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Do Food Delivery Drivers Need Special Insurance in California?

As the convenience of having food from your favorite restaurants delivered directly to your door has attracted millions across the country to seek the services of different food delivery service apps, so has the appeal to work doing said deliveries. 

According to data collected by Second Measure, meal delivery services saw year-over-year growth of 20 percent collectively through the end of June 2021.

Just like the ridesharing business, companies, like DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats, have attracted drivers to work for them due to the possibilities of setting up their own work schedule, quick turnaround for payment, and not having to deal with riders getting into their personal vehicles. 

But just because you have your own car and pay the insurance every month doesn’t mean you’re good to go to work as a food delivery driver. Sure, your personal insurance would suffice to sign up for these independent contractor gigs, but in the event of an accident — like a car crash— you would probably end up getting the short end of the stick, since your insurance most likely wouldn’t cover it.

In order to drive for these food delivery services, you need a personal auto insurance policy that covers the commercial use of a car — no matter if you perform deliveries part time or full time. The rates for business use of a car are significantly higher than the ones for personal use, and that is because the risks of being on the road increase due to: 

  • The frequency of driving
  • The time spent driving
  • Where one drives
  • The distraction issues related to keeping an eye on the order and the navigation 

Commercial and business-use policies are designed to cover the risks when you use your personal car for commercial uses. Food delivery services are still a novelty, and the insurance industry is still adapting to the changes. That’s why it’s very important to check with your current insurance carrier on what your options are in terms of coverage if you’re considering working as an independent contractor for these food delivery services.  

Among the most popular food delivery services in California are Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats. Insurance policies for these companies vary in regards to the amount of coverage they provide for damages arising from food delivery accidents.

If you have any questions about a food delivery accident or would like to schedule a free consultation to speak to one of our expert food delivery attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers, you may reach us by calling (888) 520-4139 or filling out our quick contact form.

Food Delivery Driver Insurance

DoorDash

According to the same Second Measure report, in the second quarter of 2021, DoorDash had 58 percent of its users exclusively ordering from them. The company had the highest percentage of exclusive users compared to every other food delivery company. 

For its drivers, DoorDash requires them “to maintain [their] own insurance, in the amounts and of types required by law, which includes, but is not limited to, an auto insurance policy. If [they] fail to maintain [their] own insurance, DoorDash’s coverage may not apply.”

DoorDash offers their drivers excess auto insurance, but only for property damage or bodily injury caused to third parties. In the event of an accident, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy would serve as the primary coverage. If the damages exceed the delivery driver’s policy and the accident happened when the driver was on active delivery, DoorDash’s contingent liability policy of $1 million would only then go into effect. Furthermore, this contingent liability policy only applies if the driver was in possession of goods to be delivered, meaning if they were driving from the restaurant to a delivery, but not to a restaurant for pickup.

Starting June 2019, drivers will be qualified to receive occupational accident insurance coverage at no cost, which in the event of an accident will cover:

  • Medical bills: Maximum of $1,000,000 with no deductible or co-pay
  • Disability payments: Maximum of up to $500 a week
  • Survivors payments: Maximum of up to $150,000 for eligible dependents 

Postmates

Postmates is one of the top food delivery services in California. And with a higher demand comes an even higher responsibility.  

Postmates requires drivers to keep an updated and personal automobile liability policy on the vehicles they use while working under the company. The insurance limit must be equal to or greater than the minimum requirements for the state where they are driving in. 

Similar to DoorDash, Postmates provides $1 million in excess liability to third party claims that will only come into play after the driver’s personal auto insurance coverage has been exhausted. The company offers additional coverage called “accidental occupational liability” coverage, which allows up to $50,000 to cover the costs of medical expenses for injuries suffered while on the job.

Uber Eats

Some of the busiest places for Uber Eats drivers in California are highly congested areas like Downtown LA, Santa Monica, and Hollywood, with the busiest times being between 5 pm and 9 pm. Driving in said areas, it’s surely in your best interests to have the correct insurance coverage. 

Per Uber’s site, these are the insurance requirements the company asks of its drivers: 

  • Must have comprehensive or third party property damage coverage.
  • Must be listed as an insured driver on the policy, even when driving someone else’s car.
  • The insurance policy must list the vehicle make, model, year, and registration.
  • The insurance policy must display an effective and expiry date.

Unlike DoorDash, an Uber Eats drivers’ liability to third parties is covered from the moment a driver accepts the request until the delivery is complete. If the app is currently on and the driver has not yet begun to pick up or deliver food (or if the driver is in between deliveries), the driver is covered for up to $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 (per individual/accident/property damage). Uber provides $1 million of liability coverage per incident, which is covered by Uber’s commercial insurance policy. 

Uber Eats offers insurance coverage that compensates its drivers while they are online and actively making food deliveries. The additional insurance the driver attains through their private insurance would cover the time they’re logged in and waiting for a request.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a food delivery accident, our food delivery accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover compensation for your losses, which includes medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Contact us today by calling (888) 520-4139 or filling out our quick contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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