Living in Vancouver is expensive and a lot of folks have a side hustle to try to make ends meet. Working for a food delivery service like Skip the Dishes can be a good way to make an extra buck but before you jump on board beware – it may not be worth it.

“I basically just wanted to make some extra cash on the side,” said Tanya Maiato who signed up as a driver with Skip the Dishes.

She lives in Burlington, Ont. but the experience she had working for Skip the Dishes has resonated with young workers across the country. 

She recently had a crash that cost an estimated $8,400 in damage, but she discovered she wasn’t covered after revealing she’d used her personal vehicle for delivery work.

“They had asked me, did I inform my insurance company of this?, and I said, ‘no.’ I had no idea I had to,” she said.

On the contrary, Skip the Dishes told CTV News, it’s part of the deal when you sign up. Drivers are considered independent contractors and must abide by all legal requirements and that may include additional insurance.

“They’re just using their car to do some extra work. They don’t realize they have to come in to change it to the class of delivery use,” said Michelle Smethurst of InsureBC, Yaletown.

If you are driving your personal vehicle and don’t get added coverage for delivery use, you could be on the hook for not only the costs of damage, but also be financially liable for any injury claims.

And the delivery rate class is one of the most expensive insurance coverages.

Smethurst did a quote for her Ford Focus. She’s has a long driving history with a clean record and currently pays about $1,800 a year but if she were to add coverage for delivery, her rate would more than double to $3,800. A younger driver with little experience and no discounts could face a much higher rate.

“It was a lot so you really want to make sure that you’re doing those extra shifts and you get that extra shift to cover that insurance rate,” said Smethurst.

For some the rate may be so high that the part-time job may not be worth it.

Maiato says taking a job to earn extra cash will now cost her as much as $10,000.

“I’m incredibly upset. It’s been a very stressful time. Had I known I would never have signed up for this in the first place,” she said.

It’s not just drivers who need to be concerned about insurance. Bicycle couriers could be at risk too. If a car strikes a bike courier and the driver is not adequately insured, that courier could face huge financial losses from possible injuries.

But unlike vehicle owners, insurance to protect bicycle couriers is much cheaper. You don't have to own a car to get it.  You can buy $2 million in underinsured motorist coverage for about $25.

“As long as you have a B.C. driver's licence. It will protect you," said Smethurst.

In B.C. you do get an exception for using your personal vehicle for occasional business use, including delivery but it’s only six days in a calendar month. Go one day over and you could be at risk.

It’s a bit of a grey area and it’s recommended you check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re not at risk. It’s better safe, than sorry.