The current landscape for Uber and other ridesharing companies is in the midst of rapid change. The field became so popular, so quickly, that legislation hasn’t really had the chance to adapt as of yet. This is something which happens across all new and quickly evolving industries, of course.
However, new laws are being put in place in several different locations, with others surely to follow suit in the near future. It’s important to understand what’s taking place, and how it affects Uber drivers and their need for insurance.
As of now, Uber drivers are left with only contingent coverage when they are driving on the way to pick up a passenger but do not have the passenger in the vehicle. This puts them in a precarious position, and many don’t understand that their personal auto policies won’t cover this, and may in fact actually void their policy for it. At the same time, Uber’s contingent coverage may not kick in.
Therefore, ridesharing drivers need gap or hybrid insurance policies to fill in the blanks between when they’re operating their car for personal usage and when they’re operating in a commercial fashion.
California was the first state to pass legislation which mandates that drivers obtain their own commercial insurance policies, designed to fit that unique need. California also created a new industry classification for Uber and ridesharing drivers and companies, TNCs, or Transportation Network Companies. Colorado has its own TNC legislation as well.
In the state of Florida, legislation is being passed on a local level. Palm Beach Country just reached a temporary agreement to allow for the continued operation of Uber and other ridesharing companies, with a permanent agreement on the way which would also likely have an insurance mandate. Similar fights are happening across the rest of the country as well, from the Washington, D.C. metro area, to Portland, Oregon, and assuredly many stops in between.
The most important thing is to make sure you’re fully educated and informed about what’s happening. Misrepresenting to your personal auto insurance company what you do, or lying and saying you don’t rideshare, is not only illegal in most cases but could also leave you at serious risk in the event of a major accident.
Speak to an insurance expert in your local area who is aware of the current and upcoming legislation affecting your city, county and state. He or she should be able to get you moving in the right direction, and find you the right type of insurance for Uber drivers and other ridesharing providers.