When winter rolls around it brings flurries, snowmen, and holiday presents with it. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but it also brings some not-so-fun things. Like new risks for business owners to consider.

And auto dealerships are not immune to these risks. So what are some of the risks you should be on the lookout for?

Slips, trips, and falls

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But it’s also, arguably, the most slippery time of the year.

While someone could slip, trip, or fall on your property at any point, it’s a particularly prevalent concern in the winter. As the temperature drops and snow and ice start to blanket the streets, the chances of taking a tumble increase.

And falls are a major concern at any time of the year. A 2015 report on the cost of injuries in Canada from Parachute, a national charitable organization, found that the vast majority of injuries in Canada are both predictable and preventable. Every hour, 427 people in Canada suffer a preventable injury as a result of a fall, a motor vehicle crash, a fire, poisoning, drowning, or other activity.

Luckily, there are some ways to mitigate these risks. It’s particularly important to make sure that when customers are walking outside – looking at cars or simply making their way to your building – they have a clear path. So shoveling snow out of the way and using salt to clear ice regularly is important. It’s also a good idea to redirect any downspouts that currently drain water onto parking lots or walkways, as that can cause ice to build up.

But the dangers don’t end once customers have entered your building. Tracked-in snow can melt and leave puddles. An employee should be regularly checking these water-prone areas so that they can clean up any pooled water quickly, and “wet floor” signs can be placed. Non-slip tile and skid-resistant mats are also a good idea.

And just like during any other time of the year, it’s important to make sure floors, aisles, and exits are clean and free of clutter. Adequate lighting should also be provided where patrons walk, especially in areas where they may be walking at night.


No matter the time of year, car dealerships are in danger of being targeted by criminals. Car thefts happen often, and span across the country. Earlier this year, two teenagers were charged with stealing a number of vehicles in daylight from car dealerships in Winnipeg. In fact, between 2015 and 2016, there was a 41 per cent increase in auto thefts in Edmonton, averaging out to 13 stolen cars every day.

Car thefts are more common than you might think. In fact, between 2015 and 2016 there was a 41 per cent increase in auto thefts in Edmonton, averaging out to 13 stolen cars every day.

And criminals are getting creative, too. Calgary police recently warned of a new auto theft trend, in which vehicles are stolen during test drives.  Offenders use fake driver’s licenses to take cars for test drives, leaving the vehicles they arrived in as collateral. But once on the test drive, an accomplice arrives to drive off in the original vehicle.

So car dealerships have to take extra precautions to ensure they’re safe from robbery. An alarm system is a good place to start, as well as a video surveillance system. Signs should be posted notifying visitors about the cameras, as this will help to discourage some thieves. Bright exterior lighting can also help to scare off some would-be robbers, and the lights should be kept at full power throughout the night.

For even more protection, fencing may be installed around the dealership’s perimeter, and keys should be stored inside locked metal cabinets located in well-supervised areas.

Property damage

Just like any other business, car dealerships are vulnerable to a number of incidents that could damage their building or merchandise. A fire, flood, or backed up sewer could easily damage your building and all of its contents.

Floods are a particularly big concern during the winter and spring. During the winter, most of the precipitation is stored as snow or ice on the ground and once the weather warms in the spring or during sudden winter thaws, huge quantities of water are released. In fact, snowmelt runoff floods are the most common type of flooding in Canada.

But there are a number of ways to protect your building from flooding, on the inside and outside. A first easy step is to remove snow from around your building’s foundation (especially near window wells), remove excess snow from your roof, and clear the snow and ice that builds up on catch basins. Clearing downspouts of obstructions and sealing off cracks in walls, windows, floors, and foundations with waterproofing sealant are also good ideas.

You can take precautions inside your building too. First, it’s important to verify that your plumbing and drainage system is in proper working order. And while installing a backflow valve or sump pump could be time consuming and costly, these also could be very useful: sump pumps collect water that accumulates around your building, while backflow valves protect your water supply from contamination.

Protect yourself

While you can mitigate some risks by employing preventative strategies, sometimes these measures just aren’t enough. So to protect your auto dealership, take a look at our insurance solutions designed for auto dealers.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.