A recent investigation by NimbleFins has shown that none of the UK’s top car insurance providers will offer insurance policies to couriers and delivery drivers who use their cars for work, due to the additional risks of delivery driving. 

This could mean that someone driving for a company like Deliveroo, JustEat, UberEats or Amazon involved in an accident could find their insurer refusing to pay out, leaving the driver in a potentially devastating financial situation. It also means they might be driving illegally.  

The problem for drivers, explained:

  • Motorists must upgrade their vehicle insurance to include hire & reward (H&R) cover if they want to get a job making deliveries with their car, even a part-time job. The classes of use most common for personal cars (social, domestic & pleasure, commuting, and business use) are not sufficient – delivery drivers also need H&R cover.
  • However, it’s not easy for drivers to add H&R cover, because the largest UK car insurance companies won’t cover delivery driving themselves, nor will many accept top-up PAYG cover (e.g., Zego). The latest study shows which major car insurers will accept top-up H&R cover, and which won’t.
  • As a result, many motorists wanting to use their car for delivery work have to cancel their existing car insurance, incurring cancelling fees, and switch to specialist courier insurance that covers both their personal and delivery driving.
  • In many cases, car drivers end up paying 4-5X more for insurance to cover both their personal and delivery driving (the increase is not as extreme for van drivers).

NimbleFins queried the UK’s largest insurance companies about this issue, and conducted research into the market. Here’s a further explanation of what they found:

Growing numbers of workers left at risk

With the accelerating shift towards online deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic, a growing number of workers will be affected by the lack of insurance on the market. All delivery drivers and couriers who are using their personal car for making deliveries must have a special type of commercial insurance called Hire & Reward (H&R), which the insurers view as specialist cover. Drivers also need to inform their car insurer of their delivery or courier job. Not doing so leaves a driver in breach of their car insurance contract. However, getting properly insured will not be easy, as there’s a severe lack of straight-forward insurance options for delivery drivers on the market. 

Largest insurers ruling out solutions 

NimbleFins queried the UK’s largest 10 car insurance companies, and found that none will cover courier or food delivery work. This means that drivers already in possession of a Social, Domestic and Pleasure (SD&P) car insurance policy with the likes of Admiral or LV who start using their car to deliver parcels, food or more could be driving uninsured and risk voiding their policies entirely. There is a product on the market called top-up Hire & Reward (H&R) insurance, which in theory, could supplement an SD&P policy to cover delivery driving. 

However, we asked the TOP 10 insurers if they’ll permit their SD&P policyholders to buy top-up H&R, and only 4 have confirmed that this is acceptable: Admiral, RSA (More Than), Hastings and Ageas. (Plus Direct Line under strict circumstances.) Drivers insured by the other large insurers could have their underlying policies invalidated if they were to buy top-up H&R cover and drive as a courier or delivery driver.

Why don’t the big insurers cover delivery driving?

“Car insurance companies are generally nervous about insuring delivery drivers,” explains the CEO of market research company NimbleFins, Erin Yurday. “Delivery drivers are often on tight time frames, potentially rushing to meet an agreed delivery slot. Plus, they regularly venture down unfamiliar roads guided, and sometimes distracted, by an app on their device. They also frequently stop on busy roadsides to collect and deliver food and parcels,” adds Yurday. The risks are high, which means higher odds of accidents and insurance pay-outs.

What’s left to do for drivers?

There isn’t necessarily a simple solution to this problem. The best thing drivers can do is to talk to their insurers before taking out a Courier insurance policy.

Full information on the recent study by NimbleFins can be found here and explains the options for drivers further if their current provider won’t offer H&R cover.

By Alison