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Restaurant Food Delivery Services and Auto Liability

October 12, 2021
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Insurance consultant Richard Faber (richarduwresources) has a post on how the pandemic has changed restaurant delivery, and its implications for automobile liability insurance. Restaurants had to rely on takeout customers to survive lockdowns. Food delivery services such as Door Dash, Grub Hub and UberEATS stepped in to provide delivery services.

These services have online agreements defining their relationship with vendors (restaurants) and drivers. Using Door Dash as an example, they define themselves as online connection platforms, not merchants or delivery services. The intent is to distance themselves from liability arising from food deliveries. (Faber does not discuss whether the agreements require drivers to have minimum limits of liability insurance, or to provide evidence of insurance as a condition of the contract.) The merchant contracts directly with the driver, creating a hired and non-owned auto liability exposure for the restaurant.

When restaurants hired their drivers they had the opportunity to interview them and judge their qualifications. Under the new system they have no control over the drivers and potentially higher risk of loss.

All restaurants using delivery services need hired and non-owned automobile liability insurance in case a driver has or causes an accident during delivery. Coverage is rated on cost of hire, so premium could be significant if insurers audit these policies.