Driving for Uber? Make sure you are properly covered.


Uber is in Boise. There are finally enough drivers to make the service work. Hurrah! We are a city! I snagged my first Uber car the other night, it was a pleasant experience despite the guy driving five miles an hour under the speed limit. Its a sweet way to make some extra cash (unless you have a 2 door, like me, and then I can’t.)  However, you should be extremely aware that your car insurance policy will not cover you if you are in an accident while driving for Uber.

I asked my driver if he had additional coverage for his Uber (I’m now officially sick of typing that word) activities. He did not. I asked him if Uber advised him to procure additional coverage. He did not, although I am pretty sure they do tell you to check with your insurance provider. Okay, I used to do insurance defense for an auto company, I care about these things.

Uber does have a blog post on it… http://blog.uber.com/uberXridesharinginsurance.

Your personal auto insurance policy has an exculpatory clause for any incidents occurring while you are operating the car for hire. An exculpatory clause is a section of a paragraph which excludes certain things from the contract. I would provide more examples, but insurance companies don’t provide copies of their policies online for their perusal. I actually had to order mine from Geico. And apparently it takes a million minutes for them to send it to me, Ill update the specific language once they finalllllly send it to me.

UPDATE: Got it.

1. Section I (Liability Coverages/Your Protection Against Claims From Others/Bodily Injury Liability/Property Damage Liability) does not apply to any vehicle used to carry passengers or goods for hire. However, a vehicle used in an ordinary car pool on a ride sharing or cost sharing basis is covered.

Then under Section II (Automobile Medical Payments Coverage Protection For You And Your Passengers For Medical
Expenses)

1. There is no coverage for bodily injury sustained by any occupant of an owned auto used to carry passengers or goods  or hire. However, a vehicle used in an ordinary car pool on a ride sharing or cost sharing basis is covered

And again,

When Physical Damage Coverage Does Not Apply: An auto used to carry passengers or goods for hire is not covered. However, a vehicle used in an ordinary carpool on a ride sharing or cost sharing basis is covered

The big whammy:

The term insured auto does not cover … an auto used to carry passengers or goods for hire, except in a car pool. FYI an insured auto is what your car is defined as in the insurance contract for coverage. Excluding a car as an insured auto is pretty  much the nail in the coffin for the car having coverage.

AND

Geico can cancel your policy if the insured auto is used to carry passengers or goods for hire or compensation.

Anyway, the thing to be aware of, is that when you first accept a trip, you are considered “operating a vehicle for hire” and your standard personal auto insurance policy will not provide coverage If something were to happen while you were doing this. If you get hit, you hit someone, you crash into something because of ice, you will not be covered under your normal auto insurance policy. This can be very expensive (especially if you are driving drunk strangers around for extra cash.). If your passenger is injured, you are then liable for their injuries. Same as if you hurt the other driver. There’s a whole host of “what-ifs” I can take you through, if you are that interested.

This means you should contact your friendly neighborhood insurance agent or company and make sure you are covered when driving Uber or Lyft or any related company. If you do get in an accident, and you haven’t ensured proper coverage, you should contact you insurance company and then a lawyer to protect your interests.

TL;DR If you are a driver for a ride share program, you insurance doesn’t cover you. Check to make sure it does.

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