07 Sep 2016

Ridesharing Drivers Need Different Insurance

The current landscape for Uber and other ridesharing companies is in the midst of rapid change. The field became so popular, so quickly, that legislation hasn’t really had the chance to adapt as of yet. This is something which happens across all new and quickly evolving industries, of course.

However, new laws are being put in place in several different locations, with others surely to follow suit in the near future. It’s important to understand what’s taking place, and how it affects Uber drivers and their need for insurance.

As of now, Uber drivers are left with only contingent coverage when they are driving on the way to pick up a passenger but do not have the passenger in the vehicle. This puts them in a precarious position, and many don’t understand that their personal auto policies won’t cover this, and may in fact actually void their policy for it. At the same time, Uber’s contingent coverage may not kick in.

Therefore, ridesharing drivers need gap or hybrid insurance policies to fill in the blanks between when they’re operating their car for personal usage and when they’re operating in a commercial fashion.

California was the first state to pass legislation which mandates that drivers obtain their own commercial insurance policies, designed to fit that unique need. California also created a new industry classification for Uber and ridesharing drivers and companies, TNCs, or Transportation Network Companies. Colorado has its own TNC legislation as well.

In the state of Florida, legislation is being passed on a local level. Palm Beach Country just reached a temporary agreement to allow for the continued operation of Uber and other ridesharing companies, with a permanent agreement on the way which would also likely have an insurance mandate. Similar fights are happening across the rest of the country as well, from the Washington, D.C. metro area, to Portland, Oregon, and assuredly many stops in between.

The most important thing is to make sure you’re fully educated and informed about what’s happening. Misrepresenting to your personal auto insurance company what you do, or lying and saying you don’t rideshare, is not only illegal in most cases but could also leave you at serious risk in the event of a major accident.

Speak to an insurance expert in your local area who is aware of the current and upcoming legislation affecting your city, county and state. He or she should be able to get you moving in the right direction, and find you the right type of insurance for Uber drivers and other ridesharing providers.

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08 Aug 2016

Insurance With LYFT and Uber

Many people assume that they are insured by Lyft and Uber, or that their personal car insurance will cover them in the event of an accident while they are driving. In reality, the insurance provided by rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber is not what it seems, and the lack of information provided about this coverage leaves many drivers in the dark.

While you are driving with either of these companies, the coverage is dependent on a couple of variables. Basically, your status is broken up into three separate categories, which we will refer to as period 1, period 2 and period 3.

Period 1: You are driving around with the Uber or Lyft app open, but have not yet been matched with a passenger. During this period you have contingent liability coverage with Uber and Lyft. Contingent liability coverage means that if you are in a collision, you will first have to make a claim with your personal insurance provider, and only if that claim is denied will the insurance from Uber and Lyft kick in. When it does kick in, it is only liability insurance, you will not be given collision or comprehensive coverage. The limits of this of contingent coverage are 50/100/25, which will not be enough to cover you for a bad accident.

This is problematic because driving for a rideshare company is considered a commercial activity, and no personal insurance policy will cover you for this type of activity. Personal insurance policies will deny most claims placed during period 1, and lately they have been investigating many of these claims. Furthermore, they are likely to cancel your insurance policy after such a claim is made. This leaves drivers in a vulnerable position, as Lyft and Uber cover liabilities to the extent of their policy limits, but all vehicle repairs would come out of the pocket of the driver.

Period 2: When you have been matched with a rider and are on your way to pick them up. During this period you are covered by the $1 million liability policy that is offered by Lyft and Uber. There is also a contingent collision and comprehensive policy offered by Uber and Lyft during this period, but the process for filing under this coverage remains the same. You have to first file the claim with your own insurer, which could result in policy cancellation, and only then will Uber and Lyft step up. There is also a deductible under collision and comprehensive policies for both of these companies. For Uber you must pay a $1000 deductible, and for Lyft you must pay a $2500 deductible.

Period 3: When you have picked up the passenger, the entire period of time that the passenger is in the car until drop off. Coverage provided by Lyft and Uber is identicle to their coverage under period 2.

You should never drive for Lyft or Uber without your own personal coverage, as their policy is contingent upon you having this coverage. There are some insurance companies offering a rideshare insurance policy for drivers. Policies differ from state to state, but are not much more expensive than your average policy. Such a policy is strongly recommended for anyone looking to mitigate the risks of driving with Lyft and Uber.

 

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