It is important to understand your insurance coverage and the policy language within. It is important to understand the difference between being a named insured on a policy vs an additional insured. Does the provider list you as a named insured on their policy? Meaning will they cover your medical bills or the medical bills of your passengers should they be hurt in an accident. Does their policy have a duty to defend you should you be named in a lawsuit, brought by a passenger of your vehicle? Will they payout on your behalf, should a Liability claim be awarded? These are important questions to ask and get in writing, because the standard personal auto policy likely will not cover you when you are driving for these services.
People need a special insurance coverage when driving for Uber or similar ride-sharing services because standard personal auto insurance policies typically do not provide coverage for commercial activities. When someone becomes an Uber driver, they are essentially using their personal vehicle for commercial purposes by providing transportation services to passengers.
Here are a few reasons why a special insurance coverage is necessary for Ride sharing drivers:
- Personal auto insurance exclusions: Personal auto insurance policies often have exclusions that specifically state they do not cover commercial activities. Since ride-sharing involves accepting payment for providing transportation services, it falls under the category of commercial use of a vehicle.
- Higher risk and liability: Ride-sharing introduces additional risks and liabilities compared to personal driving. Uber drivers may spend more time on the road, encounter unfamiliar areas, and be more exposed to accidents, injuries, or property damage. The increased risk associated with commercial driving necessitates appropriate insurance coverage.
- Gaps in coverage: There can be gaps in coverage when transitioning between personal and commercial use of a vehicle. While Uber provides some insurance coverage during specific periods, such as when a driver has accepted a ride request or is transporting a passenger, there may be limited or no coverage during other periods, such as when a driver is waiting for a ride request.
To address these gaps and provide adequate coverage, Uber and other ride-sharing companies typically require their drivers to have a specific type of insurance known as ride-sharing insurance or ride-share coverage. This type of insurance is specifically designed to cover the unique risks and situations that arise when driving for a ride-sharing service.
It’s crucial for individuals considering driving for Uber or similar services to review their existing insurance policy and consult with their insurance provider to understand any limitations or exclusions. Obtaining the appropriate insurance coverage ensures that both the driver and their passengers are adequately protected in the event of an accident or other unforeseen circumstances.
Michael Vereecke, CLCS
Owner, Customers First Insurance Group