In order to become an Instacart shopper, the requirements are simple:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Have legal authorization to work in the U.S.
- Be able to lift up to 40lbs without accommodation
- Have regular access to a reliable car
- Have regular access to a smartphone capable of running the Instacart Shopper app
- Must also pass a background check
That’s it! There’s no mention of car insurance in their list of requirements. Sure, if you’re operating a car, it’s common knowledge that you must have the proper insurance coverage. The problem with companies like Instacart that classify their workers as independent contractors and not employees is that they protect themselves from being liable for any damages incurred in accidents involving their drivers. Instead, the liability is placed on the driver, who may or may not know that they need additional insurance because they’re using their cars for commercial and/or business purposes.
When people sign up with Instacart, they must sign a contract that outlines the terms and conditions of their relationship with the company, which by design makes it difficult for anyone to hold them liable for a car accident.
Instacart, in fact, does not provide commercial auto insurance for drivers. The contract merely notes that while certain jurisdictions may require commercial auto insurance, it is the responsibility of the independent contractor to determine what insurance they are required to have. So not only do they not assume responsibility for its drivers, but they don’t make it a point to let them know that they may need further insurance if they don’t read the terms and conditions closely.
Their terms and services read:
“If you have a dispute with one or more Personal Shoppers or Third Party Providers, you agree to release Instacart (including Instacart’s affiliates, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, shareholders, retail partners, licensors, and suppliers) from any claims, demands and damages of every kind and nature, known and unknown, suspected and unsuspected, disclosed and undisclosed, arising out of or in any way connected to such disputes.”
According to AutoInsurance.org, a person’s premium can increase by 50% if they tell their insurance company they’re working as a delivery driver for companies like Instacart. If a driver is involved in a car accident and doesn’t have the proper coverage, the insurance company is within its rights to cancel the policy and decline to pay for any damages to the other driver’s car or the Instacar driver’s own if the accident occurs while on the job.
It goes without saying that Instacart does not offer any excess insurance for their drivers. To reiterate, the company requires drivers to supply all of their insurance, including health and workers’ compensation, as “independent contractors.”