Insurance Coverage for Restaurant Delivery Drivers During the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency

March 26, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) mandated relaxed rules related to insurance coverage for delivery drivers under personal auto policies and hired and non-owned auto coverage.

Given the current restrictions on frequenting restaurants, many restaurants are resorting to expanded delivery options.  The popular delivery apps, like UberEats, DoorDash, and EatStreet have seen expanded business and are waiving certain delivery fees.

However, not all restaurants have decided to join the gig economy and are relying on current employees to deliver to customers.  Since those restaurants were not previously set up for delivery, many are having their employees use their own, personal vehicles for delivery.  That raises insurance coverage issues for the employee.

In response, OCI worked with the insurance industry in order to remove any insurance barriers that may have otherwise prevented a restaurant (that did not rely on the delivery service apps) from the beginning to deliver food to their customers.

According to OCI, the typical personal automobile policy does not usually provide coverage for vehicles used for commercial purposes, like food delivery.  Therefore, without any action by OCI, many of the anticipated temporary food delivery drivers would be uninsured.  In response, in its March 23, 2020 mandate, OCI ordered “… [T]hat Insurers shall not deny a claim under a personal auto policy solely because the insured was engaged in delivering food on behalf of a restaurant impacted by the restaurant closure.”

In addition, it is common that some restaurants employ delivery drivers who use their own car.  Those restaurants may have already had the proper rider on their Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy.  However, many restaurants were not ready for this drastic change in our economy, and did not have those riders in place on their CGL policy.  In response, OCI also ordered in its March 23, 2020 mandate that, “[A]ll insurers who provide commercial general liability coverage to a restaurant to notify their restaurant insureds that hired and non-owned auto coverage is available if requested.  If the insured restaurant requests hired and non-owned auto coverage, the insurer shall, either through a rider or stand-alone policy, provide this coverage to any insured restaurant.”

The full version of OCI’s mandate to insurance companies can be found here.