Due to Coronavirus (aka COVID19), many South Carolina (and across the country) businesses, especially restaurants are having to DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to stay in business. One major shift in business that many businesses/restaurants are doing is adding a delivery service to their line-up. Naturally, one would not necessarily think of their insurance (business insurance or a personal auto policy) to confirm whether they have delivery insurance for this type of exposure (delivering food for the restaurant they work at), especially if this is not something they normally did prior to Coronavirus, as people are just trying to make a living for their family and “do whatever it takes” to pay the bills.
So is there coverage? In short, I would say that virtually every business insurance policy and personal auto policy do not cover the exposure of food delivery (or other types of delivery) when acting in the name of a business. One would only find this coverage on their policy is if they specifically had this conversation with their South Carolina insurance agent in the past and said insurance agent wrote a policy to specifically cover the delivery service appropriately.
HOWEVER, because we live in such an amazing, beautiful, caring, and “step up to the plate” for your fellow man country, many insurance companies are throwing their guidelines out of the window to assist other Americans and providing insurance coverage for these exposures.
How is coverage provided? This is an excerpt from one of our insurance companies, Auto-Owners Insurance, and how they are covering this delivery exposure as it relates to the personal auto policy in South Carolina and many other states: “We will provide coverage under a personal auto policy when an insured driver is employed by and engaged in delivering food on behalf of a restaurant impacted by COVID-19. This coverage does not apply to drivers working for a Transportation Network Company or similar delivery service at the time of the loss. Any broadened coverage provided pursuant to this Bulletin is effective from March 23, 2020, until June 1, 2020.”
What does this mean exactly? This means that for a limited time period, as mentioned in the excerpt, they are waiving this policy exclusion in your South Carolina personal auto policy. So if you had a loss/accident/claim associated during food delivery; whether it be property damage or liability, your auto policy will now respond. Certainly, you would need to make sure you have the proper coverages on your policy i.e. comprehensive and collision coverage (coverage for your vehicle should it get damaged in an at-fault accident) or proper liability limits should you be at-fault in an accident and injure someone else or damage someone else’s property. These insurance companies are not adding any additional coverage, just removing an exclusion that is normally found on a typical personal auto policy in South Carolina and many other states.
How are business insurance policies affected? Business insurance policies in South Carolina and in other states are acting in a very similar manner to the above mentioned personal auto policy coverage extension. Here is an excerpt from one of our commercial insurance companies, Main Street America Insurance Group on how they are temporarily adding the exposure of “hired and/or non-owned auto insurance coverage for the exposure of delivery services” (sorry, it is a little long but detailed and should answer most, if not all of your questions). Many other insurance companies have followed suit:
“If an existing restaurant account with HNOA (Hired and/or Non-Owned Auto) coverage begins temporary employee delivery to respond to this situation, we can accept the delivery operations on a temporary basis based upon the following driver guidelines. Temporary means the acceptability of employee delivery ends when the restaurant operation is legally able to open to customers. New business restaurant insureds with HNOA coverage or requests from existing restaurant accounts to add HNOA coverage, would follow the same guidelines. Agents will need to provide the scope of the driver delivery plans and designated employee driver information as soon as practical, including:
Coverage for delivery is subject to meeting Driver Eligibility.
o Employee auto insurance (presuming they are driving their own vehicles) should be verified by the agent to be valid and with limits of at least $300,000. Although this may be difficult to capture, please work with your insureds to try and meet this important insurance verification step.
If there is a commercial auto policy, non-owned auto coverage should be added to that policy. If there is no commercial auto, then the coverage can be added to the Main Line Business Owner’s Policy (Main Line BOP).
Driver Eligibility (same as current Commercial Auto)
o All designated employee drivers and their driving information must be submitted.
o Drivers must be licensed in the U.S. with at least three years of experience.
o Drivers under the age of 21 are unacceptable, regardless of experience.
o Drivers must not have a DUI, Reckless Driving or other serious violation in the past three years or evidence of multiple types of these violations, regardless of the number of years.
o Drivers must not have more than two minor violations and/or at-fault accidents in the past three years.”
What Should I Do? We recommend that even though your South Carolina (or another state) personal auto insurance company and/or business insurance policies will temporarily provide coverage for the exposure of delivery, that you confirm with your insurance agent and/or insurance company and get something in writing that you do or do not have coverage.
Should you need help navigating this exposure and would like to speak with an insurance agent at Mappus, connect with us below or call/text 843-763-4200. We pray that you and your family (both actual and business) stay safe during this time and we are here should you need us.