In the past few years, rideshare apps have been gaining massive popularity and becoming the preferred transportation choice when compared with taxis, buses or shuttles. With the click of a button, you can arrange to be picked up from the location identified by your phone’s GPS feature and select your destination. You are told who your driver is (and even provided with a photo of them), what type of vehicle he or she is driving, what the license plate number is and when the driver is expected to arrive. It is also not necessary to have cash or a card on you because payment has already been linked to one of your accounts through your mobile device.
As one can imagine, with the ever-increasing popularity of services like Uber and Lyft comes a greater chance of accidents to occur involving Uber and Lyft vehicles. What many people may not know is that one’s own personal auto insurance coverage typically does not apply when driving for Uber or Lyft. This is because most insurance policies exclude coverage when you are “driving for hire,” or being paid to drive as you are as an Uber or Lyft driver.
Uber and Lyft do provide insurance to their drivers but only when certain requirements are met. When a driver has accepted a rider and is en route to the rider’s location, he or she is covered under coverage provided by Uber or Lyft. Likewise, when the driver actually has the rider in the vehicle, he or she is covered through Uber or Lyft. When the driver has the app on and is simply driving around waiting to accept a new fare, however, Uber and Lyft may provide minimal coverage. If you drive for a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft, it is important that you have adequate liability coverage limits to cover the gaps that exist with the Uber and Lyft policies.
Furthermore, while the commercial policies through Uber and Lyft may provide up to $1 million in liability coverage when a rider is in the vehicle, they generally do not provide collision and comprehensive coverage. If collision and comprehensive coverage is available, there is usually a hefty deductible (sometimes up to $2,500) associated with the policy, so it is very important to make sure you carry adequate collision and comprehensive coverage or you may be on the hook for the total damages to your vehicle in the event of a crash. If your insurer denies your claim because you were “driving for hire,” you may, unfortunately, still be responsible for the damages to the vehicle.
The purpose of this blog post is really two-fold. First, if you are an Uber or Lyft driver, it is crucial that you be aware of what amounts of coverage you carry on your personal auto policy and when that policy is primary versus when the rideshare policy kicks in. It is important to have adequate coverage to make sure that you are covered for any of those gaps not covered by the commercial policy or where the commercial coverage is minimal. If you do not carry adequate personal auto coverage, you run the risk of your personal assets being at stake in the event that you cause a crash.
On the other hand, if you happen to be injured as a result of the negligence of an Uber or Lyft driver, whether that be in the context of a car, pedestrian or bicycle accident, it is important to know that there may need to be some fact finding completed to determine which insurance policy will cover the loss. You should call an attorney experienced in handling claims against Uber and Lyft drivers to help you navigate the process and find the applicable coverage. The Groth Law Firm has handled these types of cases and welcomes the opportunity to speak with anyone who has been injured due to the negligence of a rideshare driver, such as Uber or Lyft. Call or text today at 414-375-2030 for a free consultation!