provider).

 

 

In other words, the bailee is the organization or individual that takes temporary

custody of someone else’s property, while a bailor is the customer entrusting the

bailee with her property. A bailee is tasked with the same responsibility of care

as he would if it was his own property. The coverage becomes effective as soon as

the bailee issues a receipt to the bailor for the property.

 

 

Examples:

 

 

  • An automobile bodyshop owner would be the bailee, and the car owner would be thebailor.

 

  • A dry cleaning owner would be the bailee, and the customer who is having clothescleaned is the bailor.

 

  • A computer repair shop owner is the bailee, and the computer owner is the bailor.

 

For instance, if a dress is damaged while under a dry cleaner’s control, bailee’s

customers insurance will pay for the damages.

 

 

This type of insurance coverage includes property that is on the bailee’s premises

or is in transit to or from. Numerous covered perils are typically included in bailee’s

customers insurance, include fire, explosion, flood, earthquake, lightening, burglary,

theft, robbery, collision, or destruction or damage resulting from transportation.

Coverage commonly excludes damage to property as a result of insects or vermin.

 

 

As is often the case, many bailees incorrectly think that their standard business

insurance coverage will protect their customer’s property while they perform a service

and while it’s under their control. However, this is not correct. Most general liability

policies have exclusions for property of others in their custody, care, or control.

Further, property insurance isn’t intended to cover property you do not own. In

most cases, protection for bailees is excluded from general policies, which is why

a separate bailee’s customer coverage policy is so important.

 

 

While some businesses try to protect themselves from liability for property of others

by having their customers sign disclaimers of liability, hold harmless agreements

or waiver of subrogation contracts, there is a distinction between bailment and

contract law. And contracts have seen courts overturn them because a bailee cannot

simply contract away her legal liabilities.

 

 

That said, if your business is involved in bailment situations like the ones described

above, consider purchasing bailee’s customer’s coverage insurance to protect your

risk of financial loss.

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