The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown have made changes to how we live and work. For months, most of us were locked down in our homes as a way to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Also, during this time, many have lost their jobs or suffered reduced working hours, causing a huge decrease in their income.
Also, during the lockdown, and on into recent weeks, online purchases have become more popular. With the increase in online purchases, and others looking to replace lost income, some people have taken to providing parcel delivery services for pay. The issue is that some are using their private vehicles for this work.
Have you noticed delivery drivers in private cars? Are they speeding, or have their back windows blocked with parcels? Or have you come across cars left with the keys in the ignition left running unattended? In those cases, the drivers may be delivering their packages. They leave the engine running in their vehicle in order to speed off to the next delivery that much faster.
Are these drivers breaking any laws? For instance, it is illegal to have the rear window blocked, or to leave the car unattended with the engine running?
In this article, we’ll take a look at these and other questions. If you’re a private person who has taken on paid work as a delivery courier, then you need to pay attention. You may need to buy additional car insurance and stop certain behaviors that could cancel or void your vehicle insurance.
1). Cover Carriage of Goods for Hire and Reward
Anyone who carries and delivers goods for payment needs to have what is called carriage of goods for hire and reward coverage. This is a type of commercial motor policy; a commercial insurance policy is needed because carrying goods and materials are not covered under private car insurance policies.
2). Following the Highway Code
When it comes to driving on public roads, all drivers (commercial and private) must abide by the driving rules set down by the Highway Code.
In addition, the code says that a vehicle must not be left parked, unattended with the engine running. If caught, a driver can face a penalty of £20 from the Traffic Warden.
The engine should not be left running unnecessarily if the vehicle is stationary on a public road. In that case, the parking brake should be applied, and the engine needs to be switched off to reduce both noise pollution and emissions.
In addition, many insurers have a clause called “keys in the car,” which states that if a car is stolen with the keys in the ignition, the theft will not be covered.
3). Driving with the Rear Window Blocked
Driving with the rear window of a vehicle blocked is also illegal. The only time this is OK is if a vehicle is a commercial van that has been specifically designed to have no rear-view mirror.
If a driver is stopped for an obscured rear window, they could face a fine of £60, with three points on their driving license for this breach.
What Do Insurers Say About These Problems?
Different insurers will have varying motor vehicle insurance policies. Let’s take a look:
Admiral Insurance has strict requirements for customers who use their cars for delivery services during the lockdown. The only exception is if the customer is doing volunteer work to make deliveries for NHS or to people unable to leave their homes. In that case, the customer does not need to contact their insurer.
On the other hand, if they are taking on temporary work as a delivery person during the lockdown, then the customer should contact the insurer. They need to let the insurer know their car is being used to make deliveries for pay. In this instance, Admiral then refers to the policy to Underwriting for review.
If the underwriters agree to extend coverage for this purpose, then the customer will need to pay more on their premium to include business use on their insurance policy. They may also need to update their occupation.
The customer then needs to follow all the regular terms and conditions of their policy. If they leave a vehicle unattended and it’s stolen because the engine was running, the claim may be refused. In addition, the goods and materials they carry would not be covered under the policy. So, it is imperative they check with their employer to make sure their insurance covers these items if the vehicle’s stolen.
Aviva: customers who are working as delivery drivers are required to have coverage that allows for the carriage of goods for hire and reward. However, the company does not provide this type of coverage for parcel, takeaway or food delivery services.
NFU Mutual: this company allows customers to use their vehicles to do volunteer work, such as making deliveries including groceries and medicines. In that situation, they may be covered for alternative use if their insurer is a member of NFU Mutual. In that case, the customer is not required to contact the insurer to extend coverage or update documents.
However, drivers using their vehicles for commercial deliveries would need to make sure their vehicle is covered for that type of work. They need to contact their insurer to see if they can be covered to provide delivery services for hire.
LV=General Insurance: if a customer has started to work as a delivery driver, they need to contact the insurer and make sure they have coverage for this type of work when using a personal vehicle. It’s also necessary for the customer to check with their employer to see if their personal vehicle is covered or not. If so, then they’ll need to find out what their employer’s insurance covers and what it doesn’t cover.
So, if you’re using a personal vehicle for carrying parcels and making deliveries, then be sure to check with your insurance company. Ask if they have a policy that can cover your delivery service work. And remember to check with your employer to see if they’re insurance covers you and your vehicle, too. That way, you’ll be sure to have the necessary coverage and be legal at the same time!