Insurance is a complicated topic for rideshare drivers. It can also have a serious impact on any other person injured in an Uber accident as the driver's status at the time will change their liability limits. The short answer to whether Uber drivers have special insurance is, “sometimes.”
Uber Driver Status or Period Changes Insurance Coverage
For Uber drivers, there are 3 different periods or statuses, and insurance coverage changed during each period. In Colorado, the Transportation Network Company Act regulates transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. The 3 different periods of insurance coverage are as follows:
- Offline Status: The Uber driver has not turned on the app or is not actively looking for rides;
- Online Status: The Uber has activated the app is actively looking for rides but a ride has not been accepted;
- Prearranged Ride Status: The Uber driver accepts a trip, is en route to pick up the accepted ride, the rider enters the vehicle, on the trip, drops off the rider, and completes the ride.
When the driver has not turned on the app or is not looking for rides, the driver is covered by their personal, individual insurance coverage. Colorado laws require all drivers to have mandatory minimum coverage:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident;
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident; and
- $15,000 for property damage in any one accident.
If the driver is involved in an accident at this point, the driver will have to rely on their personal insurance policy for coverage. Anyone else injured may file a claim against the driver's personal insurance.
When the driver has marked themselves as available to offer rides on the app but has not engaged in a prearranged ride, the TNC or driver must maintain contingent liability insurance, with at least a minimum of:
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident;
- $100,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident; and
- $30,000 for property damage in any one accident.
Generally, the insurance company will rely on the driver to carry this minimum level of coverage. However, if the driver does not maintain at least this amount, Uber will maintain liability insurance on the driver's behalf.
Prearranged Ride Status
A “prearranged ride” means a period of time that begins when a driver has accepted a requested ride through the app, continues while the driver transports a rider, and ends when the rider departs from the vehicle. During the prearranged ride, Uber's maximum coverage policy applies, with a limit of $1 million in 3rd-party liability.
Uber drivers are generally protected by contingent collision and comprehensive coverage under Uber's insurance, subject to a $1,000 deductible ($2,500 for Lyft drivers).
Supplemental or Rideshare Specific Insurance for the Uber Driver
For many Uber drivers, they rely on the minimum requirements to save money and hope they never have a serious accident. However, other Uber drivers purchase insurance coverage specifically for rideshare drivers, either as an overall auto insurance policy or as a supplement.
This insurance is generally paid for out-of-pocket by the driver and is not covered by Uber. However, this can offer additional protections, act as an alternative to going through Uber's insurance policy, or for gap coverage.
One of the reasons for rideshare specific insurance is that a personal vehicle policy may not cover Uber driving. The insurance company may see driving for Uber as a commercial activity that goes beyond the scope of the personal driver's insurance. The insurance company may deny a claim that involves driving for Uber or even drop the driver from the policy.
Rideshare Insurance for Uber Drivers in Colorado
Insurance policies are generally state-specific. Over the past few years, more insurance companies have begun offering rideshare insurance for Uber drivers, as more rideshare drivers are signing up to drive. The costs of this insurance can vary greatly, and may depend on the driver's record, coverage limits, and even zip code.
Some of the insurance companies that may offer rideshare driver policies or endorsements include:
- Farmers Insurance
- State Farm
- MetLife Insurance
- American Family Insurance
Different policies offer different protections. Some offer gap coverage for when a driver is involved in an accident during the prearranged ride. Uber has a $1,000 deductible but gap coverage may pay the deductible based on the driver's coverage. For example, if a driver's policy has a $500 deductible, the insurance company would cover the $500 difference.
Other policies extend the levels of the driver's personal offline coverage to cover the online status period. The additional costs can run from $20 dollars a month to a 25% increase in the driver's insurance premiums.
Which insurance coverage applies if I am in an accident with an Uber driver in Denver?
The type of insurance coverage that applies will depend on who is involved in the accident and the Uber driver's status at the time.
Uber Passenger Injured in an Accident
When an Uber passenger is injured in an accident, they are generally protected by Uber's insurance policy (of up to $1 million). If an Uber rider was waiting to get picked up and was hit by the Uber driver or if the ride was terminated and the Uber rider was hit while crossing the street, Uber may try and deny coverage under their policy. If you are a passenger injured during an Uber ride, contact your Colorado rideshare accident injury attorney.
Uber Driver Injured in an Accident
When an Uber driver is involved in an accident, their status will determine the insurance coverage. As noted above, during offline status, the driver's personal insurance will apply. During online status, the driver's insurance and/or Uber may apply, depending on the policy. During a prearranged ride, Uber's policy will generally apply. If the Uber driver has rideshare-specific coverage, that may change these general coverage conditions.
Driver, Pedestrian, or Cyclist Hit by an Uber Driver
If you are hit by an Uber driver, the insurance coverage may depend on the Uber driver's status and on your own insurance policy. It is common for insurance companies to try to deny coverage or claim that the accident fell under some exception or exclusion of coverage. If you were injured in an accident with an Uber driver, contact your Colorado rideshare accident lawyer to make sure you get the compensation to recover from the accident.
Denver Uber Accident Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented their clients who were involved in accidents involving Uber drivers or other ride-share operators. Contact us today for a free consultation.