The Zebra, an internet-based insurance agency, recently posted a fantastic article on insurance coverage and how it relates to Uber and Lyft (the article can be found here).
Everyone loves Uber, UberX, and Lyft – and why shouldn’t they? They are easy to use, affordable, and convenient. They allow their drivers to reap the monetary benefits of taxi drivers – without any of the typical costs associated with a taxi driver. It’s a classic win-win, right!?
When you talk to Uber drivers – they often speak of how they don’t have to carry a commercial insurance policy because Uber has a ‘master’ policy. Yes, Uber does carry $1 million of liability insurance (including $1 million of uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage, as well as contingent comprehensive and collision coverage). However, this ONLY applies while you are transporting an Uber/Lyft customer (as your personal auto policy has an exclusion for providing coverage while transporting people for hire). What insurance applies while you are on your way to pick up a customer? The personal auto policy would be primary and the commercial policy would provide excess coverage, as The Zebra has illustrated in this fantastic graphic.
Lastly, most personal auto insurance carriers would cancel your personal auto policy if they knew you were hauling people around for hire on your free time. It’s an exposure that their current pricing models do not account for. As always, the insurance industry is slow to accommodate new technology and business models; however, the state of IL has recently passed a rideshare legislation with an insurance component (which we’ll dive into in a future post).
There have been no major lawsuits against any of the large rideshare companies, yet. When (not if) one happens – it’ll be interesting to see how the insurance components will handle the situation and if $1 million of coverage will be enough to cover the exposure. As Keith McCullough of Hedgeye Risk Management says, “At first risk happens slowly, then it happens all at once”.