The buzz phrase on everyoneâ€™s lips at the moment is â€˜gig economyâ€™. No industry is feeling the effects of the trend towards temporary and short-term engagements more so than the delivery industry. There are plenty of positive aspects for a courier driver using their own vehicle to deliver goods, but there are also many additional factors that need to be considered by those transitioning from traditional full-time or contract work to this kind of employment.
One such aspect is that of insurance.
Insurance and the â€˜Gigâ€™ Courier Driver
If you work on a full-time basis for a delivery firm theyâ€™ll have all the necessary policies in place to cover their fleet of vehicles and drivers â€“ or, at least, they should have. But when you use your own van or car (or bike) to transport other peopleâ€™s goods for money, itâ€™s a very different story.
Insurance companies have been fairly quick to jump on the bandwagon and recognise that the gig economy is no fly-by-night fad. More and more people are seeing this as a legitimate and often very lucrative way to work, so the smart companies have adapted in order to be attractive as an option to consumers and get their slice of the pie.
How Does it Work?
Traditionally, a business would purchase appropriate fleet insurance to cover drivers and goods in the event of theft, damage in transit or if a courier driver is involved in an accident. For those who take on jobs in their own vehicle, however, relying on personal insurance, or none at all, is certainly not ideal. (In most cases a personal vehicle policy would not cover someone carrying put paid work.)
So, whatâ€™s the answer? Savvy new players have come up with a very viable alternative, which allows a casual or self-employed courier driver to take out third party liability policies to cover them in a professional capacity. Apps like Zego, for instance, allow a courier driver to purchase a policy to cover them for third party liability as and when they need it, on a pay-per-use basis.
Transportation networking giant Uber has implemented a similar system (in conjunction with an established insurance company) so their drivers have access to insurance on a per-km travelled basis.
Keep Up or Fall Behind
The message is clear to the traditional insurers: keep up or lose out to smaller, more adaptable players who are agile enough to capitalise on the social and lifestyle trends that are driving the economy in an exciting new direction.
If youâ€™re an established courier driver thinking of expanding your horizons and youâ€™re tempted by the â€˜gigâ€™ way of life, or if youâ€™re someone entirely new to the delivery industry who wants to get out there in your own van or car and make a few quick bucks, donâ€™t be tempted to scrimp on insurance. The industry is full of horror stories of financial hardship or ruin simply because someone subscribed to the most famous last words in human history: â€œItâ€™ll never happen to me.â€
Whether youâ€™re out on the road all day every day, or just once in a blue moon, life happensâ€¦
Making sure youâ€™re appropriately protected to carry out your cash for carrying business is imperative. Luckily, with the rise of pay as you go third party liability apps, it doesnâ€™t have to be hard to organise.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day jobs for courier drivers in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.
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