Another tragic occurrence due to the COVID-19 epidemic is the mandatory shut down of eat-in facilities to minimize social distancing. In order to help keep sales coming, restaurants and dining facilities are thinking outside the box: curbside pickup, call ahead ordering, pizza kits in a box, delivery services, and the list goes on. While insurance is not at the forefront of many of these thoughts, you should be aware that offering a ‘new’ delivery service or providing delivery services in a personal vehicle may not have coverage under your current policy.
Restaurants who are now offering a delivery service by use of a personal vehicle have a Hired and Non-Owned Auto (HNOA) exposure (whether the driver is a member of the staff, food courier, or independent contractor of some sort.) Many companies who require employees to use their own vehicles will ask them to contact their own insurance agents to confirm if they will be covered in the event of an accident; but if covered, often the limits of a personal policy can be exhausted quickly. If this does occur, the insurance company may come back on the restaurant or food company for payment of the claim, which is where an HNOA would take effect.
On the flip side, many delivery drivers do not realize that when they are providing a delivery service for their employer – such as a restaurant – their liability falls on their personal auto. While all personal auto policies are unique, there are many insurance carriers which exclude food delivery from their policy. If this is the case and you are a delivery driver who is in an accident, the coverage you pay for is void.
So, whether you’re a business looking to provide new services, newly delivering food for your employer in your personal vehicle, or working for door dash to make a couple of extra bucks, you should always check with your insurance agent to ensure that your coverage is adequate.