Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, have exploded in popularity in recent years.
Old insurance policies and insurance laws created before ridesharing services came on the scene could not have anticipated the issues caused by ridesharing. As a result there has been a lot of confusion and questions like…
- Do Uber drivers need special insurance?
- Do Uber drivers have insurance for passengers?
- What insurance company will cover Uber drivers?
- Does Uber provide insurance for its drivers? For passengers?
On July 1, 2017 Governor Rick Scott signed into law House Bill 221, which addressed many of the insurance issues that affected Uber, Lyft and all other ridesharing services since their inception. The law requires ridesharing drivers to carry $50,000.00 per person in bodily injury liability, $100,000.00 per accident and $25,000.00 in property damage liability coverage.
Uber and Lyft carry $1 million single limit bodily injury liability coverage, and $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. These coverages are intended to be primary if the ridesharing driver is en route to pick a customer up, or in the process of driving them to their destination up to the time they exit the vehicle. This means if there is an accident at any of these times, the ridesharing company’s insurance company covers the damages rather than the driver’s insurance company.
The concern is with the time periods outside those parameters.
Lyft and Uber provide $50,000.00 per person in bodily injury liability coverage, $100,000.00 per accident, and $25,000.00 for property damage during the time the driver has the ridesharing application open and is available for a fare, only if the driver doesn’t have this level of coverage, or the driver’s insurance company denies the claim under their personal policy. The $1 million in ridesharing coverage does not apply to this period of time. If the driver is not on the ridesharing application, and thus unavailable for a fare, then their personal policy is the primary payor of damages.
In our practice, we see significant problems with this situation since the passage of the 2017 law.
First, a driver’s personal policy normally excludes from its coverage any “livery driving”, which is any delivery driving as a business for a fee, including delivery of flowers, pizza, or people. Therefore, a ridesharing driver’s personal policy will not cover her when delivering people. It also might not cover her during the time when the application is open and she is available for fares as it could be considered business driving.
Second, because a ridesharing driver drives more often, the insurance company is exposed to a greater risk under the policy. This makes it more likely the insurance company will cancel a driver’s policy after a claim is made, even if they were aware the driver was using their car for ridesharing.
Third, the driver needs to carry their own collision and comprehensive coverage because ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber only provide these coverages while the driver is transporting riders, and only if the drivers have these coverages on their own policy. Plus, ridesharing drivers should be aware the deductible on the ridesharing company’s policy is $1,000.00.
Ridesharing Car Insurance Solutions
Ridesharing drivers can and probably should purchase commercial liability coverage which would solve these problems, but it is expensive.
Some car insurance companies are starting to offer a specific ridesharing coverage, to supplement the personal vehicle coverage that the ridesharing driver has. Hopefully, moving forward as ridesharing continues to grow in popularity, more companies will begin offering this specialized coverage in Florida to solve these growing issues with ridesharing insurance coverage.
If you are a ridesharing driver, or plan to be one in the future, please consult with your insurance agent. Let him or her know of this new use of your vehicle so they can properly insure you for this business endeavor. Also, do not try to purchase this specialized coverage from an insurance company who sells on the Internet, or over the phone through a call center as this very complicated situation requires the advice and guidance of an experienced agent you trust.
If you’re in need of motor vehicle accident attorney in Trinity, New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Brooksville, or Inverness, contact the Law office of Charles S. Philips.