As Ride-Hailing Services Become More Popular, Passengers Have Insurance Concerns

Uber Car Crash Attorneys Serving Victims throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts

By now, many are familiar with “ride-hailing” services – Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and others. Growing in popularity, particularly in urban areas such as Boston and Providence, the ride-hailing services are somewhat synonymous with taxis, at least as far as passengers are concerned. Ride-hailing drivers use their personal vehicles to transport passengers from one place to a set destination. They respond to requests via mobile technology, turning on the ride-hailing “app” when they are available to accept passengers.

What Happens if the Uber Vehicle Is Involved in a Crash?

In most instances, things go off without a hitch. But what happens if the ride-hailing vehicle is involved in a crash? Many passengers have begun to express insurance concerns. Is a crash covered by the driver’s private insurance? After all, he or she is operating a business. Does Uber or Lyft come forward to provide some protections for those injured? At our firm we have handled these cases, and the answers to these questions fall within that broad legal response, “It depends.”

Quick Run-Down on Insurance Issues Related to Ride-Hailing Accidents

Generally speaking, the insurance industry divides ride-hailing activity into four periods:

  • Period 1: The driver is using the private vehicle for personal purposes and his or her “app” is off.
  • Period 2: The private vehicle is being used and the app has been turned on.
  • Period 3: The private vehicle is being used, the app is on, and a passenger has been accepted, but has not yet been picked up.
  • Period 4: The private vehicle is being used and the passenger is being transported or has arrived at the destination and is exiting the vehicle.

What Insurance, if Any, Is in Force?

During period 1, the driver’s ordinary personal auto insurance coverage covers the vehicle for any accident in which it is involved. During Period 2, 3, and 4, unless the driver has secured a special rider to his or her policy, there is virtually no coverage whatsoever from the private policy insurer. During Period 2, the ride-hailing company (e.g., Uber or Lyft) provides some limited insurance coverage. That coverage is broader during Periods 3 and 4.

Generally speaking, the insurance provided by Uber and Lyft (provided the driver is in Period 3 or 4) is good: The ride-hailing company’s commercial insurance policy covers up to $1 million in liability coverage per incident. That coverage protects rideshare passengers and others involved in the crash. The policy also generally provides uninsured and/or underinsured coverage of up to the same $1 million in bodily injury liability per incident. Some insurance companies are now beginning to offer special hybrid policies for ride-hailing drivers. Depending upon the state and the circumstances, some of this coverage can be “stacked” on top of the coverage provided by Uber or Lyft.  Rhode Island specifically allows stacking of insurance policies in appropriate cases.

Involved in an Auto Crash?

Have you or a loved one been injured in an auto crash involving an Uber or Lyft driver? If so, you deserve skillful, energetic, and experienced attorneys to help you prepare your case. The injury lawyers at the Bottaro Law Firm, LLChave the resources to investigate the accident and fight to protect your legal rights. We will pursue your case at no cost until we win. Remember that delay can harm your case. Our experienced legal team is available 24/7 for a free consultation. Give us a call at 866-529-9700, or complete our convenient online contact form.