This post is part of our Uber Driver Training Mini-Series, designed to help drivers get through the application process, and earn more once on the road. In this part, we’ll dive into what to do if you are in an accident while driving for Uber.
What to do in an Accident with Uber
Getting into an accident while driving for Uber isn’t like a car accident while driving in your day to day, or while driving with other ride-sharing services like Lyft. In a normal accident what happens is pretty clear-cut: the at-fault party is liable for any property damages, medical bills, and other liabilities.
However, things are different when you are driving for Uber. You not only have a passenger who is a stranger to consider, you have to keep in mind Uber’s terms and conditions and what state you’re driving in.
In this unit of our series, we’ll cover what to do when you are in an accident when driving for Uber. We’ll try to break down the process and answer questions such as:
- Which insurance company do you call first?
- How can you minimize your liability?
- What happens after your accident?
First, if you get into an accident when driving for Uber, stay calm. Then, go down and follow this list of instructions:
- If necessary, call 911. Check to see if you, your passenger, or the other driver has received any bodily injuries. The police and emergency services may be needed.
- Make sure to take photos of the damage to your car and other cars at the scene.
- Make sure to get the license plate and contact information for other drivers. (Take a photo of their plate if you can.)
- Collect information from witnesses.
- Call Uber’s emergency hotline: 800-353-8237. Save this number to your phone for future reference. If this number isn’t working you may have to send an email to Uber firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call your insurance company.
- NEVER admit you are at fault. Even if you think you are, don’t say so.
- Maintain your calm. Don’t blame the other driver. Don’t argue. The last thing you need is for things to escalate, the police arrive and you spend the night in jail.
- Record your thoughts on the accident so that you can remember the details better in the future.
If you haven’t read our post on rideshare insurance, you’ll want to read it now. Because here’s the kicker: your personal insurance may not cover you in an accident while driving for Uber! That article will explain in detail what is covered by Uber and what is covered by your personal insurance, and whether you need to get commercial insurance.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s get into some more detail on Uber accidents.
Who to Contact First
If you get into an Uber accident, the insurance company you contact first depends on which “Period” you were in when the accident occurred:
- If you were in “online mode” in the Uber Partner App, had a passenger in the car, or were en route to a pickup after accepting a request…
- If you were online in the Uber Partner app waiting for a ride request…
- If you were NOT in online mode in the Uber Partner app…
If you were in “online mode” in the Uber Partner App, had a passenger in the car, or were en route to a pickup after accepting a request
It is recommended you contact Uber first. However, be warned that if you do, there’s a high probability that Uber will deactivate you as a driver. This means you could go weeks without driving and lose out on the income you would have been earning.
Contact Uber’s hotline at 800-353-8237 (ONLY to be used in emergencies such as accidents.)
If you were online in the Uber Partner app waiting for a ride request
Your coverage from Uber depends upon your personal insurance coverage. Contact your personal insurance coverage first, then contact Uber.
If you were NOT in online mode in the Uber Partner app
Contact your personal insurance company as usual. Uber’s insurance does not applyif you didn’t have the Uber Partner app turned on and in driver mode.
This, however, differs if you are in a state like California or Washington. These states have ruled that the insurance policies of ride-sharing companies cover drivers even if there is no passenger in the car. Check with the DMV in your state to see what the law is.
Most of all, do NOT fake it.Do NOT lie and say you were in online mode. Remember that the app is tracking your GPS coordinates, the time of day, and other metadata they can get from the app. If you try to lie to get Uber to cover you, this is fraud and you could go to jail.
A few important things to note:
Are you able to afford Uber’s $1,000 deductible?
James River is the rideshare insurance company Uber uses. You and your passengers may be contacted by them to provide details regarding the accident. If you aren’t contacted by James River, it’s probably because the damage is too minor and wouldn’t reach the $1,000 deductible Uber has available.
Use your phone to record everything
Your phone is a great tool during an accident. You:
- Have a camera on your phone to take pictures of the accident.
- Have the ability to record video.
- Can also record audio.
- Can even take notes on your phone.
This will all be useful when your insurance carrier gets in touch with you to investigate the accident.
WARNING: Uber Deactivation
Uber will deactivate you as a driver to investigate whether you are at fault. They will want to investigate the damage to your car to determine it will prevent you from driving.
While Uber is investigating your claim, which can take a few weeks in some cases, you won’t be able to pick up passengers. If your car is damaged, you will be unable to drive for Uber in any case and will need to repair your car before earning fares. You may also be required to go through another Uber vehicle inspection. These can all hurt your wallet, so be prepared to budget for this.
When wondering what to do in an accident while driving for Uber, the most important thing is to stay calm.
If you have a passenger in the car, call Uber first. If you don’t have a passenger or are not online, call your insurance company first. If you were online in the app, Uber will provide secondary coverage. But if you were not online, it’s up to your personal insurance policy to handle the incident.
Make sure you have personal rideshare insurance or GAP insurance to cover the gaps in your insurance policy. There are a lot of accidents Uber won’t cover while driving. Not to mention Uber’s $1000 deductible and their deactivating procedure may make it difficult for you to pay.
We hope you never have to ask “What to do in an accident while driving for Uber?” The best thing you can do is be prepared. Take note of everything discussed in this article and prepare what you can ahead of time. Keep this guide handy and if the worst happens, remember: