Food Delivery Services: Car Insurance

With COVID-19 lock downs and “stay at home” orders, food delivery services have become increasingly popular and more people are offering to become drivers for these services. It is important to know that not all services are the same, however. Each company offers different coverage and places different obligations on their drivers with respect to their cars and their car insurance. If you are considering becoming a driver, it is important to be informed. Briefly, the insurance protection provided by some of the major delivery services in Ontario is as follows:

Uber Eats
Uber Eats offers the most protection to their drivers of any food delivery service. The company has a commercial insurance policy with Intact Insurance that automatically applies to all their drivers. The policy applies from the moment  a driver makes her or himself available to accept a food delivery, to the moment the food is dropped off. This policy provides $2,000,000 in third-party liability coverage, which means Intact will pay up to that amount for other people’s injuries or property damage if caused by the Uber driver’s vehicle. It also provides for uninsured motorist protection, which means that damage to the driver’s own vehicle will be paid for in the event that the collision is not their fault and the other driver is uninsured. If the driver is not delivering food at the time of the incident, the Intact Policy will still apply, but the third party liability coverage is reduced to $1,000,000.

Doordash
Doordash similarly offers insurance to its drivers, but the protection is more limited than that of Uber Eats. Their drivers are required to maintain their own private car insurance and that insurer must be informed that their insured is a delivery driver. Damage sustained to any Doordash driver’s vehicle must go through their own insurance policy, but Doordash provides excess third party liability over and above the driver’s private coverage. This means that the driver can only access it after their own personal insurance limits have been exhausted.

Skip the Dishes
Skip the Dishes has no commercial insurance policy, which means that any collision must be reported through the driver’s own personal policy. Accordingly, a Skip the Dishes driver must inform their insurer that they are a delivery driver. In 2019, a courier was denied coverage after a collision and had to pay $8,400 out-of-pocket, as they failed to advise their insurer that they were a delivery driver. Your insurance company needs to re-evaluate their risk and possibly change their policy accordingly to accommodate the additional risk of a delivery driver.

Foodora
Similar to Skip the Dishes, Foodora does not provide any insurance to their drivers. It is the responsibility of the driver to have their own coverage.

Even if you are driving for Uber Eats, you would be wise to check your own personal auto coverage and to inform your insurer that you are driving for a delivery service. The standard personal car insurance policy typically  does not cover commercial use of your vehicle. If your insurer is not aware in advance of a claim that you are using your vehicle for such purposes, you risk any claim being denied. Many insurance companies, however, will have coverage options that you can add to your current policy if you are driving for the companies mentioned above. Without coverage, you can be held personally liable for any injury or damage that results from the use of your vehicle.

Lauren Cullen
Written by

Lauren Cullen is an associate lawyer at McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP in London, Ontario. She practices exclusively in personal injury litigation and is a member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA). Lauren completed her law degree at Western University in 2016 and subsequently articled at a top personal injury law firm in Toronto.