If you are of legal driving age, hold a valid driver’s license, and have car insurance, ride-sharing is the best and easiest way to earn a few extra bucks. Ride-sharing is the concept wherein the passenger travels in a private vehicle, driven by its owner, for a fee. It is this very arrangement that has led to the popularity of both Uber and Lyft. These two companies have not only gained popularity in the United States but the world over. Their drivers range from retired people to housewives, from young college going individuals to just somebody with a little extra time on hands. They are indeed regular people, like you and me, who just want to earn some more cash.
Personal Auto Insurance Of Uber & Lyft Drivers
When it comes to ride-sharing, insurance becomes a little tricky. The moment you open the app and declare yourself open to accepting riders, your personal auto insurance policy coverage ceases. Now, the dilemma is that from the moment you open the app to the moment you close it, you have no liability coverage. What this means is that –
If the accident is your fault –
- You cannot claim insurance for injuries to people riding with you.
- Neither can a claim be made if you injure anyone else like bystanders etc.
If the accident is not your fault –
- You still cannot claim defense coverage.
- Nor will you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to see to your own injuries and damage to the vehicle.
So, the truth is that this little extra cash may cause you a bigger headache in the future. Unfortunately, this happens because of an exclusion. Your personal car insurance policy excludes coverage for transporting people for a fee. In fact, this exclusion is not new but quite old.
Insurance Provided By Uber & Lyft To Drivers
Studies have shown that the majority of the ride-sharing drivers rely on driving as their primary source of income. Because of this, they land up working for long hours. Such long working hours can be quite stressful and the safety of the driver can also be at risk. In order to mitigate this risk, both Uber, and Lyft, provide certificates of insurance to their drivers. Additionally, they also provide a three-part insurance plan. The highlights of this plan are –
Available For Ride Not Yet Accepted Passenger
This is probably the biggest area of gap coverage given to the driver. At this time the driver has liability coverage of $100,000 and $25,000 for damage to property. However, any damage to the driver’s car is not covered.
Acceptance And Transportation Of Passenger
From the moment the driver accepts a passenger until the passenger leaves the vehicle an insurance of $1,000,000 each applies for liability and injuries caused. There is a $1,000 deductible for any damage to the driver’s car.
Sure enough, Uber and Lyft have sweetened the deal and made it possible for people to drive for them without worrying about insurance.
Other Endorsement Options
Most endorsements available in the insurance market pertaining to ride-sharing exclude the phase one. Phase one is the period in which the driver is logged on but has not yet accepted a passenger. So if you are really interested in an endorsement, make sure someone correctly interprets it for you as there is no standardization.
Steps To Take In Case Of An Accident
No one wants them to happen and still, sometimes they do, that is why they are accidents. In case of an accident, you need to keep a few things in mind.
Ensure Safety Of Everyone
– First and foremost check yourself for any injury. If you are hurt you can’t be of much good to anyone else. Next, check your passengers for any injuries including whiplash. Make a note of all the symptoms displayed by them. This little information might become necessary in warding off unnecessary claims.
– On your own, you cannot collect all the information required and if need be to clear the road. Hence, call 911 without any hesitation. They are there for your assistance. Additionally, they will officially record all the data in connection to the said accident and provide help.
Collect Information For Insurance Proceedings
– Every ride-sharing company expects its drivers to collect the basic necessary insurance related information. So, if another vehicle is involved in the accident make sure to take a picture of its number plate and the driver’s driving license. An overall picture to show the damage to your own car and the other involved vehicle is also useful.
– When the accident is still fresh in your mind it is best to record the experience. You can make use of your smartphone for this or a camera or a camcorder, if handy. This is because it is easy to recall details when the incident has just happened. However, over a period of time, the memory becomes dull and you might miss the small relevant details.
Report Accident To Your Rideshare Company
– Finally, you need to inform your respective ride-sharing company about the accident. Give a detailed narration of the incident. Chances are that the company would temporarily suspend your services. However, this is only to ensure that you and your car are safe to drive. Consequently, there is no need to fear and hide facts. Once you are fully recovered and your car repaired you can again go back to driving for them.
In The End
Accidents do happen but that does not mean you stop driving. Just make sure that as a driver you are careful and have all you necessary papers and documents related to driving up-to-date. If you fail in this respect you may have to face legal charges.
Hogan Injury, one of the largest legal firms in California offers expert legal advice if you are involved in an accident while riding an Uber or Lyft. In fact, my primary source is one of their posts titled Uber and Lyft Accidents: Are drivers insured? Do check it out.
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