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One Mistake Erased Her Grubhub Earnings

She could pay off some debts with that extra money. Or maybe save up for that special vacation. Maybe just have some extra spending money.

It doesn't matter now. One mistake took away all that extra money, and so much more.

Because of this one mistake, all of Heather's delivery earnings went down the drain

She didn't make sure her insurance would cover her delivery work.

Heather was on a delivery when she was in a car accident. Both vehicles were totaled. Police determined Heather was at fault

And her insurance won't pay a dime.

It turns out her policy, like most personal policies, doesn't cover her when she's on a delivery.

Commercial vs Personal Auto Insurance

Personal auto insurance is designed to cover you during normal personal driving: Commuting to and from work or for personal errands, etc. Using your car for business, such as delivery, usually means more driving and higher risk of an accident. For that reason, many personal policies state they will not cover you on delivery. Commercial Auto Insurance policies do cover using your car for business, and there are many now designed for gig work. You can find commercial policies in your state at CommercialInsurance.net or call 405-875-0047. (This is an affiliate link).

Now she's on the hook, both for the damage to her own car and the other person's. The bank wants the money for what's left of her car loan. The other person's insurance company is coming after her for what they paid out. Heather doesn't have that kind of money just sitting aside.

I don't know Heather and have never spoken to her. A reporter contacted me while working on this story about Heather's situation to ask for my thoughts about insurance and delivery. At the time of the article, Heather was afraid she'd have to file bankruptcy.

Did you know you could be in the same boat?

Most personal auto insurance policies state specifically that you are not covered while using your car for delivery work. You could be simply logged in as available on an app and that's enough for the insurance company to deny your claim.

Heather didn't know that. Grubhub never warned her. You might not know that.

Chances are, if you haven't checked into your insurance, you are driving around uninsured.

Don't make the same mistake. Take these three steps to make sure you are covered.

You might be fine. Your policy may offer coverage. Most don't. Make sure you know now before you accept another delivery.

Step 1: Check if you are covered.

You need to find out if your policy will cover you if you are in an accident while on delivery.

Most won't.

Most have exceptions or exclusions that state that you are not covered while using your car for commercial or business purposes, or if using it for “livery.” Livery means transporting goods or persons for hire – in other words rideshare or delivery.

I would start by reading through your policy for any such language – especially look for sections like “Exclusions.”

Contact your insurance company. Ask them. The best question to ask is “I'm thinking about delivering for Grubhub (or Doordash or Postmates or Uber Eats or whoever) but before I need to find out if my policy will cover me when I'm delivering.”

If they say you aren't, ask them to explain the language that says so. If they say that you are still covered, ask for that in writing. Save that documentation.

If you are covered, you're good. No need to move on to step two. If not, don't drive for another delivery until you make sure you are. It's not worth the risk.

Step Two: Ask if it's possible to add coverage for delivery work.

Some policies will have an endorsement or rider available that will provide coverage. You might have to pay a little more but it's usually not much.

Ask your insurance agent or representative if they have such an add-on available. If they do, that's a lot better than changing insurance companies. Make sure you specify that it's for delivery (a lot of rideshare endorsements don't cover delivery).

If you can confirm that delivery CAN be covered, you probably don't have to go on to the next step.

Step 3: Find a policy that will cover you

If your policy won't cover you and won't give you any endorsements that will, you will need to find a different policy if you want to keep delivering. There are a couple of things that can help you in that search.

Look into commercial insurance

Personal policies don't usually cover delivery or business use because there's a higher risk of an accident. Commercial policies take that risk into account. Some can cost a lot more, but there are a lot of policies now that are geared for gig work like rideshare and delivery.

You can search for commercial insurance options in your state. Most results I find are companies that don't actually provide such coverage. One option I found that helped me find insurance companies was CommercialInsurance.net. You can go to their site, or call them (405-875-0047), tell them the kind of work you do, and they can direct you to companies that have the right kind of policies for you. I found that it can save a lot of time in identifying places that can offer a quote. Note that I do have an affiliate relationship with them – you can read about my affiliate policy here.

Find Commercial Insurance options in all 50 states. Click the image or call 405-875-0047. The link is an affiliate link.
Find Commercial Insurance options in all 50 states. Click here or call 405-875-0047 (affiliate link)

Find an independent agent

Another effective way to save time and get a lot of options is to use an independent insurance agent. They're different than CommercialInsurance.net who provides referrals to insurance companies. An independent agent can often provide the actual quotes from several companies. They can do a lot of the research, find out if any of the personal policies they represent will provide coverage, and sometimes even provide commercial insurance quotes.

Whereever you get a quote: Do this one thing.

Make sure that you confirm that delivery work is covered before you sign. I personally ended up signing on with a personal policy that still covers, but I made sure that the agent provided written confirmation that there were no exclusions. Do not sign until you KNOW you are covered.

You may have to make a decision.

A lot of times, the extra cost for a commercial policy or for the right coverage on a personal policy is minimal. Sometimes it does cost a bit more.

At that point you have to decide, is it worth it? Are you making enough money to justify the extra cost?

Just don't make the decision to continue delivering while not covered. Don't take the chance of erasing your delivery earnings (and then some).

Additional reading:

Heather's story in the Loveland (CO) Reporter Herald
Heather's story as reported by Denver Channel 7

Here's a more in depth article on this site about how insurance works with delivery.

My experience getting a quote from CommercialInsurance.net.

I went through the entire three step process myself recently – you can read about it here.

If you'd like more insights, articles and ideas on operating your own business as a delivery professional, visit our home page at The EntreCourier. You can also visit our special series that launched our Deliver on Your Business Podcast – our 31 Day Courier MBA series.

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