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Safely storing commercial vehicles during the COVID-19 crisis

May 14, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing car dealerships and other businesses to temporarily relocate their fleets. Our new report shares vehicle protection tips.


When businesses are forced to temporarily relocate their dealership vehicles, as has happened for many because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s important they take the necessary steps to help protect their investment.

Zurich’s Risk Engineers have prepared a report, “Temporary Storage of Dealership Inventory,” to offer useful tips to help keep dealership vehicles safe from harm. These tips, while directed to auto dealerships, will be of interest to any company that must relocate vehicles.

Preliminary considerations before moving vehicles

This information is valid for any event that may necessitate vehicle relocation, such as natural disasters, economic downturns, civil unrest and yes, a pandemic. When management decides this is the proper course of action, here are three points to remember:

  • Contact your insurance broker or underwriter to discuss the insurance implications of moving your vehicles to a separate storage area.
  • Be aware of the four major exposures that your dealership inventory will face in the new location: fire, theft, malicious damage and natural catastrophe (hail, high winds, floods, etc.).
  • If possible, try to keep the accumulated value of your relocated vehicle inventory as low as possible. For example, parked vehicles should be emptied of valuable stock or tools to reduce the risk of theft. Consider relocating expensive, hard-to-replace vehicles, such as luxury brands or rare cars, to indoor, protected areas, if possible.

Choosing the new site

The Zurich report includes checklists to help businesses choose the best sites for relocated vehicles, as well as questions to ask before committing to a space:

  • What are the physical characteristics of the site? Are there low-lying areas where localized flooding could occur? How long would it take a fire department to respond to the area? If the parking is inside a structure, is it equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system?
  • Is security adequate? Is the storage area fenced with a single entrance/exit? Is lighting provided to illuminate the entire storage area? Does the site have security cameras? Do guards patrol the area?

Properly parking relocated vehicles

It’s important to park vehicles with enough space between them. This will help reduce the speed at which a fire could spread. It also will make it easier to tow and/or transport them.

Ongoing maintenance

Remember that vehicles in storage will still require regular attention. For example, running the engines occasionally will keep the batteries charged and circulate oil and other fluids. Work with your staff or vendors to establish a regular maintenance schedule.

Relocating dealership inventory of vehicles is never an easy decision, but sometimes it’s the best one. Taking steps to protect the safety and security of your vehicles will help ensure that they can be returned to your lot when operations return to normal.

Find many more safety tips in the Zurich report, “Temporary Storage of Vehicles.”

Visit our Coronavirus Resource Hub