The food app delivery business is surging during the coronavirus pandemic, but it was booming even before that. This growth translates to an ever-growing need for food app delivery drivers.
But it takes more than just a driver’s license, a reliable vehicle, and a smartphone to snag those top earnings. Let’s get you on track with the skills you need to make you an excellent delivery driver.
Then let’s look at something you may not have thought about — delivery driver auto insurance. Does Uber Eats require insurance? What about GrubHub, DoorDash, and Postmates?
We’ll review what the top companies in this field offer, and we’ll go over the best auto insurance to cover you while you’re on the job.
Food App Delivery Driver Opportunities
Did you order takeout from a food delivery app this week? Maybe more than once.
According to restaurant management software company UpServe, 60 percent of consumers in the United States order delivery or takeout once a week, with 31 percent noting they use third-party delivery services at least twice a week. Thirty-four percent of consumers spend at least $50 per order when ordering food online.
This translates to sales for meal delivery services through the end of May more than doubling compared to the previous year, according to data from Second Measure.
That’s a lot of food app delivery drivers on the roads these days. And the trend will only continue to grow. What was once considered a luxury or special occasion activity, ordering food to be delivered has now become the norm.
Because of the coronavirus, restaurants that didn’t normally offer home delivery had to pivot in order to try to stay afloat. And people who normally didn’t get home delivery have been stuck at home and have realized that the technology used to order food has made delivery faster and easier.
Related: How Has Technology Changed Our Lives
So as a delivery driver, how do you rise above all of the current and upcoming competition?
Food App Delivery Driver Skills
First, make the most of the flexibility that’s available when working as a food app delivery driver.
As an independent contractor, you can pretty much choose when you work, how long you work, and even what orders you take. So keep yourself in the best state of mind so you get the best ratings from customers which leads to better earnings.
Know your limits, and don’t push them. Working longer and harder without taking proper breaks may end up causing order mistakes or drowsy driving that could result in unsatisfied customers or even an auto accident.
Here are additional ways to get either those five stars or that thumbs-up.
Make sure you comply with the safety protocols your company has instituted during the pandemic, from regularly cleaning your vehicle to self-isolating to following through on contactless delivery.
To keep your risk as low as possible for injury as you’re getting your deliveries to your customers as fast as possible, keep these tips in mind:
- Park as close to your delivery site as possible.
- Watch your step. Look out for slip, trip, and fall hazards.
- Stay in well-lite areas. Park under a street light, if possible.
- Keep a flashlight handy in case you have to walk to a side door or to the back of a building.
Watch your speed. You’ll be tempted to increase your efficiency by driving faster, but don’t break the speed limit. Driving at unsafe speeds, as well as driving recklessly, is just not worth it.
Not only do you need to maintain your clean driving record to keep your job, but you don’t want to risk raising your auto insurance by causing an accident or getting pulled over by the police.
Map out your route. You know that the more orders you deliver, the more money you make. So plan the most efficient route to your deliveries. Use your phone’s GPS to navigate, but keep an eye out for shortcuts that the GPS doesn’t pick up on.
And become familiar with your company’s app before you actually start making deliveries. You don’t want your newbie status to distract you and cause delivery delays.
Be friendly. Yes, you’re a driver, but this is a customer service gig. And tips are the key to making good money doing this.
This may be a challenge to do since driving in itself is stressful, and driving to meet a deadline with hungry people waiting for you even more so—master the art of staying calm and focused under pressure.
Wear a big smile when you greet each customer and try to make sure you do see them, even if they have requested no-contact delivery. You want to make sure you get that tip.
Another important thing to do is become familiar with what to do and how to do it quickly when a customer is unsatisfied. Your finesse and speed in problem-solving will help your ratings and your earnings.
No, you’re not making the food, but you’re still responsible for it. So make sure everything you’re delivering is properly stored. Don’t mess up a tip due to a customer’s irate reaction to their pizza being presented to them with an extra topping — spilled soda!
Make sure nothing leaks, breaks, or gets smashed.
And this should be a given, but don’t sample your customer’s food: While you may be among the 54 percent of drivers who admit to being tempted by the smell of a customer’s food, don’t be the nearly 30 percent of drivers who’ve actually stolen a bite, according to US Foods.
So make sure what you deliver is tamper-free and in compliance with all applicable food health and safety laws.
How to Insure Yourself to Drive for a Food App
Let’s look at if — and what — insurance opportunities are offered by the top five food app delivery businesses.
You are required to have auto insurance but they do not provide their drivers with any commercial auto insurance.
This company serves you the best when it comes to auto insurance. They offer a commercial auto insurance policy (except in New York, where drivers are required to have their own commercial auto insurance) with up to $1 million in liability coverage from the moment you accept a delivery assignment until you complete the delivery.
They also have collision and comprehensive coverage (contingent upon you having these coverage types on your own policy) to cover auto repairs if your vehicle is damaged while on a delivery assignment, though you’ll have a $1,000 deductible.
And the UberEats coverage can also cover you between deliveries if your own insurance doesn’t. This is for the time period when you’re available and awaiting your next assignment. If your auto insurance policy doesn’t cover you during this time, Uber’s commercial policy has up to $50,000 for bodily injury for one person per accident, $100,000 for bodily injury to multiple people in one accident, and $25,000 for property damage in one accident.
They have a commercial auto insurance policy covering drivers for up to $1 million in bodily injury and property damage if you cause an accident. The caveats? The accident has to happen when you’re on “active delivery” which means you need to be in possession of the takeout order.
And this coverage is an “excess” policy, which means it only kicks in after your required personal auto insurance coverage is exhausted. However, DoorDash also offers drivers discounts for auto repairs.
Like DoorDash, they also offer an “excess” auto insurance policy of up to $1 million in liability coverage per accident for property damage and injuries you cause to others. This also only kicks in after your own policy limits are exhausted, so you are required to carry your own auto insurance.
The Delivery Driver Insurance You Need
So most food app delivery drivers will need commercial auto insurance. Insurance companies consider food delivery a business use of a vehicle, not personal use. And if you don’t tell your auto insurance company you’re delivering, you could face a claim denial if you cause an accident.
Some auto insurance companies have responded to the pandemic by extending coverage to customers who are using their personal vehicles to make deliveries, including Allstate, Farmers, Progressive, Liberty Mutual, Travelers, and USAA.
In addition, several states have encouraged insurance companies to ease restrictions on coverage for food delivery, including Alabama, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Washington.
Allstate, State Farm, and Progressive are among the companies that provide delivery driver insurance. If you already have personal auto insurance, then it may only cost a few extra dollars per month to add commercial auto insurance to your vehicle. The average delivery driver insurance quote is between $104-$225 a month.
For example, Allstate offers coverage available as an add-on to Uber Eats drivers. State Farm has an add-on available for food/goods delivery service for about a 5 percent premium increase. Progressive’s food delivery coverage can be purchased and adjusted for busier months.
Additionally, Geico has add-on coverage that can be purchased by drivers for any on-demand app for about $20-25 more a month.
So your best bet is to contact your auto insurance agent and find out if they have extended coverage and for how long, and what additional coverage you need and when you need it in order to be properly covered when you make your deliveries.
If your current company wants to charge significantly more to add commercial coverage, then you should shop around to find a better deal.