Delivering groceries in a rental car?
It sounds crazy at first. Or, if you’re already reading this post, maybe it doesn’t!
Quick tip: you can get cash back every time you fill up your gas tank by using the Upside app. It's free and pays out straight to your bank.
But is this something Instacart even allows you to do?
Find out in this comprehensive guide to Instacart shopping and rental cards.
ATTENTION: We are not legal professionals, and this article does NOT contain legal advice.
Can I Instacart with a rental car?
Based on Instacart’s contract, it seems that you are able to use a rental car to deliver groceries.
In Instacart’s legal contract for gig workers, it says that you need a valid driver’s license, car insurance, and the legal right to operate the vehicle you’re using.
You’ll need to get rental insurance with the car, and the rental contract itself is your “legal right” to operate the car. So far, so good.
It also says this:
“You agree to provide, upon our request, proof of insurance coverage, valid licenses, valid vehicle registration, and your criminal or driving record, provided Instacart can request this information under applicable law.”
It’s interesting because Instacart does not ask you for this information when you signup, and there is no information about when they might require it from you.
The rental you’re driving will undoubtedly have registration papers, so technically, you can fulfill this requirement too.
It seems unlikely Instacart will request this information from you, and if they do, it looks like you will be able to meet all of their requirements.
While we certainly can’t guarantee Instacart will accept the rental car info, it looks like they should. Furthermore, it seems unlikely they’ll ever even ask.
Once more, we want to clarify that we are not lawyers, and this is not legal advice 🙂
Do I need a car to deliver for Instacart?
Yes, you’ll need a car, but only for its trunk.
Unlike Uber Eats and other services that you can deliver via scooter (or even by foot), Instacart customers place large grocery orders that can include a shopping cart’s worth of items.
You would not be able to fulfill these orders via bike or scooter because there’d be too many bags to carry. Additionally, cars are better suited to grocery deliveries because of the temperature controls.
That said, you can still work for Instacart without a car by signing up as a shopper.
Click here to become a shopper
As a shopper, you’ll stay in the store collecting orders and placing them aside for the drivers to pick up. The only requirements as a shopper are that you’re 18 years or older and have a smartphone, so this could be a great option if you don’t have a car you can drive.
Will Instacart give me a car?
Instacart currently does not have a program for renting cars to drivers.
However, there are services like Carla that cater to gig workers and offer rentals for as low as $9/day. Otherwise, you can stick with tried-and-true rental companies, such as Enterprise and Avis.
It’s also worth noting that Instacart has some driver perks, which can help you get a discounted rate on a new car if you’re interested in buying.
Is it a good idea to use a rental car?
Obviously, it’d be great to have your own car, but renting a car for Instacart deliveries isn’t that crazy.
Renting a car can work, but only if you’re able to find an excellent deal. It’s never going to work if you’re paying $50/day, for instance.
But if you factor in how much a car normally costs, a rental isn’t necessarily that much more expensive. In fact, the average payment for a rental car in the US is $515/month. If you balance that against 20 workdays in a month, that comes out to $25.75/day.
Not to mention, if you decide to sell your car, you’re only going to get back a fraction of what you paid for it. You don’t get to sell a rental car when you’re done, but you also get to walk away whenever you want without any extra costs.
All things considered, if you only plan on doing delivery driving for a short period of time, like over a summer between school or another job, then it might be much smarter to use a long-term rental rather than buying a car for the job.
Instacarting with a rental car
Now you know it’s possible to Instacart with a rental car, and for some people, it may even be a more profitable decision.
The main drawback is the hassle of the rental process and knowing that the car isn’t really yours, which could turn out to be a good thing if you decide to stop driving.
Save on gas & groceries: the Upside app gives you cash back when you fill up your tank, buy groceries, or eat out.
Thanks for checking out this guide on delivering for Instacart with a rental car, and best of luck with your deliveries.
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