Delivering pizza can be a stressful job: it's tough to get pizzas across town in heavy traffic before they cool off, and customers order pizza for delivery when they don't want to go out on the road, like during a storm or late at night. However, if you need to make some cash, delivering pizzas can provide a reliable income, complete with tips. But before you fill out an application or accept a job as a pizza-delivery driver, there's one important thing that you need to consider—your auto insurance. Take a look at what you need to know to be covered while you deliver.
What If Your Personal Insurance Is Not Enough?
If you have a car, you should already have at least the minimum legally required auto insurance in your state. However, if you're going to be delivering pizzas, that personal insurance is not enough. When you load a stack of pizza boxes into your backseat and head off to deliver them to customers, you're not driving for personal reasons—you're using your car for commercial purposes. The majority of personal auto-insurance policies will not cover an accident that occurs while the car is being used for commercial purposes.
What Will Happen If You Get into an Accident?
Imagine that you're delivering pizzas, and you get into an accident. Whether the accident is your fault or another driver's fault, you'll need to report the accident to your insurance company in order to get coverage for your injuries or damages as well as to pay for any injuries and damages you might have caused. The problem is that the insurance company will deny your claim as soon as they learn that you were using the car for business. Not only that, but they may even cancel your policy entirely. Your auto-insurance policy requires you to let the insurance company know whether you make substantial changes in the way that you use your car, and if you don't, you've broken the agreement.
This means that your medical bills and damages will have to come out of your own pocket, and you can be held legally liable for the other driver's injuries and damages as well. You can be sued and end up losing assets or personal property that you might own. If you're a teenager driving your parents' car, your parents may be legally liable as well. Also, you'll need to get new auto insurance, which will most likely be more expensive both because of the recent accident and because the new insurance company will know that your old insurance company dropped you for breaking your insurance agreement—that makes you a riskier, and therefore more expensive, driver to insure.
Thinking of lying to the insurance company, or just leaving out the fact that you were working at the time of the accident? Think again. A police report will almost certainly mention the fact that you were delivering pizzas at the time of the accident, and your insurance company will look for a police report before paying out on your claim. The other driver is also likely to mention the pizzeria sign on the car to their insurance company or attorney. One way or another, your insurer will find out.
How Do You Protect Yourself?
Don't count on the restaurant that you're working for to provide insurance for you; unless you are driving a company car, you're probably on your own. Some restaurants carry an insurance policy called non-owned auto liability coverage, but don't make the mistake of thinking that this covers you. This insurance is intended to cover your employer, who may also be liable for some part of the damages if the other driver decides to sue.
Your only option is to talk to your insurance agent about switching to a policy that will cover you if you're in an accident on the job. Most of the time, this means switching from a personal insurance policy to a commercial insurance policy, although some insurers do offer supplemental insurance riders for delivery drivers that can be added on to your personal policy.
You can expect your insurance costs to increase when you take on a pizza-delivery job, so take that into account when you're deciding whether the pay offered is worthwhile. Be ready to shop around for an insurer who will work with you to find a policy that's affordable and covers your needs.