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Most cities don’t require special car insurance policies for rideshare drivers. New York City is another story. Drivers within New York City are required to have a special type of liability coverage known as TLC insurance.
It may sound like a hassle, but if you want to make money as a rideshare driver in New York City, then you’ll need to go the extra mile and obtain TLC insurance.
You may be thinking, “What’s TLC insurance?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll explain the details of TLC insurance, what it covers, how much it costs, and how you can lock in an affordable rate.
- What’s TLC Insurance?
- Who Needs TLC Insurance?
- What Does TLC Insurance Cover?
- How Much Does TLC Insurance Cost?
- TLC Insurance Providers
- Signing Up for TLC Insurance With INSHUR
- Frequently Asked Questions
What’s TLC Insurance?
TLC insurance is a specific insurance policy required by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). You’ll need TLC insurance coverage if you want to pick up fare-paying passengers in NYC.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission regulates for-hire vehicle (FHV) transportation within its city limits. It states that all commercial drivers are legally required to have a minimum level of liability insurance coverage in order to transport passengers.
TLC insurance ensures passengers and other drivers are protected while you’re on the road. It also gives passengers peace of mind knowing that their drivers are certified and have the proper insurance coverage in case of any unforeseen incidents.
So, are rideshare drivers covered under TLC insurance? Let’s take a look.
Who Needs TLC Insurance?
Anybody who works within the commercial private transportation industry in New York City is required to have a TLC license, license plate, and insurance. Without these, you can’t legally operate your vehicle for commercial transportation purposes.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission licenses and regulates drivers of multiple for-hire vehicle services — including app-based companies like Uber, Lyft, and Via.
There are several more classes of for-hire vehicles — they include the following:
- Black car: Black cars include pre-arranged passenger transportation services that are mostly non-cash transactions. This service has stricter vehicle standards.
- Livery: Livery includes pre-arranged passenger transportation services with any type of payment. Any type of vehicle can be used.
- Green taxi: Green taxis are a subclass of Livery, but with a special permit. They have street hail rights in the outer boroughs of NYC and parts of upper Manhattan.
- Yellow taxi: Yellow taxis have exclusive street hail rights throughout all of NYC.
- Luxury limo: A luxury limos is a pre-arranged transportation service that operates on a flat-rate pricing model. This service has stricter vehicle standards.
- Commuter van: Commuter vans seat more than nine passengers, but no more than 20. They operate within a specific geographic area.
- Paratransit: Paratransit vehicles are a pre-arranged transportation service for non-emergency medical purposes.
Each one of these categories has its own vehicle and insurance requirements. Across the board, you’re required to have minimum liability insurance coverage as a registered TLC driver. Without it, you risk getting your TLC registration revoked which can be quite pricey.
What Does TLC Insurance Cover?
TLC ensures you’re financially protected if you damage or injure any third party while on the clock. However, basic TLC insurance doesn’t cover injuries to yourself or damages to your property — coverage only protects third parties.
Since personal vehicle insurance doesn’t cover damages if you’re operating a vehicle commercially, you’ll need the additional minimum TLC insurance coverage. The minimum coverage of TLC insurance includes the following:
- Property damage (PD): You’re protected from paying for damages of property and injuries to passengers and motorists.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): This covers the medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation expenses of passengers and other motorists resulting from an accident.
- Uninsured motorist coverage (UM): This covers you if you’re in an accident with a motorist who doesn’t have insurance coverage.
The amount of coverage will vary depending on vehicle type and seating capacity. Most vehicle classes have the following liability coverage:
- $100,000 per person
- $300,000 per accident
- $200,000 personal injury protection
- $10,000 in property damage
It’s important to remember that TLC insurance doesn’t cover damages of your own property or injuries. You’ll need to have additional personal coverage to financially protect yourself. You can also decide to enroll in a full-coverage plan which offers collision coverage in addition to the mandatory liability coverage.
Basic coverage is required, but you can opt for full coverage for an additional fee.
How Much Does TLC Insurance Cost?
The cost of TLC insurance premiums will vary from driver to driver. Insurance premiums are dependent on the number of years you’ve been driving, vehicle type, previous claims, and driving history.
Drivers who have been on the road for many years with a clean driving record will have lower premiums. Drivers under the age of 25 can expect insurance premiums that are around 20% more. Blemishes on your driving record like traffic violations and citations will also increase the cost of your insurance.
As an example of NYC pricing, see the chart for the typical premium on a 2015 Toyota Camry. This is driven by someone with zero accidents or points over multiple years of driving. The driver also has TLC driving experience. (Drivers under the age of 25 are typically subject to a 20% increase in the price of PD).
So, how can you lock in a cheap insurance premium? For starters, it’s imperative you maintain a clean driving record. You can also install a dashcam to minimize your monthly insurance costs. Dashcams will reduce your insurance premium by about 10%.
Let’s explore your options for insurance providers.
TLC Insurance Providers
Two popular avenues you can take to obtain TLC insurance are through traditional automobile insurance agencies like American Transit Insurance Company, Green Dart insurance brokerage, Pearland Brokerage, LJ hub, Lone Star Brokerage, TA Anchor Insurance, Next Century Insurance, A & Y Royal Insurance Brokerage, AAA Brokerage, and Interwest United Insurance Brokerage. Or… the INSHUR insurance app. We recommend the latter due to ease of use and speediness.
Your first option is going through an automobile insurance company in New York City. This will entail heading to a brick and mortar insurance agency or contacting them via phone or email.
The old-fashioned way will be much more time-consuming. You’ll need to provide extensive personal information and your driving history. After that, they’ll examine your record and come up with a TLC insurance quote. This can take several days or even weeks. Most people don’t have time for this process.
What info is needed to get a TLC insurance quote?
At minimum, you’ll need the following: Your name, address and age. TLC license/plate. Driving history (accident history, points, years on the road). Vehicle information, (age, make, model, mileage, value, VIN #). Vehicle title or bill of sale. TLC base card.
What if I’m a new driver?
If you’re new to the FHV industry and you intend to operate in New York, you’ll need to obtain your TLC license and vehicle plate prior to applying for insurance. TLC has minimum eligibility driver requirements- see the FAQ guide below for details. You can also find out more by reading the step by step guide to getting your TLC license on the Uber website at: https://www.uber.com/drive/new-york/get-a-license/
What else is needed?
As well as insurance, TLC has certain minimum vehicle requirements for NYC. These state that FHV operators must drive a four-door car or minivan, model 2006 or newer. It must be in good condition with no cosmetic damage, have no commercial branding and has passed an emissions test and can show valid certification. Drivers are also advised that vehicles should be kept clean inside and out and always be well maintained.
Instead, you can choose to use INSHUR — an app-based insurance solution. You can get a TLC auto insurance quote and lock in a policy from your phone in a matter of minutes.
The entire process is all handled through the app. There’s no need for phone calls or lengthy emails. INSHUR is undoubtedly the quickest and most convenient option for getting TLC insurance in a hurry.
Signing Up for TLC Insurance With INSHUR
INSHUR is likely the easiest and quickest way to obtain your TLC insurance. The app requires very little information and can have a policy ready for you in a few taps of your smartphone.
The sign-up process is simple — just follow the steps in this video:
1. Download the INSHUR App
2. Provide Your Information
Upon opening the app, you’ll be required to provide basic personal information, including your name, email, and phone number.
3. Take a Picture of Your TLC License
Provide a picture of the front and back of your TLC license. The INSHUR app will then match your information with the vehicle you have registered in the TLC and DMV database.
4. Choose Your Insurance Plan
Choose between three different insurance policies — Silver, Gold, or Platinum. The Silver plan offers minimum liability coverage and is the cheapest option. The Gold plan — which is slightly more expensive — gives you full coverage but with a higher deductible. The Platinum plan has the highest monthly fee but offers full coverage with a lower deductible.
5. Select Your Start Date
Select a start date with the payment plan suited to your needs. You’ll also need to provide your phone number. At this point, you can provide a referral code if you have one.
6. Review Your Plan and Sign Off
Review your policy to make sure everything lines up with what you’re looking for. If everything checks out, you can proceed to give your digital signature.
7. Confirm Your Payment Details
Provide your payment information and confirm the transaction. That’s all it takes. You’ll then have your TLC insurance policy and be ready to hit the road.
There’s no need to drive to an insurance agency or wait around for an insurance quote that could take several days. The INSHUR app handles the entire process in a matter of minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
To get started with a TLC insurance policy, keep in mind the following:
Can you rent a car with TLC insurance?
Yes, you can rent TLC certified cars if you are a TLC licensed driver without your own vehicle. You can rent on a weekly basis with a price that includes insurance.
How do I register a TLC vehicle?
- Gather required information- TLC base, vehicle information, SSN, payment method, personal info.
- Base affirmation.
- Submit application, payment, and required info above.
- DMV will email your ‘TC’ plate letter once the TLC approves your application.
- Take the plate letter to the DMV to get a plate and registration.
- Submit your plate notification to TLC.
- Get your vehicle inspected by TLC.
TLC driver license requirements
- Background check- SSN & driving history (points on your license).
- Documentation- Copy of license, proof of defensive driving course, medical exam, if you work for NYPD provide a document from commanding officer, if you’re in military or you’re a veteran, provide proof of active service or discharge.
- Fee of $252.
- Additional requirements- Drug test, fingerprints & photo, sex trafficking awareness training, passenger assistance & wheelchair accessible vehicle training, TLC driver education course, TLC driver license exam, pay any outstanding tickets.
What is a TLC base?
A TLC base can be a Black Car or Car Service Livery dispatch base. Bases have various requirements and are responsible for pre-arranging rides for TLC FHV vehicles. TNC apps such as Uber and Lyft typically fall under the TLC Black Car Base designation. A TLC/FHV vehicle must be affiliated with a base prior to conducting business.
What is a TLC or FHV vehicle?
A For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) is a commercial vehicle affiliated with either a TLC Black Car or Car Service Livery base. Passenger pickups must always be pre-arranged, unless the vehicle is a Street Hail Livery (SHL) also known as Green/Outer Borough taxi. SHL taxis must only hail passengers in designated areas. Medallion taxis / yellow taxis are another class of TLC licensed vehicle that are permitted to hail passengers from the street anywhere in the city. TNC apps such as Uber and Lyft typically fall under the TLC Black Car designation.
Is the INSHUR app free?
Yes. Download it to your cell-phone from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. There are no service charges for use.
Learn more at https://www.inshur.com/
No Driving Without TLC Insurance
You won’t be able to drive for companies like Uber and Lyft in New York City unless you have TLC insurance. Once you’ve secured a TLC insurance plan, you’re ready to hit the road and start picking up passengers in NYC.
Beyond TLC insurance, you’ll also need to consider Uber and Lyft driver requirements. Make sure you meet all of the basic requirements before exploring your TLC insurance options. You can also look over our guides to Uber car insurance and Lyft insurance for more information.
Best of luck securing the lowest premium possible!
Jonathan Cousar began driving for Uber in 2013 when the ride-hail company first began operations in New York City. He has booked more than 7,000 trips. In 2014 he created Uber Driver Diaries, which was the first blog by an Uber driver describing the highs and lows of driving as well as offering tips and tricks and information on the industry as a whole. In 2016 Ridester acquired the site, and Jonathan began writing full-time about the rideshare industry and the gig economy. He has also done extensive research into driver issues related to pay and working conditions.