In states like Wisconsin, emergency orders have been issued to close bars and restaurants and limit their service to delivery. This has only served to increase the demand for delivery options, and restaurants that normally do not offer this service are implementing delivery programs for the first time. Employees who do not typically deliver food may be asked to use their own insured personal vehicles to do so. This has implications for both personal insurance and property & casualty coverage.
OCI guidance on Coverage for Delivery Drivers under Personal Auto Policies
The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) is providing guidance regarding insurance coverage for delivery drivers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Personal auto policies do not typically provide coverage for vehicles that are used for food delivery, however OCI believes it would be impractical for drivers to temporarily obtain coverage, given the day-to-day changes in federal and statewide policies regarding COVID-19. Therefore, in regard to auto policies and claims in effect on or after March 17, 2020:
“OCI orders that 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.”
Who or what does this coverage not apply to?
- Drivers who already have coverage for deliveries through their personal policy or another policy
- Drivers working for a transportation network company or similar delivery company
- Coverage does not stack with any coverage currently afforded
OCI guidance on Hired and Non-owned Auto Coverage
Restaurants who employ delivery drivers typically have hired and non-owned auto coverage as a rider in their commercial general liability policy. Many restaurants could not have anticipated the changing policies in regards to COVID-19, and it is likely that their commercial general liability policy will not include that rider. For that reason, in regard to all commercial general liability policies in effect on or after March 17, 2020:
“OCI orders all 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 coverage shall be effective upon the date it is requested. Both OCI orders will remain in effect until the public health emergency order is lifted to permit restaurants to resume normal operations.
New emergency orders have limited bar and restaurant service to delivery. Those who are offering delivery service for the first time should be aware of recent OCI orders that require insurers to provide hired and non-owned auto coverage to restaurants if requested, effective immediately, and provide liability exceptions for food delivery workers using their personal vehicles.