Home delivery has revolutionised the way we do our grocery shopping. In an increasingly convenience-driven society, in which we find our responsibilities mounting and our spare time diminishing, home delivery has provided us with a new level of shopping convenience.
Because of this service, we no longer have to find time to make a trip to the supermarket on a weekly basis, to spend half an hour scouring the aisles and waiting in queues at the checkout. We can send the supermarket our shopping list online and get them to pick it off the shelves and bag it up for us. Then, at our convenience, we can arrange for the supermarket to deliver it to our door at a time that suits us, or we can arrange to collect our pre-bought shopping in-store.
However, Waitrose has now announced that it is trialling another potentially industry changing innovation: “in-home delivery”. This is an idea to take online grocery shopping to an even greater level of convenience, supermarkets aren’t just looking at delivering your food to your door, they’re looking at actually putting it in your fridge for you. In fact, with this new service, you won’t even have to be home while they do it.
The new system proposed by Waitrose allows delivery drivers to enter your home to unpack your shopping for you while you aren’t home. The driver accesses your home using smart lock technology, meaning you will only be able to use this service if you have smart lock technology installed in your home.
You send a temporary code to Waitrose using a secure app, which is passed on to the driver so that they can access your home. They then place items that need to be refrigerated and frozen into the fridge and the freezer, leaving other items in your kitchen. The whole delivery is recorded by a camera on the driver’s chest and can be viewed by request and the access code is deleted after the delivery is complete. Waitrose is to trial the service with 100 customers in South London, with plans to expand the service to over 1000 customers if it is successful.
However, as well as the obvious risk that the driver could access your house and run away with all of your prized possessions, there service could be problematic for your home insurance. Experts have warned that there is a chance that it could invalidate your home insurance policy.
Waitrose has many security measures in place, such as the chest camera that all drivers are required to wear, and have reassured customers that any losses they suffer as a direct result of their service would be covered by their liability insurance. However, home insurance policies only cover you if your home meets their minimum security standards, such as having a minimum standard of locks on your doors, windows and outhouses, and making sure that these are locked on a night and when you leave the house.
Unsurprisingly, giving someone you don’t know access to your home while it’s empty may violate these security standards, invalidating your policy. While Waitrose have said that they will cover you for anything that happens as a direct result of their service, without valid home insurance, you will be without cover if anything unrelated happens to your home, such as a separate break-in incident, or damage to your home from storms or flooding.
The Association of British Insurers has advised that customers talk to their insurers before using an “in-home delivery” or “while you’re away” service, to check that it won’t invalidate their policy. Because the service also requires a smart lock, they also advise that you check that any new lock you install will still be compliant with the minimum security standards outlined on your home insurance policy.