Shipt is a delivery service that delivers home products and groceries to people in a number of cities across the country. Shipt is one of a number of gig economy services that provides side work for people looking to make some extra money. Approved “shoppers” go to the store with a list of the items requested, shop and pay for the items, then drop them off at the customer's house.
Similar to Instacart or Postmates, customers shop and pay through the app, the shopper uses the app to claim a delivery and drop off the goods, and the shopper gets paid through the app, and sometimes, an additional cash tip from the customer. Shipt and similar delivery apps are convenient, especially for people with limited mobility or those who find themselves too busy to go out and do their own shopping.
Unfortunately, many shoppers who sign up for these services are under a false impression about their protections if they get into an accident. If the shoppers were employees, they would be protected by wage and hour laws, workplace liability, workers' compensation, and their employer's insurance. However, as independent contractors, they lose most of those protections and have to rely on themselves to recover after an injury.
Delivery Options in Denver
Shipt was acquired by Target but offers shopping from a number of local stores. In Colorado, Shipt is available in Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Fort Collins. Shipt customers in Denver can order from:
- King Soopers
- Office Depot
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Buy Buy Baby
- Dollar Tree
For people who want to be shoppers for Shipt, they can apply online, have an online interview, and if approved, can download the app and start working in a short time. According to Shipt, shoppers can make an average of $22 an hour. To qualify, shoppers need:
- To be at least 18 years old
- Valid driver's license
- Auto insurance
- 1997 or newer vehicle
- Knowledge of produce selection
- Ability to lift 40 pounds
Insurance Coverage in a Shipt Delivery Accident
Some of the most common points of confusion involve insurance coverage in a delivery app accident. According to Shipt, drivers need insurance but they don't really tell the drivers what kind of insurance they have to get. Most drivers end up with regular personal auto insurance policies, with the state minimum coverage. In Colorado, auto insurance minimums include:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons
- $15,000 for property damage
Shipt only provides limited coverage. Shipt provides liability coverage but not coverage for your own injuries or damage to your vehicle. Shipt coverage also ends when the products are delivered. If you get into an accident when you are driving away from the drop-off, you are back to your own policy.
Insurance is supposed to be used in case you are involved in an accident. If you are in an accident while delivering for Shipt, the insurance company considers that a commercial use of your vehicle. When drivers do look into getting additional commercial coverage or add-on policies, it may increase their insurance to the point where a few hours of side work is not worth the added expense.
Your personal insurance will not cover an accident that happened while you were making a delivery for profit. If you make a claim, your insurance company can deny your claim. The insurance company could even drop you because you did not tell them about your side job.
How will the insurance company find out about my delivery if I don't tell them? This is a common approach for drivers. Other app-based delivery drivers spread misinformation on message boards but beware of the risks of not telling the insurance company. If you make a claim and the insurance company later finds out about the delivery, that could be considered criminal insurance fraud.
If you are involved in a serious injury accident, the insurance company could be facing tens of thousands of dollars in claims. With that much at stake, they may be much more likely to look into what you were doing at the time of the accident. If they find out about a delivery, they can deny your claim and save the insurance company a lot of money. Ways to find out about a delivery include:
- Police officer report indicating delivery stickers, bags, or shirts
- Other driver noticing the driver was making a delivery
- Subpoena for phone records
- Social media images or posts about your side hustle
Liability in a Shipt Driver Accident
Liability in a car accident in Colorado is generally based on negligence. A driver may be considered negligent if they violated a traffic law and caused an accident. This could include running a stop sign, failing to yield to a pedestrian, or texting and driving. Delivery drivers may be more prone to vehicle accidents because they may be driving while distracted, speeding to make as many deliveries as possible, or drowsy driving after working another full-time job.
If the delivery driver was an employee, the employer could be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees. If you are injured by a commercial vehicle driver, the driver's employer may be liable for your injuries. However, if you are injured by a delivery app driver who is considered an “independent contractor,” the delivery app company may not be liable.
Denver Attorney for Shipt and Delivery Driver Accidents
If you were injured in a Denver Shipt accident, contact an experienced attorney for answers. Our experienced Colorado auto accident attorneys represent accident victims and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for their injuries. Do not accept just any settlement offer before understanding your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.