I have seen a rise in unsociable makeshift delivery drivers up and down my road, blaring out music who speed from one order to another.
I’ve seen many with cars containing packages from high street retailers completely blocking the rear window and plenty of drivers leaving the engine idling as they deliver.
I know there has been a huge rise in people ordering items online and for many, becoming a delivery driver has been a job lifeline, but was wondering if they need proper insurance?
Is it illegal to drive with your rear window obscured and can they be fined for engine idling? And leaving their car unlocked, with the keys in the ignition: surely that kind of behaviour would result in higher premiums?
More delivery drivers appear to be using their own car when handing out orders to customers
Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: There has been a rise in domestic deliveries since the start of lockdown as many turn to the internet for purchases.
As such, there has been extra demand for delivery drivers – and many appear to be using their own vehicles.
You point out that you’ve seen some blocking their rear window with parcels which could potentially impact whether their insurance is valid or not.
Anyone who uses a car or van for paid services, for example, dropping off parcels or delivering food, must have cover for ‘carriage of goods for hire and reward’ via a commercial van or commercial motor policy.
This is because cover for carrying other people’s goods or materials in return for payment is not covered by standard private car insurance policies.
With regards to driving behaviour, all drivers must adhere to The Highway Code, regardless of whether they are driving for private leisure purposes or delivery services.
It states that you must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave the engine running unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary on a public road.
There has been a rise in deliveries since the start of lockdown as people rely on online orders
Generally, if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so while you exit, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution.
A fixed penalty notice of £20 can be issued by a Traffic Warden for this offence.
Most insurers also have a ‘keys in car’ clause, which means theft is not covered if a vehicle is stolen with the keys in the ignition.
It is both illegal and inadvisable to drive with your rear window obscured, unless your vehicle is a commercial van which has been designed to have no rear view mirror.
There is a possible £60 fine and up to three points on your driving license for this offence.
Some companies who use delivery drivers will offer them ‘top up’ insurance to cover the delivery use. This means their car would be privately insured as normal, but when the car is used for delivery.
This is Money contacted a number of major insurers to find out what insurance they require their customers to have if they are to use their own car or van for deliveries.
An Admiral spokesperson replies: We have strict rules around customers using their cars for deliveries during lockdown. If they are volunteering to deliver for the NHS or vulnerable people, they don’t need to inform us.
However, some people will have had their employment affected by Covid-19 and they may be taking on temporary delivery work to help them during a financially difficult time.
During the lockdown, we are allowing existing customers to use their cars for this purpose, but they need to contact us to inform us first and the policy is referred to Underwriting for review.
If we agree to extend cover to allow them to do this, they must pay additional premium to include business use on their policy and update their occupation where required. We also make the Claims department aware.
This is a temporary measure during the lockdown and when appropriate we’ll contact them to let them know this additional cover will end.
They have to abide by all other terms and conditions of the policy. If they leave the vehicle unsecured and it’s stolen, for example because they left the engine running and the car unattended, their claim may be refused.
The goods they are carrying wouldn’t be covered on the policy, so they’d need to ensure their employer has insurance for these in case they stolen.
Anyone using a car for paid services must have cover for carriage of goods for hire and reward
A spokesperson for Aviva replies: Delivery drivers would require cover that allows for the Carriage of Goods for hire and reward.
Unfortunately, Aviva does not provide this element of cover for parcel or takeaway/food delivery.
Steve Tucker, car insurance specialist at NFU Mutual, replies: If drivers are using their vehicles for voluntary services to support their community during the Covid-19 crisis, for instance if delivering groceries or medicines, then they may be covered for the alternative use if their insurer has joined NFU Mutual in signing up to the ABI’s commitments for car insurance.
In this case, the individual does not need to contact their insurer to update their documents or extend cover.
This applies to all categories of NHS Volunteer Responders, including transporting patients, equipment, or other essential supplies.
However, if drivers are using their vehicles for any other deliveries, such as deliveries for commercial use, then it would be their responsibility to ensure that they are covered to use the vehicle for such a purpose – it’s not automatically available.
Alex Borgnis, Head of Motor Underwriting at LV= General Insurance, replies: All road users should take out the appropriate level of insurance.
If during this time someone has taken up a new occupation which now includes using their vehicle for business purposes, such as a delivery driver, they should contact their insurer to ensure they are covered.
Many companies who employ delivery workers have a policy which covers all their drivers, so anyone taking up this new occupation should make sure they understand what they are and are not covered for when using their own or a company vehicle.
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