Recently my husband and I took a trip to San Diego for my birthday. We had booked a cozy little cottage about a mile away from the beach and close to shopping so we didn’t have to rent a car. We didn’t plan on going any further than just the beach and to the grocery store so why would we spend the money on a rental car when we can use a ride sharing app to chauffeur us around when we needed?
My birthday ALWAYS falls on Superbowl weekend and this year my husband and I decided to stay in our cozy cottage for the Superbowl. That morning we walked the beach with our coffee, headed to lunch and then back to our cottage. Since we had decided last minute to stay in for the big game we didn’t have any game time snacks or drinks. Yes, we were within walking distance to the store, and we could have gone in a ride sharing vehicle but then we’d be walking or riding with groceries and neither of us felt like doing that.
What did we do….? We ended up getting three different deliveries just within a few hours of each other:
Delivery #1) I downloaded a grocery delivery app and ordered a few groceries of drinks and snacks to hold us through the game. (Guilty…I’ve used it a few times since we’ve been home)
Delivery #2) Since the snacks are only snacks, my husband and I wanted actual food for dinner. We had dinner delivered through another app.
Delivery #3) Dessert….yep, we had it delivered.
I had felt a little indulgent and lazy but then I didn’t because hey it was my birthday and we were on vacation! I think I would have felt super lazy if I did this at home, and would kick myself in the tush, why because I can do it all myself without paying for a delivery service. I also like making lists, planning meals, cooking and running my own errands.
Delivery and ride sharing apps are such a luxury these days. They may be more luxurious for some, others may just consider them normal day to day services and then there are those who don’t use them at all. You can go anywhere and have anything delivered just with a touch of a button. It is sooooo convenient! It’s almost too easy, payment is already saved in the app and bam….purchased. Done.
As an “Insurance Person” I got to thinking about all of these deliveries and services. But what about the driver’s insurance? Does their auto policy cover them when they are driving their own vehicle? Does the company that employs them cover their vehicle for damages or their bodily injury if they are at fault in an accident while working for these app companies? What about the damages and bodily injury to the other person they hit? Does the driver know that there is a difference when they are working versus when they are using their vehicle for personal usage?
Yes, there is a difference and when you start to use your vehicle for commercial usage such as delivery, or ride sharing you are no longer using your vehicle for personal usage. You are now a business exposure. When you turn that app on you are then “on the clock” you are now using your vehicle for business/commercial usage, it is no longer covered on your personal auto policy. Or, if you are a pizza delivery driver and using your personal vehicle for those deliveries, delivery isn’t covered on a personal auto policy.
So what do you do? There is a gap in your coverage. Some insurance carriers will offer an endorsement on your auto policy if you are employed with a ride sharing or transportation network company such as Uber or Lyft for example. When you turn on your app to accept jobs, some companies offer an endorsement that may cover gaps in coverage if you get into an accident or have a loss while you are “on the clock”. Not every carrier offers a coverage like this, and if they do each company will have different limitations and coverage they provide. Your carrier may even exclude coverage to you and your vehicle while working for one of these types of companies. It is best to ask your agent.
If you work for a delivery app such as DoorDash or Instacart, or let’s say you are a pizza delivery driver for your local pizzeria, delivery is not covered on your personal auto policy. You will need to ask your employer to either provide coverage or ask where you can purchase the specific coverage you need.
A Personal Auto Insurance policy is used for your personal usage and commuting to and from work. The difference comes in when you start to have a transfer of goods for profit. Again, you are no longer eligible for a personal auto policy and would be considered a commercial exposure. If you work for one of these apps, or a delivery service and use your own personal vehicle I would ask your employer and your agent about your coverage. Think about it! If you have decided to work on your side hustle and make additional cash or as your primary income with these delivery or driving services have you checked with your auto insurance agent? Or, what about your kids? If your teen or young adult child decides to make additional money while going to school does your insurance policy cover them on the job? How many times have you thought or heard someone say maybe I’ll just do this on the weekends for extra cash?
You may be putting yourself in additional risk when you work for one of these carriers if you do not check with your insurance company. Make sure that you understand what your policy does and does not cover, and make sure you understand what kind of coverage your employer will and will not provide. The best way to protect yourself is to ask those questions and understand your policy. I do not see this type of delivery/driving app service going away. It is way to convenient and we all love convenience. Maybe the industry will update their auto policy products in the future but until then ask your agent about what you need to know and or include on your policy to be assured you are fully covered.