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How Could Instacart Not Be Insured?

You might be surprised by this but Instacart doesn’t provide commercial automobile insurance coverage for its drivers. As a result, most Instacart drivers will not be insured. The Instacart driver may have their own car insurance, but unless they disclosed to the insurer that they were using that vehicle for commercial purposes then the personal car insurer is likely to deny coverage.

The only remaining option is for the Instacart driver to purchase and pay for their own commercial policy of insurance – and that is extremely unlikely as it is not required by law and the cost of a commercial policy is prohibitive. After all, we are talking about hard-working people trying to hustle and make a few bucks by shopping and delivering food for people.

Instacart in Florida

Instacart is a growing company and becoming a popular option for many people in Florida. For a small fee, you can use an Instacart app and order your groceries, wines and liquors and even your pet supplies. The Instacart driver gets you order and goes to the store for you. They pick up everything on your list and deliver it to your home or office. Instacart, with headquarters in San Francisco, offers to shop for you in Florida at:

  • Total Wine
  • Publix Liquors
  • Petco
  • Costco
  • BJ’s
  • Whole Foods
  • Publix
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • ABC Liquors

You can expect the list to grow too. But what about accidents and injuries that happen on the road and in the stores? Here is some of the basics:

    • Instacart shopper/driver injuries: Instacart does not provide worker’s compensation since they classify their shoppers and drivers as independent contractors. Lyft, Uber, Amazon and Postmates take the same position.
    • Customer’s Injuries: Here is where it gets interesting. Imagine an Instacart shopper runs into a display and both the shopper and a customer are injured. Instacart has an agreement with its participating stores to assume any liability caused by their shoppers. So, in that situation, Instacart would pay for the customer’s injuries but pay nothing for the Instacart shopper’s injuries.
    • Instacart Car Accidents: As stated above, Instacart does not provide a commercial car insurance policy for its delivery people. If sued, Instacart would claim that the driver was an independent contractor over who they had no control and therefore they are not legally liable. The shopper’s personal car insurance would likely decline coverage unless the shopper had a rideshare insurance policy or a commercial policy. Without either of those, a victim injured in an Instacart car accident could be left with one possible option – their own uninsured motorist coverage (which is not legally required).

 

Instacart Compared with Postmates, Amazon Flex, Doordash, Uber and Lyft

When it comes to commercial insurance coverage, Instacart stands on its own. The following companies provide commercial insurance for their drivers:

  • Doordash
  • Amazon Flex
  • Postmates
  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • UberEATS

In Florida, Uber and Lyft are required by Florida Statute 627.748 to provide insurance for their drivers. That law only applies to transactions involving “riders”. As of now, Uber extends its insurance to UberEATS. Doordash, Postmates and Amazon Flex all provide insurance for their drivers when they are on the clock. But Instacart is the first one to take the step of not providing any insurance for its delivery drivers. One wonders if at some point, the other delivery companies will take notice and assume the same position as Instacart. In terms of profit and competitive advantage, Instacart is enjoying a significant edge.

What Can be Done About Instacart?

One simple solution would be to include app-based delivery services in Florida Statute 627.748. But is that the best solution? What would be the unintended consequences of such legislation? Pizza, Chinese food and flower shops would be required to provide expensive commercial insurance with the same limits as required of Uber and Lyft? That would no doubt cause smaller businesses to close. Common sense also tells us that the cost of legally required insurance would ultimately be passed onto us as the consumers. Are we ready to pay $15 for a pizza delivery?

Unfortunately, in the analysis of the Miami personal injury lawyers at the Wolfson Law Firm we can expect the following to happen:

  • Doordash, Amazon Flex, Postmates and UberEATS will follow the lead of Instacart and stop providing commercial insurance for their delivery drivers unless and until maintaining such coverage is mandated by law.
  • Uber and Lyft will lobby the Florida legislature to include those delivery companies under Florida Statute 627.748 and at the same time, reduce the required insurance limits for all these companies. Of course, these delivery companies will fight against being included but if they are, then they would also want to have the lowest amount of required insurance.
  • At present, Uber and Lyft are required by Florida law to have $1 million dollars of coverage while on route to pick up a rider and while the rider is in the vehicle. When the Lyft or Uber driver has the app on but is not engaged with a rider then the coverage is $50,000 per injured person – $100,000 per accident aggregate and $25,000 for property damage (50/100/25). Our Florida Uber accident lawyers have long anticipated that Uber, Lyft and any TNC companies covered by Florida Law will push for the required $1 million of liability coverage to be reduced to the same level as the coverage between trips (50/100/25). This would represent a significant savings to these companies which would result in an appreciable increase in profits.

This is a situation that our delivery accident lawyers in Miami, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale will keep a close eye on. It is important for victims injured in association with any of these companies that they have available insurance to compensate them for their losses, damages and harms.

Florida Delivery Driver Accident Lawyers

The delivery driver injury lawyers at the Wolfson Law Firm have worked tirelessly for their clients since 1963. We have offices in Miami, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. We are available to meet in any of our offices by appointment or we can come to see you wherever it is most convenient. We litigate personal injury cases throughout the great state of Florida.

Our Florida personal injury attorneys never charge a fee unless and until we make a recovery for you. Call us today for your free and confidential consultation in:

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