#1 Overspray Insurance Mistake

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By Megan Headley

Overspray is not uncommon. A March 2015 article in Claims Journal noted that “more than 1,000 vehicles a day are damaged by paint overspray in the United States, resulting in more than half a billion dollars in damage and insurance claims annually.”

But if you're planning on your general liability insurance covering client or other claims around overspray, you may be surprised.  Insurance doesn’t always cover exactly what the claimant expects—which is why it pays to ensure your insurance company works quickly to resolve any overspray claims.

“Lack of the proper claim management often turns an inconvenience into a full-blown problem,” cautions Julie Dean, the founder and owner of OversprayRx, a national provider of overspray removal services. “It becomes difficult and often impossible to sell a claimant on overspray removal when they become hostile or insist upon new paint jobs and cash compensation.”

Dean says that it’s not unusual for claimants to seek independent estimates around car or house repaints. These companies may recommend unnecessary doing a complete repaint. If that amount exceeds what the insurance company agrees to pay, you could be on the hook for the additional fees. Worse still, body shops might suggest sharing proceeds from the insurance payment.

 “It can be very difficult to change a claimant’s mind once they are sold on new paint and moldings. And it can be impossible to overcome the allure of an unexpected kickback from an unscrupulous body shop,” Dean says.

A wind monitoring plan can be as simple as a windsock, but will depend upon the nature of the specific job.

Of course, there are a number of strategies contractors can take to limit overspray. For starters, working closely with your sprayer supplier to understand the appropriate pressure and tips for working in various environments is crucial. Containment, in some circumstances, also may be appropriate. But the frequency of this problem indicates that even the best planning can lead to occasional problems.

Dean notes that a wind monitoring plan is a simple, inexpensive way to identify and reduce overspray fallout claims, cross-contamination of structures and safety hazards. She suggests three steps for developing such a plan:

  1. Identify at-risk areas. Get to the highest vantage point possible and make note of parking lots and other locations where vehicles might be at risk. Overspray fallout frequently drifts over structures and vegetation to surrounding property. After surveying the area from a distance, do a ground assessment. Walk areas where your view was obstructed and make note of any additional liabilities.
  2. Choose your prevention tools. Three effective and economical prevention tools are hand-held weather monitors windsocks, and targets. An electronic hand-held weather monitor can provide accurate, real-time, recordable readings of ambient conditions, including wind. Some monitors can also record and save readings, useful features when mitigating liability issues in overspray fallout claims, coating failures and safety concerns. A windsock can be useful, but because wind speed and direction vary greatly at different elevations, several windsocks are often needed for effective monitoring. Finally, a target is any dark colored object placed strategically on the site to “catch” evidence of overspray. For example, black spray-painted boxes make effective targets.
  3. Train your crew. Make sure your crew knows how to use your wind monitoring tools. Your painters also should be familiar with the at-risk locations and know how to identify the signs of a potential issue. Consider also designating one member of your crew to monitor the wind. The designated person can use a whistle, she suggests, as a job stop alarm in the event of a hazard.

For more information on overspray, read the full article in APC Magazine.

Megan Headley is the managing editor of APC Magazine. She can be reached at editorial@paintmag.com



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sprayer, overspray, overspray removal,

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