Ridesharing is a popular means of transportation across the length and breadth of the United States. It gives the driver a chance to earn some extra cash. At the same time, the passenger gets a guaranteed ride. And that too at the time of their choice and to the location of their choice. It is not only convenient for both the parties but also saves a lot of time and effort. No wonder, companies like Uber and Lyft are on top of their game. In order to affirm to the laws of the state and protect their drivers both these companies offer comprehensive insurance coverage to them. But what if you are a passenger who meets with an accident while riding in either Uber or Lyft? Today, we shall address this particular aspect of passenger insurance in Uber & Lyft.
Ridesharing And Insurance
When it comes to insurance, ridesharing is still a new concept. And as such there are no fixed policies. The laws and regulations are still evolving. Consequently, in order to safeguard their assets major Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) have taken the onus to provide liability coverage to their drivers. However, this coverage is in effect only while they are logged into the ridesharing app. As of today, TNCs are not completely regulated by the law. And hence, there are major loopholes. As a passenger, this may translate to you footing the bill of some expenses if you are involved in an accident while riding in a rideshare.
At the very outset let’s be clear about the concept of Uber and Lyft. TNCs like them just provide an app which connects the driver with the passenger. As a result, they have a limited legal liability when it concerns their driver’s decisions. This makes any legal action against them tough. But tough does not mean impossible.
Keeping this in mind, both Uber and Lyft have a one million dollar liability insurance cover for each driver. This would cover any bodily injury and damage to the property of the driver, passenger and any other person involved in the accident. Having said that, ridesharing companies have stringent guidelines about when the insurance coverage takes effect and in what situations it is applied. This also tends to differ from company to company.
When Can Passenger Make A Claim
As a passenger, you can only make a claim if you are physically present inside the vehicle at the time of the accident. Hence, if you meet with an accident while just waiting or walking down to meet your cab, it is not covered. Similarly, any accident that occurs after you have vacated the vehicle will also disbar you from making any claims for compensation.
Precisely speaking, the insurance is in effect only when you are inside the vehicle as a passenger and the driver is logged into the ridesharing app.
Process Of Filing A Claim
Claims are a tedious process. But if you know what is required you can make it less stressful.
- Request Supporting Documents – If you are injured don’t stress over collecting information concerning the accident. The law protects you through “Mitigation of circumstances”. This allows you the use of reasonable care and diligence in an effort to minimize or avoid injury. Once you have recovered sufficiently, proceed by collecting police and DMV reports. You can also request the surveillance footage.
- Check Your Insurance Policy – The idea behind purchasing insurance was to minimize your own bills. Hence, do a thorough study of your policy to determine what exactly is covered under your automobile and health insurance plans. This will give you a good idea of the monetary value of the claim you need to make.
- Only Written Communication – Communication should always be written and preferably in digital format. This will ensure accurate and transparent communication between you and your claim handler.
- Be Organized And Honest – Being organized will make your claim proceed faster. Be honest in all that your report and don’t fabricate data.
Process Of filing Claim When Riding Uber Or Lyft
While riding in either Uber or Lyft, if you meet with an accident and get injured or your property gets damaged, you are entitled to compensation. The process of filing a claim here is exactly the same as mentioned above. If the party at fault is the rideshare company, you can file a claim with their insurance company. The most important step is to get in touch with a lawyer immediately. Ask them to send a letter to the concerned rideshare company asking for the preservation of evidence. This means your lawyer needs to make a formal intimation to the rideshare company telling them to preserve all the data related to your fateful ride.
However, if the party at fault is a third-party you cannot ask the rideshare company for compensation. In such a case, your insurance claim will be made against the other driver’s insurance. Now, what happens if the other driver’s insurance is unable to cover the all the damages? In such a scenario, Uber and Lyft have a one million dollar underinsured motorist policy that might apply. But this is at the company’s discretion under extenuating circumstances.
If you frequently make use of TNCs, it is best to look for some additional insurance coverage. Some companies have now started providing rideshare insurance for the passengers. This product allows the passengers to purchase accidental medical, death and dismemberment insurance coverage for the duration of the ride. Nevertheless, it is still an evolving product and so far from comprehensive and yet not standardized.
If you are involved in a car accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft car, contact Hogan Injury for expert legal help. To read their take on this matter read their post “Uber and Lyft: Ride-Hailing App Liability”.
Is Ridesharing Worth The Worry?
Ridesharing has become a necessity rather than a luxury. Remember insurance companies are working towards addressing the changing needs of the masses. Therefore, you just need to discuss the ridesharing exposures with your insurance agent for the best possible coverage. There is no need to worry.
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