Like the person who asks the question, a lot of people have been furloughed or lost their jobs. And with more of us than ever relying on online ordering, openings for delivery drivers are growing rapidly. Frequently they are expected to drive their own cars. But must they tell their insurer and do they need special car insurance? And what other things should drivers doing deliveries be aware of?
Do you need special car insurance as a delivery driver?
Regular motor insurance policies often don’t cover you if you’re being paid to drive for someone. So, if you’re earning money dropping off parcels or delivering food you need cover for ‘carriage of goods for hire and reward’. This means a commercial van or motor policy. This is different from the ‘business use’ clause you get on regular motor policies.
But there are exceptions…
During the lockdown period, some insurers were still covering drivers who made deliveries on behalf of the NHS or for temporary volunteer work. However, they usually stipulate that the insurer must be told beforehand. And now that lockdown is being eased, it’s worth checking with your insurer because many of them differ in the terms of their cover.
Check with whoever is employing you about your policy. Even if your insurer is happy for you to do this work on a regular motor policy, that may not cover the packages etc… that you’re carrying. However, your employer’s policy may cover them.
Why do you need special car cover?
Driving for business, say delivering parcels for a courier company, means you’ll probably be covering a higher mileage than you might ordinarily. You’ll certainly be on the road a lot more than someone who simply uses their car to get to work or for doing the school run. And the more time you spend driving, the higher risk you are in the eyes of an insurer.
What’s more you might be parking your car in various ‑ possibly dubious ‑ locations. And your vehicle will be carrying all sorts of packages that might attract the undesirable elements of society.
What about when you leave your car?
Rule 123 of the Highway Code states you shouldn’t leave your car unattended with the engine running unnecessarily when you are on the public road. You also shouldn’t leave your keys in the car when you aren’t with it. This can invalidate your insurance meaning insurers won’t pay out.
What about loading your car?
If you’re acting as a courier, you shouldn’t load your car dangerously or have it in an unroadworthy condition. This includes overloading it and (assuming it isn’t a van with no rear glass) having windows obscured with packages so you can’t see out. In extreme cases you could be fined up to £5000 for flouting the law on vehicle loading.