COVID-19: Guidance issued on auto coverage for restaurant delivery drivers
NASHVILLE – In an effort to aid Tennessee consumers, business owners and employees affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) requests that licensed insurance companies in Tennessee work with restaurants and employees to ensure that restaurant employees now engaged in delivering food options during the pandemic are fully insured either under their personal automobile policy or via a restaurant’s commercial automobile policy.
Under Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 17, Tennessee restaurants may remain open for delivery service. As such, restaurant employees who typically do not deliver food may temporarily provide food delivery services using their own insured personal vehicles. Personal automobile policies may not provide coverage for vehicles used for commercial purposes, like food delivery. Further, these drivers may not be covered under a restaurant’s commercial automobile policy. As a result, many of the temporary food delivery drivers may be inadvertently uninsured as they perform their job duties during the pandemic.
In a new TDCI bulletin, TDCI requests licensed property and casualty insurance carriers add delivery coverage to personal auto policies for restaurant employees engaged in delivering food on behalf of a restaurant. The Department will approve riders or endorsements based on this request within one business day.
“This bulletin supports Governor Lee’s Executive Order No. 17 by encouraging carriers to ensure Tennessee workers and businesses can continue operating without worrying about using a personal automobile that may not have proper automobile insurance coverage,” said TDCI Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “During this emergency, I join Governor Lee and others and urge all Tennesseans to continue to follow all recommended health practices and social distancing as well as the rules of their municipality.”
Under the bulletin, the Department requests carriers should allow a restaurant to retroactively add additional employees not previously named under a restaurant’s commercial automobile policy if an employee is operating a vehicle covered by the policy within the scope of their employment.
“Restaurants and their employees should contact our team if they need assistance in procuring automobile coverage for making deliveries,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner Rachel Jrade-Rice.
The Department requests carriers provide the above-described coverages beginning on March 26, 2020 until restaurants are no longer subject to dining-in restrictions due to an executive order. Insurers may, at their own discretion, provide retroactive coverage beginning on March 22, 2020.The Department does not request that carriers afford coverage to drivers who otherwise have coverage for deliveries through their personal policy or another policy. Additionally, this coverage also does not apply to drivers working for a transportation network company or similar delivery company. Lastly, this requested coverage is only afforded to delivery drivers who do not have such coverage and this coverage does not stack with any coverage that is currently afforded.