Ten years ago, food delivery was limited to pizza and select Asian restaurants. Now, someone can have their food delivered to their door from just about any restaurant with one touch of their phone. Not only are food delivery apps more popular now, but the COVID-19 pandemic has driven demand to an unprecedented level. The most common delivery apps are:
For every meal ordered, there must be a driver to deliver it. That means more and more car accidents involve drivers delivering food for one of the companies listed above. Because of this, some delivery apps have websites for reporting claims against their drivers.
Georgia drivers must have $25,000 in bodily injury insurance coverage.
In Georgia, drivers are required to have “bodily injury” insurance to protect the drivers on the road around them. But, the minimum amount of coverage required may not be enough if you are injured due to another driver’s negligence. Georgia requires $25,000 of coverage per person in an accident and $50,000 total per accident. That means an injured party has at least $25,000 in insurance to draw from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If more than one person is injured, the combined amount available to all injured parties is $50,000, but still capped per person at $25,000.
A second kind of insurance—uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage—protects the driver themselves against the negligence of other drivers on the roadway. We advise all our clients to have “UM” coverage, but it is not required in Georgia.
Many car insurance policies exclude delivery drivers.
Insurance companies ask drivers how they use their cars—for personal use to and from work or school or for business use. If insurance is for a driver’s personal use, the insurance policy likely excludes coverage for “commercial” use of the vehicle. That means if a driver is delivering food on behalf of a company like DoorDash or Uber, they are not covered by their own car insurance while doing so.
A letter like this—from a former client’s personal car insurance company—means there is no coverage under that policy for the driver “carrying persons or property (like food) for a charge.”
Delivery apps typically have their own insurance which applies to their drivers.
Many delivery app companies understand that their drivers’ own personal car insurance does not apply for accidents that happen during deliveries. So, they purchase insurance for their drivers, which does apply. For example, DoorDash provides excess auto insurance for drivers when they cause injuries to others and when their drivers are injured while on an active delivery (driving to a pickup location after accepting an order or in possession of food to be delivered).
Other companies, like UberEats, have coverage similar to DoorDash during active deliveries, but also coverage between deliveries. For now, UberEats provides $1,000,000 in coverage during deliveries but limits their coverage to $50,000 per person in between deliveries.
For food delivery drivers, it is important to check and see what insurance applies before you take your first trip. For example, Instacart does not provide any insurance for their drivers when making deliveries, so drivers must have commercial use added to their personal car insurance policies.
For now, injured motorists cannot sue the delivery company itself for the negligence of its drivers.
Many people think if they are injured by a DoorDash or Grubhub driver, they could sue DoorDash or Grubhub directly. Unfortunately, for now, that is a common misconception. Food delivery companies, just like rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, categorize their drivers as “independent contractors” and not employees. While there are instances where a company is responsible for their contractors, typically they are not directly liable for their negligent driving. But, the driver’s employment classification does not matter if the delivery company has insurance that applies to their independent contractor, as discussed above.
If you are an injured food delivery driver or were injured in a car accident with a food delivery driver, it is important that you know your rights and what insurance will cover your injuries. Give the lawyers at Rafi Law Firm a call at 404-800-1156 for a free consultation.
For more information about insurance coverage for rideshare drivers, click here.
For our Commercial Vehicle Crash Guide, click here.