5 On Your Side

What happens when a delivery driver causes property damage?

Posted February 8, 2021 4:09 p.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2021 11:41 p.m. EST

— Home delivery exploded in the last year. It’s popular and convenient -- until a driver damages your property.

In one case reported to 5 On Your Side, the driver just took off leaving crumpled bricks and a damaged wall.

"I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’" recalled Durham homeowner Carlyle White. "He tore the wall up pretty good."

White said the man was a driver for food delivery company Grubhub, who damaged his wall while trying to deliver an order, not even to White, but to his neighbor.

White added that the driver was parked in his driveway when they told him he was in the wrong place.

"He quickly backed his car up and slammed into the wall," said White. "The driver drives off and does nothing to share his information or tell us anything about his insurance or anything."

White said he was stunned, and even more so when he called Grubhub.

"That person was rude, short with me, and in essence said, we bear no responsibility for anything that our drivers do," he said. "`We have no insurance to cover our drivers, they have to insure themselves.’"

White said the representative would not tell him the driver’s name, and the neighbor didn’t have it. Worried about the cost of repair, he called Durham police and 5 On Your Side.

A viewer in Sanford also reached out after an Amazon driver ran over her mailbox. It took 5 On Your Side getting involved before the company paid $150 to have the mailbox repaired.

Whether a mailbox, lawn or even your house damaged by a delivery driver, you want it fixed. Companies can and often do cover it.

But 5 On Your Side found that is not always the case.

It can be complicated.

North Carolina’s Department of Insurance says personal auto insurance policies do not cover the use of a personal vehicle for a delivery business. For that, a driver needs a business policy, which many drivers don’t realize, and companies don’t always verify.

State Farm, the state’s largest insurer, doesn’t even insure delivery drivers using personal vehicles.

Another issue is that often a claim must first be filed against a driver’s policy before a company policy kicks in. So, if a delivery driver damages your property and does not have the right insurance, you could be left with a bill if the company doesn’t pay.

5 On Your Side reached out to companies to ask about delivery insurance policies.

Here’s what to know before your next order:

White said he's relieved Grubhub was more responsive when 5 On Your Side reached out. A spokeswoman emailed saying they “require all delivery partners to have insurance and have zero-tolerance for misconduct."

The spokesperson added that the driver was terminated.

As for the damage to White’s wall, Grubhub paid him $7,500 to get it repaired.

"It wasn’t one of my grandchildren, and it wasn’t a dog, and you know, at least it was property and property can be repaired," he said.

To help delivery drivers have the right insurance, starting this summer, some insurers will offer coverage that can just be added to a personal policy.

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