If You Get Injured While Using Your Personal Vehicle for Your Business Side Hustle, Your Car Insurance May Be Worthless
A decade or so ago, it was pretty easy to tell which vehicles on the road were delivery trucks or taxis. But now, hundreds of thousands of Americans use their personal vehicles to make deliveries of groceries or take out food through services like DoorDash, Instacart, or GoPuff, or for individual restaurants or stores. Thousands more drive passengers around in their cars for rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber. And if you are one of those people making money using your own vehicle, you better check your car insurance policy. Because if you get in an accident and suffer injuries while delivering food or shuttling folks around, you could find you aren’t covered for the huge medical bills, car repair costs, and other losses that result.
Does My Car Insurance Cover Delivery and Rideshare in North Carolina?
As in almost every state, North Carolina requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage to pay for any injuries or damage they cause to others. North Carolina law also requires every driver to have a minimum amount of Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This coverage is designed to pay for your medical expenses and other losses if an uninsured or underinsured driver injures you and they don’t have sufficient assets to pay damages. And it is almost always the case that an uninsured/underinsured driver won’t have the money to cover your losses. UM coverage also provides benefits if you get hurt by a hit-and-run driver.
But if an uninsured driver hits and injures you while you are on the clock with a delivery or ridesharing service, your policy likely won’t cover you. Most personal policies have a business exclusion that specifically provides no coverage for losses incurred while making deliveries or transporting passengers for money. That’s because delivery and rideshare drivers spend more time on the road and are more likely to get into accidents and file car insurance claims. So, not only will the uninsured driver leave you out of luck, but so too will your own insurance company.
What Does the Company Provided Insurance Cover If I Get in an Accident in North Carolina?
Most big delivery and rideshare companies like DoorDash and Uber provide their drivers with liability insurance to cover any damages or injuries they cause while working for the service. Many small businesses and restaurants that work directly with drivers may also provide them with such coverage.
Similarly, the larger companies may also offer coverage to pay for their driver’s injuries and losses if they get in an accident while driving for the company. For example, DoorDash offers its drivers occupational accident insurance that covers medical expenses up to $1,000,000 with no deductible or co-pay and disability payments of 50% of their average weekly wage up to a maximum allowance of $500.00 per week minus other income.
But even when a service does offer or provide coverage for a driver’s injuries, it can still leave a gap between the service’s policy and the driver’s personal coverage. A delivery company’s policy may cover the driver when actively delivering an order from a restaurant to the customer but not while driving to the pickup site. But the driver’s personal car insurer will likely say that the time heading to the restaurant was for business purposes and deny coverage as well, leaving the driver with zero coverage for any injuries they suffered during that time.
Furthermore, many companies that provide coverage for injuries won’t pay for damage to the driver’s vehicle or the costs of repairing or replacing it. DoorDash specifically tells drivers that “Damages sustained to your vehicle in an auto accident are your responsibility and should be addressed directly by your auto insurance carrier.” We’ve seen first-hand how costly this gap can be. Recently, a client’s car was stolen while making DoorDash deliveries. His vehicle was recovered, but the car needed $10,000 worth of repairs. Since neither DoorDash nor his car insurance company would pay for the repairs, he’s stuck will the bill.
If you are working for a delivery or rideshare service, you can fill in these gaps by obtaining delivery driver or rideshare insurance offered by many familiar carriers such as Progressive, Allstate, or USAA.
So, before getting behind the wheel to earn some extra cash, make sure you don’t put all that money at risk because you didn’t double-check your coverage. Otherwise, you’ll have to make a lot more trips just to break even.
If you have any questions or concerns about auto insurance coverage or injuries sustained while driving for a delivery or rideshare company, contact Ricci Law Firm today to arrange a free consultation.