Has your vehicle usage changed during the pandemic? Double-check your insurance.

Since the start of the pandemic, personal vehicle usage has changed dramatically for many Canadians. Office workers stopped commuting and started working from home (or even took early retirement), which meant their car was sitting unused in the garage day after day.

Some Canadians lost their jobs or saw their hours cut, so they took on side jobs such as ridesharing services, meal deliveries or even home-based businesses. But many of these Canadians assumed that they were covered by their personal auto insurance (or by their employer). That’s not always the case.

2021-07-09-vehicle-use-main

It gets even more complicated if you’re working for multiple companies and using multiple apps while driving your car from location to location. To make it even a little more confusing, the rules may differ depending on your region, your insurer and the company you’re working for.

Here’s what you need to know when using your personal vehicle for commercial purposes to ensure you’re ready to hit the road with confidence.

Ridesharing

Ridesharing companies like Uber typically have a commercial fleet policy that covers their drivers — but drivers are often using their personal vehicle for both personal and commercial use. If you’re logged into the app and waiting to accept a ride, and are then involved in a collision, do you know who to call?

And, to be eligible for collision and comprehensive coverage under Uber’s commercial fleet policy, for example, you need to have the equivalent insurance under your own personal automobile policy.

“Uber’s commercial policy for Ontario has contingent collision and comprehensive coverage, but coverage only applies if the vehicle is also insured for collision and comprehensive coverage under their personal automobile policy,” says Vicky Le, Senior Product Specialist – Personal Lines, Wawanesa Insurance.

Many people also drive for multiple ridesharing companies. “Don’t assume that all ridesharing companies have the same coverages, deductibles or limits under their commercial policies,” says Le. This has the potential to cause issues during a claim if the driver is logged into multiple apps at the same time.

Meal delivery services

Say you drive for Uber and you’re covered by its commercial fleet policy. This doesn’t mean you automatically have coverage if you also work for meal delivery services. Picking up packages is considered a different exposure than picking up passengers. But that means you’re responsible for your own insurance — and it could potentially increase your premiums.

“A lot of people may think, ‘Okay, if I can drive for Uber, I can work for Skip the Dishes as well,’ but they’re two different exposures. Driving around customers is a bigger exposure than picking up tacos. But even if they’re just delivering food, they may not realize their policy has certain exclusions,” says Le.

If you’re racking up the kilometres, it could increase your premiums — but it doesn’t necessarily mean your insurance will jump by thousands of dollars.

For example, if you’re no longer commuting and only making occasional food deliveries, it may not affect your premiums by a significant amount. Either way, it’s well worth having a conversation with your broker to find out.

Parcel deliveries and home-based businesses

Doing parcel or package deliveries? Again, don’t assume you’re covered.

“More people are doing parcel deliveries these days, and they’re most likely not automatically covered under a commercial fleet policy, especially if they’re considered an independent contractor,” says Le. “Drivers should not assume that they’re covered for automobile insurance by the company for which they’re delivering parcels.”

In fact, delivering parcels for a company or private courier service may require additional coverages.

The same goes for deliveries related to home-based businesses. During the pandemic, a lot of people started up a side business out of their home, using their personal vehicle to deliver goods. Some small businesses also started to do their own deliveries.

The bottom line

It’s always best to talk to your insurance broker about how your vehicle usage has changed. “Depending on the usage of your vehicle, if you don’t tell your insurance broker, this can result in not having appropriate coverage,” says Le.

Depending on your particular circumstances, your broker will review your current policy and determine what adjustments may be required. This can be as simple as adding an endorsement to your policy or arranging for insurance with an insurer who is able to provide the appropriate coverage.

Keep in mind that your personal deductible won’t apply under a commercial policy. So, for instance, if you have a $500 deductible under your personal policy, but you make a claim under Uber’s commercial policy, you pay Uber’s deductible (which could be higher).

“If you’re thinking of driving for a rideshare company, delivering packages or have already started using your vehicle for other purposes, call your insurance broker to advise them,” says Le. “Your broker can help you review the company’s underlying insurance policy, as well as your own, to make sure you’re covered in the event of a loss.”

 

If you have any questions related to the use of your vehicle for a current work purpose or a potential future job, reach out to your broker and start the conversation now. They will be more than happy to walk you through your options and ensure you have the right coverage.

 


Back to blog listing

Share This Article