Insurance for Car Wash Fundraisers

It is a sad fact that lawsuits are a common occurrence in today’s non-profit organizations. A good event insurance policy will protect your non-profit’s funds against lawsuits in the event that there is a mishap, professional slip and fall fraudster or other similar circumstances. They are out there, and will target your group if you think they can make money from a lawsuit. This is a sad reality, but you must protect your group and yourself.


A gas station usually has an umbrella policy that covers almost anything, even special events. But this is not always true. They may not always have this policy, but they might be unsure about the coverage. In these cases, they will require you to purchase insurance for your event. They can rest assured knowing that they are protected.

This type of insurance is already in place for school districts. These types of events are common at your local high school throughout the summer.

General liability insurance is required for events held in commercial shopping centers. Event Insurance will typically cost between $50.00 and $75.00, but can go up to $150.00 if you need additional insurance certificates. The majority of shopping center property managers will be looking to re-assign their liability. They will require a letter from the group, a drawing of the layout and wash area, and insurance.

They will likely allow you to have your car washed on their property if you provide the items. This is a good publicity opportunity for both the center and their tenants. Because resurfacing can be expensive, they may be worried about the soaps that you use on their lots.

What type of insurance should you request? For a car wash fundraiser, ask for “event insurance”. Ask the insurance agent/broker basic questions like:

The event date

The event will last for hours

The location of the event

What amount of money do you expect to make on the day of the event?

Are you going to move the cars?

How many certificates of insurance do you need?

Are you looking for additional insurance certificates?

Many of these questions are easy to answer, such as “who, what, when,” “where,” and “how”. Perhaps you have never thought of moving vehicles. Even if you have never moved a car, your answer should be “yes.” The vehicle is technically yours if you get out of your car and leave the key in the ignition, and then walk over to purchase a soda or hotdog from your fundraiser. Legally, the vehicle is your custody, care and control. This may require a “garage keeper’s insurance endorsement”. What amount of money can you expect to make on the day?

Although it may appear that your group is the only one who needs these certificates, some policies, including event policies, can be based on gross sales. How many certificates do you need? This may be something you don’t know. You will need one for the property owner. The only reason you’re talking to an insurance agent/broker about a property owner is because they requested one. This is something you might want to consider for a moment.

You can buy insurance for yourself, but what about insurance for your family? It might be worth getting a certificate for your group. Are you a member of a national group Perhaps they have insurance or are self-insured. You might be able to save some money if their limits of liability meet the property owner’s requirements. The limits of liability for your event can usually be negotiated.

Gas station owners might settle for $100,000 in single limit liability and $300,000. aggregate. Your agent or broker can help you determine if this is the case. They can assure property owners that their insurance company is A+ rated and that they are fully covered in case of an accident. I have done over 100 car washes and not had an accident. This is why I recommend the $100,000/$30,000 limits. It’s a good coverage amount if the property owner accepts it. You may need to purchase liability insurance if the property owner wants a million dollars. It will be more expensive.

What are additional insured certificates? This certificate is proof of insurance and a certificate of insurance. It indicates that the property owner is also insured by the insurance company. This is important as a non-profit organization with very little income might want to sue wealthy property owners if someone passes by and slips on water.

Your group would probably not be holding a car wash fundraiser if they had thousands of dollars. Attorneys typically get 30% of settlements in personal injury cases. This is why they are keen to pursue the big money. An attorney might not have any problem going after a nonprofit if you are a member of a national organization like the Boy Scouts of America, or the American Cancer Society. It is not surprising that national organizations and property owners are often the targets of slip-and-fall suits.

It’s not your fault if they seem hesitant. There are too many lawyers. Property owners hire property managers to manage their real estate investments. These property managers are responsible for handling tenant complaints, collecting rent and lease money, maintaining the property, and protecting property owners from any liability. When speaking to property owners, assure them that they won’t block traffic and won’t take up more parking space than necessary. In fact, your fundraiser will increase traffic to the center and help merchants. You should let them know that your intention is not to trample on the landscaping. You may need a one-page letter explaining all this. Consider insurance for any upcoming fundraising events.