Using a ride sharing service like Uber and Lyft is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional taxi services or driving yourself. Most drivers complete their rides successfully and get their passengers where they need to go. But when there’s an accident, whose coverage will pay for the damages, injury, or even loss of life?
Ride Share Drivers Are Responsible for Their Own Insurance
The main two ride-sharing services, Uber and Lyft, classify their drivers as independent contractors in the vast majority of cases. This means that drivers own their own vehicles and are responsible for their own insurance. However, this is a complex situation, and ride-sharing drivers, passengers, and third parties who may become involved in accidents with ride-sharing drivers all need to understand what may happen.
Understanding Insurance As a Ride-Sharing Driver
Most auto insurance policies written for individuals are designed for non-commercial use. If you are taking paying passengers in your car, and a claim results, your insurance carrier may reject your claim and/or cancel your policy. To avoid this situation, you should talk to your insurance agent. Either get a commercial ride-sharing endorsement on your policy before engaging in ride-sharing, or convert your coverage to a full commercial policy. The coverage that the ride-sharing companies provide is very limited, and designed more to protect themselves and their customers who are riding in your car. It typically does not cover you when you are not carrying a passenger, even when you are actively engaged in waiting for fares, driving to pick up passengers, or driving away from a passenger’s trip.
Understanding Insurance As a Ride-Sharing Passenger or Third Party
As a ride-sharing passenger or someone struck by a ride-sharing driver, you must primarily look to the driver at fault to make a claim if you’re involved in an accident. The major ride-sharing companies require their drivers to carry auto insurance. While a passenger is in the car, the major ride-sharing companies do provide coverage of their own. This coverage is secondary to the ride-sharing driver’s own coverage, and has important limits as to how well it will protect the ride-sharing driver’s interests. The ride-sharing companies have complex rules about when this coverage is in effect.
If you are hit by a ride-sharing driver as a pedestrian or motorist, you should consider contacting a car accident lawyer in Woodland Hills, CA to understand your options. If the ride-sharing driver’s coverage is inadequate, his or her claim is denied, and/or the ride-sharing company denies that they had responsibility, your situation may be more complex than is typical.
Thanks to Barry P. Goldberg for their insight into car accident claims and Uber or Lyft accidents.