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.