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Insurance for your New Jersey Restaurant Delivery Drivers

May 1, 2022

It seems like the 2020s is the era for diversification. Competition across all industries is fierce and nowhere more so than in the catering industry. The landscape for restaurants has changed dramatically since 2019. Now even the smallest of boutique eateries is being asked for takeout, curbside pickup, delivery service, and more.

Perhaps you’ve always offered meal delivery, you have your own vehicle, your drivers are employees. Are they… are you insured? Your regular vehicle insurance and/or your existing restaurant insurance may cover you for commercial use, but more than likely you’ll need to acquire a delivery endorsement.

If you’re new to the food-delivery arena, then maybe you are using individual contractors who will be driving their own vehicles. Typically, the driver will need to provide their own auto insurance and need not be included in your restaurant insurance. New Jersey requires insurance for any vehicle that is driven or parked on a public highway, but most personal insurance policies do not offer coverage for delivery. If a contractor or employee is delivering goods that are not paid for, they may be covered on their regular personal insurance, but if the goods are paid for (e.g., meals from your restaurant), they almost certainly will not be covered.

In either case, your New Jersey restaurant is not liable for either personal or commercial auto insurance, although if your hiring options are competitive you might want to consider offering the driver a monetary contribution as a joining bonus. Before doing so, however, make sure that your future driver has a clean license, is a low-risk driver, and has excellent references. Not only do you want a driver who will deliver promptly and safely, you also want a driver who will properly represent your restaurant’s brand—they may not be on the restaurant premises, but theirs will be the face your customer will see…they are the face of your restaurant.

While you may not be responsible for providing auto insurance for your independent driver you should still discuss the implications of food delivery with your broker. No matter who’s driving, if a delivery vehicle is involved in an accident while delivering food ordered from your New Jersey restaurant, you may well find your business liable for some or all of the costs. Ask your broker what the liability and umbrella policies included in your restaurant insurance will cover and whether you need to increase coverage or add specific endorsements.

Offering a delivery service can be a great way to expand and extend your restaurant’s business but even if your driver is not your employee and their delivery car is not your vehicle, there will still be some potential risk to your restaurant. So…before you hit the road, talk to your broker, and make sure you have the right restaurant insurance in place.

For more information on top rated restaurant insurance in New Jersey contact Vozza Agency.

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