The explosion of the ridesharing industry over the past few years has exposed an obvious gap in the insurance industry. Personal auto policies do not provide coverage for using your personal vehicle to give rides for hire. Commercial auto does not have a ridesharing policy only livery, but that covers cabs and limo services. So what is a person to do that drives from a ridesharing service?
While it’s true that Uber and Lyft do offer a policy while you are driving, it comes with limits and a higher deductible than you may be able to afford ($1,000 and $2,500). And oftentimes the TNC insurance company demands that you file the claim with your personal carrier first before you can submit under the rideshare program. This now dumps two more problems in your lap. When you file the claim with your personal insurance company they may decide that they no longer want to insure you due to your rideshare activities and will non-renew your policy. Then there is the increase in time to get your claim settled, paid and get your car repaired.
I took the time to read the policies that Uber and Lyft offer. Repeatedly, they assure they offer their limited coverage in the event your personal insurance won’t cover the claim. Newsflash, your personal insurance WILL NOT cover the claim. As a matter of fact, in recent years with the increase of ride for hire drivers hitting the roads, standard insurance companies have tightened the restrictions on their personal policies, specifically with regard to ride share driving.
The coverage provided by the TNC policies are restricted to while you are active on the app and will only provide comprehensive and collision insurance IF you have this coverage on your personal auto policy. So this means if you have a crash while you have a passenger in the vehicle and it’s your fault AND you do not have collision insurance on your personal policy, the TNC policy WILL NOT pay for the collision damages to your vehicle. If you do have collision on your personal policy, the TNC policy will cover the cost to repair the damage or the current value of the vehicle (whichever is less) after a $1,000 deductible for Uber and a $2,500 deductible for Lyft.
Depending on what you are doing with the rideshare service, determines the level of coverage provided. There three “zones”:
- The app is on but no request received yet: you are covered for liability only to the third party for an accident that you are at fault. There is NO coverage for any damages to you or your vehicle.
- You are en route to pick up a rider: you are covered for liability for an at-fault accident; contingent comp/collision based on your personal policy, and underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage for any third party driver that may not have enough coverage or no insurance and they are at fault.
- While you have a paying passenger in your vehicle: the same as the en-route to pick up the fare plus liability coverage if there is an accident and the fare is injured, up to the TNC policy limits.
Again, your personal auto insurance will not pay for any damages to you, your vehicle, a passenger or other third party or vehicle if you have an accident while you are active on a ride sharing app. If you are considering driving for one of these agencies, make sure you fully understand the coverages offered by the TNC policy and determine the affordability of the deductibles as it relates to your own budget.
Ridesharing is not going anywhere and the personal insurance industry is taking notice. Most companies are thoroughly clamping down on their personal policy language to plainly and clearly show that they fully exclude coverage for ridesharing activities. However, there are a few companies that have created “hybrid” personal auto policies specifically for ridesharing drivers. In order to make sure you have the proper coverage for your ridesharing activities, you should touch base with our office so we can get you a hybrid policy. One clear benefit of a hybrid policy would be to eliminate any gaps in coverage AND reduce deductibles.