Financially bashed by DoorDash? Sacramento driver left out to dry despite company’s boast of ‘excess insurance’

Doordasher Russell Allison's Ford Edge after an unfortunate delivery.

By Scott Thomas Anderson

Gig drivers count on the companies they work with having clear policies and standing by their promised protections, so when a Sacramento Doordasher recently had his car wrecked while on a delivery, he was shocked to see that the $16 billion company refused to help with its lauded “excess insurance” for contractors. Now, the driver is quickly accruing debt and facing a potential legal battle, which is a hard prospect for anyone trying to survive in the gig economy.

Prior to June 3, Russell Allison had a stellar record of performance for DoorDash, having worked for the app-based service a year-and-a-half and successfully made over 2,400 deliveries. Allison says the reason this streak changed isn’t his fault. On that early June evening, Brennan Murphy, a Newcastle resident, placed a DoorDash order for food from FUKUMI Ramen in Roseville. Allison grabbed the order and then headed east into Placer County.

When Allison pulled up to Murphy’s house, a large black iron gate leading to the driveway was open. Allison says that, as he prepared to make his delivery, the gate closed on his 2014 Ford Edge, crashing against its right fender. After his car was hit, Allison backed up and watched its front-end begin tearing off. One of the car’s tires and rims was damaged, too.

Murphy’s wife was standing out front to see it all happen. The Murphys’ statement to DoorDash is that Allison somehow collided with their gate. While the deliverer vehemently disagrees with the deliverees on this point, all parties involved agree on one thing – Allison was still in the middle of his DoorDash assignment when the accident happened.

That’s a vital detail because DoorDash’s policy explicitly says the company provides extra insurance when wrecks occur while dashers are engaged in deliveries.

“This policy applies only to damages you cause to other parties, and only to accidents while on an active delivery when you are in possession of goods to be delivered,” the company’s online literature reads. “Active delivery is from the time the independent contractor accepts a delivery to the time they drop off the delivery.”

Allison certainly needed the extra insurance. Due to the extent of the damage, and his Ford’s Kelley Blue Book value, California rules dictate that the car has to be totaled. Allison says he has full coverage with Liberty Mutual, but when he put in a claim, it was denied because he was working for DoorDash at the time of the incident.

At first, Allison thought things would be alright because the Murphys’ food was inside his car when the gate hit him, which falls under DoorDash’s definition of what an active delivery is. Per the company’s policy, Allison filed a claim with Crum & Foster, the insurance provider that works with DoorDash.

The claim was denied on the accusation that Allison wasn’t making a delivery.

“Crum & Foster is a perfect name for them, because they’re crumby,” Allison reflected. “They’ve now denied my claim twice, and I’m just getting the run-around when I try to contact them … They’re saying I wasn’t active, but I have written proof that I was, and that the food was in the car.”

That proof is in the form of a statement that Murphy made to both DoorDash and Crum & Foster.

“The Doordasher Russell Allison was in fact on an active delivery when the collision occurred,” Murphy wrote. “The food was in his car and hadn’t been delivered yet … My wife Jacqueline Murphy was a direct witness to this incident and confirms that the driver was in fact on an active delivery.”

This has, so far, not moved the needle for Crum & Foster. The company could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Allison is losing $800 a month in car payments and storage fees for the Ford – and he’s in transportation limbo. He’ll also have to pay to have his car towed for appraisal as he weighs his legal options.

Knowing that DoorDash operates in 7,000 American cities and soaks up 51% of the gig delivery economy, Allison is now wondering if he should walk away for good, as well as how many other drivers have been similarly hosed.

“I don’t feel safe anymore doing DoorDash, because you can’t believe what they say,” he told SN&R. “And I can’t be the only one this has happened to … And if this is a case where Doordashers really aren’t covered, I think most of them simply don’t know that.”  

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5 Comments on "Financially bashed by DoorDash? Sacramento driver left out to dry despite company’s boast of ‘excess insurance’"

  1. In the article you quoted the part in the doordash policy that says exactly why the policy will never pay out. “Only applies to damage you cause to other parties.” Doordash has never promised to cover a Dasher’s own vehicle.

    The vast majority of delivery contractors are uninsured when out on deliveries. With few exceptions, personal insurance policies have language that excludes coverage while engaged in livery -transporting goods or people for hire. That means it’s the responsibility of the driver to get an addon to their policy that will cover them or switch to a policy that offers such coverage. It may require getting a commercial policy.

    Doordash’s policy clearly states they don’t cover your property. Ever. So they are not wrong to deny the claim, however the agency appears to be incompetent by even throwing out the excuse that the driver wasn’t on a delivery.

    One area where doordash is culpable. They never warn Dashers about this. That is because their model requires on enlisting a lot of Dashers and making that sign up process frictionless. I believe I heard that 90% of Dashers deliver for 5 hours or less a week. Most of those drivers are not going to change their insurance for a 5-hour a week gig. For that reason, doordash does not warn the drivers thus leaving millions vulnerable.

  2. I was on the receiving end of a post mates driver hitting my car. Long story short, my ins footed MY bill. His Ins co dropped him & backdated his insurance so they weren’t responsible. My thing is why in the heck are these companies able to employ ppl daily with no accountability for making sure they are properly insured. It’s a public safety concern because these types of jobs put more people on the road for work. They get paid & leave everyone else to pick up the pieces.

  3. I find it interesting that there is no single insurance carrier for door dash auxiliary liability insurance. So far, I’ve learned Progressive, Geico, and Assurant, cover Dashers on delivery liability, and they subcontract claims to Global P&C claims, Voyager Indemnity insurance, crumb and Foster. A door dasher ran a red, and I was the lucky one to connect that morning. A bus dash cam even caught the whole thing and the police reviewed the footage on scene. It took 34 days for them to accept liability, and now almost two years later, with statute of limitations almost up, seems they are running out the clock. Some of email responses Ive received appear to be taunting. Its UNREAL. And yes, delivery app companies and ride share companies have a business model that ends up being a public safety issue. In the accident I was involved in, I can still see the driver looking down towards the lower part of her center console. Her light had been red for 3 seconds and hadn’t even touched the brakes when we connected. That means she had not looked up at the light for an estimated 5 or 6 seconds. The other day, a woman was killed by a dasher when she was crossing the street with her daughter.

  4. It’s an easy fix. Buy a new bumper or a used one from a junk yard and throw it on. Fender can be bought for 45-50 bucks bumper 150 -200 bucks tire 70-150 bucks. Lol.. total $400 max — and a little work. Honestly not even that much work!!! !!!! Are you helpless… ?

  5. Kay Whitcomb | May 5, 2023 at 10:33 am | Reply

    My son’s car was hit by a Dasher. The DD driver had just picked up their order. They were clearly at fault, which was backed up by witnesses, and the police report clearly stated that they were at fault. The DD driver’s insurance company denied the claim since they were dashing and did not purchase coverage for commercial driving. Long story sorta short, my son’s car was totaled, and his insurance company had to pick up the bill. Worse yet, his car was totaled and since he did not have gap insurance he wound up paying the $7000 difference between what he owed on the car and what his insurance company paid out for his totaled car. We are pursuing this in small claims court, but who knows what if anything he will recover. Door Dash and other food delivery companies are knowingly putting uninsured drivers out on the road. They do not check to see if their drivers have purchased the required liability insurance for their delivery driving. From what I understand, these commercial insurance riders are not easy to purchase and can be expensive. The typical DD driver is highly unlikely to buy the extra coverage. So, the public winds up footing the bill for Door Dash’s legal liability.

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