The allure of gig work, like shopping for Instacart, is obvious – flexible hours, work at your own pace, get paid daily if you wish and so on.
But there are some overhead costs associated with getting started. Namely, different types of insurance, because you are using your car and your body while you’re working.
Does Instacart provide insurance for their shoppers and other employees? Do they help their shoppers obtain insurance if they don’t have it already? Here’s what you need to know.
Does Instacart Provide Insurance In 2023?
For the vast majority of Instacart’s shoppers, the company does not provide any type of insurance. This is because full-service shoppers are considered independent contractors, not employees. Instacart is partnered with Stride, however, an insurance company with affordable health, life and accident insurance plans, as well as tax assistance.
Let’s get more in-depth about what types of insurance Instacart helps connect their shoppers to, what benefits their employees can expect, and we’ll even touch on how most shoppers will file their taxes. Keep reading for all the details!
Does Instacart Provide Health Insurance?
Instacart does not provide health insurance to its hundreds of thousands of full-service shoppers across North America. Rather, they are considered independent contractors.
Independent contractors are not employees; we would also think of them as freelancers. And like all freelancers, the company for which they work does not give them benefits.
Instead, Instacart has partnered with Stride, a health insurance broker that helps gig workers find affordable health insurance plans.
Some of the most recognizable brands out there also work with stride, including Uber and Olive Garden.
The way it works is that you first enter some basic personal information on their website.
Based on that, Stride searches its database of 200 different insurance companies and finds the cheapest options for you.
Even better, Stride can easily put you in touch with plans that, depending on your income, are free or low-cost.
Stride offers plans not just for health insurance, but also dental and vision, life insurance, disability and accident (or personal injury).
And for gig workers like Instacart shoppers, their app also has income and tax tracking – since contract workers don’t get taxes taken out of their pay.
If you already have health insurance, you might also consider injury insurance through Stride.
You can use it as supplemental insurance in the event you get hurt in an accident, work-related or not.
But if you’re shopping for Instacart, the probability of you getting into an accident goes way up.
Most Americans can’t afford their medical bills after a hospital stay, even with pricey employer-offered health insurance.
If Instacart shopping is your main source of income, or provides a hefty supplement, there’s a lot at risk if you get hurt on the job.
Stride’s injury insurance starts at $25/month.
What Kind Of Car Insurance Do You Need To Drive Instacart?
Did you know that you need special car insurance if you want to work for Instacart?
Instacart doesn’t provide any coverage whatsoever to their full-service shoppers, so it’s on you to make sure you have what you need.
WalletHub outlines the basics:
- You will need to purchase extra rideshare coverage for your existing plan
- If your plan doesn’t offer that add-on, you will likely have to switch companies
- Or you can purchase a commercial insurance policy for your vehicle
Can you not do any of these and work for Instacart?
No one is going to stop you, but if anything happens to your vehicle while you’re shopping/delivering and your insurance company finds out that you withheld information…
That’s considered insurance fraud. And you do not want to go down that path, because you could end up with a huge fine or jail time.
Does Instacart Offer Any Benefits?
Because full-service shoppers are not employees of Instacart, the company is under no obligation to offer them benefits.
Instacart has, however, gifted these workers with bonuses in the past, particularly relating to their ongoing work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are also in-store shoppers, though, who are considered Instacart employees.
These part-time only positions appear to be phasing out (or may have been entirely removed), but they offered stable, waged, hourly pay, sick time off and severance pay.
Instacart does offer formal benefits to its employees, though, including health insurance, unlimited PTO and paid parental leave.
Corporate staffers get free Instacart Express memberships, as well as free food in-office for various occasions.
At Comparably, 86 percent of Instacart’s employees ranked the benefits package as good or fantastic.
Do Instacart Employees Get A Free Membership?
Instacart’s corporate employees do receive free Instacart Express memberships as part of their overall perks and benefits package.
However, this does not appear to be applicable to in-store shoppers or full-service shoppers.
Does Instacart Have Unlimited PTO?
Instacart has joined the small group of companies that is attempting to better the life/work balance of its employees with unlimited PTO.
That means their corporate staff can take off as much time as they need, without it affecting their salaries.
Are Instacart Workers Considered Independent Contractors?
Instacart workers are considered independent contractors.
While that can mean different things in different positions at different companies, at Instacart it means they can set their own hours and cash out their earnings as often as they’d like.
It also means that no taxes are withheld from their pay and must be paid up when they file in the spring.
Instacart sends their full-service shoppers (and the IRS) a 1099-NEC form, which shoppers use to file their taxes, provided they earned more than $600 in a calendar year.
If you earned less than $600 shopping for Instacart, you don’t have to worry about reporting your earnings to the IRS or paying taxes on them.
For the bulk of Instacart’s workforce, their hundreds of thousands of shoppers, the company is not legally bound to give them benefits, because of their independent contractor status.
But Instacart has partnered with health insurance broker Stride, to help these gig workers easily find affordable plans that fit their budget.
In contrast, corporate staff for Instacart fare much better, with health insurance, unlimited PTO, paid parental leave and many other perks.