Food delivery services like Uber Eats, Door Dash, Postmates, and Grub Hub have become something we rely on in today’s fast-paced world. There’s nothing quite like getting food delivered right to your door. Moreover, during the COVID-19 crisis, these services are helping restaurants stay afloat and can be a safer way to get prepared food. But do these delivery drivers carry auto accident insurance? Drivers for these delivery companies drive hundreds of miles a week. What happens if they get into an accident?
Insurance Coverage by Company
Most delivery service companies employ people as “so-called” independent contractors. However, independent contractors are not considered employees of the company, so the company may not be responsible for these drivers. How does that affect you? If one of these delivery drivers hits your car, he or she may not have insurance to cover your damages.
Only some of the delivery services provide insurance coverage for their drivers; many do not. And while the drivers who work for these companies are required to have their own personal auto insurance, this policy may not be enough. Most personal auto insurance policies will not cover a driver if the accident occurs while he or she is working.
The auto insurance that delivery companies provide for their drivers varies widely from company to company. Here is a breakdown of the insurance coverage for drivers of Uber Eats, Door Dash, Postmates, and Grub Hub.
Uber Eats has liability and collision insurance that covers its drivers while they are driving to pick up food or delivering an order. This insurance includes bodily injury and property damage for other drivers. If an Uber Eats driver has an accident while online waiting to accept an order, a lower dollar auto insurance policy applies.
Postmates provides liability coverage to its drivers from the moment a delivery is accepted to the time of delivery. This insurance will cover bodily injury and property damage for other drivers. However, if a Postmates driver is online waiting to accept a delivery, this insurance is not available.
Door Dash carries liability coverage that kicks in once the delivery driver has food in the car, but not while he is driving to a restaurant. The insurance will cover the other driver’s injuries and property damage. If a delivery driver is going to pick up a delivery or online waiting to accept one, Door Dash’s insurance does not cover him.
Grub Hub does not provide any form of insurance for its drivers or other drivers in the event of an accident. Whether the delivery driver is in the middle of a delivery or online waiting for one, he or she is not covered by Grub Hub. Unless a delivery driver has an auto insurance policy that covers driving for business use, he or she is essentially driving uninsured.
What Happens If You Are Hit by a Delivery Driver?
Can you sue for damages and receive compensation if you are injured by a negligent delivery driver? It depends entirely on what company the driver is delivering for. If you are struck by someone who is driving for Uber Eats or Postmates while he or she is en route to a restaurant or delivering food, you will have gotten into an accident with an insured driver and you may be able to get compensation for your injuries. The same holds true for a Door Dash driver once he or she has picked up the food and is delivering it. If you are in a collision with an Uber Eats driver while he is waiting to accept a delivery, he may have limited insurance coverage.
If you are in an accident with a Door Dash or Postmates driver while they are waiting online for a delivery, however, you will have gotten into an accident with a potentially uninsured driver. If you are hit by a Grub Hub delivery driver, whether they have accepted a delivery or not, you will also have gotten into an accident with a potentially uninsured driver. Unless these drivers have a commercial auto policy–or their personal auto policy does not exclude work-related driving– you may only be able to collect from your own uninsured and underinsured insurance policy. In most cases, only the drivers who are insured by their delivery company will be able to afford to pay damages if you are injured or your car is totaled.
Can A Delivery Company be Held Liable even if the Driver is an “Independent Contractor”?
Companies like Grub Hub often try to avoid legal responsibility for the accidents caused by their drivers by labeling them “independent contractors”, a title that suggests the company played no role in the conduct that caused the accident. Sometimes this strategy works; sometimes it doesn’t.
If you are injured in an accident caused by a food delivery service driver who is not covered by company insurance at the time of the crash, an experienced accident attorney can help you determine if there are ways to avoid this “independent contractor/no company liability” shield. Among the issues that your lawyer will investigate is how carefully the company hiring the grocery delivery driver considered that driver’s record. For example, did the company learn if the driver had a previous bad driving record; alcohol/drug abuse in his/her driving record; or anything else that suggested the driver may present an unreasonable risk to other drivers on the road, or pedestrians? If so, you may be able to hold the company liable.
How To Protect Yourself from Uninsured Delivery Drivers
To protect yourself and others on the road, we recommend only ordering from companies that provide insurance for their own drivers and other drivers on the road. The best of these four options, in our opinion, is Uber Eats, followed by Postmates and then Door Dash. Grub Hub is the worst option by a landslide when considering insurance coverage. At no point do they provide any form of insurance coverage, which leaves their drivers and other drivers financially vulnerable in the event of an accident. If you’re able to choose a more responsible food delivery company, we recommend doing so. Having fewer uninsured drivers on the road is safer for everyone.
If you have been injured in a car crash by a negligent delivery service driver, you may be entitled to compensation. However, determining what insurance is available can be difficult. Call our experienced auto accident attorneys at (630)-527-1595 or fill out our contact form for a FREE consultation.
Meg Collins contributed to this blog.