Have you ever wondered if Uber partners have car insurance provided by the company?
Car owners know that even their personal car insurance has many exclusions, and likely don’t cover the times when they are driving for a rideshare company. That means that getting into an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft classifies them as a “commercial vehicle”, and the insurance company doesn’t have to pay for the damage caused by the accident.
So what does this mean for drivers, and what should they do in case of accidents while driving for Uber?
Car Insurance – What to Do in Case of an Accident
If you happen to get into an accident when driving for a rideshare company, stay calm. Unfortunately, with as many trips as Uber drivers take, an accident is a high probability, and there’s a few things you need to know if it happens.
1. Be Familiar with the Uber Period
Uber provides rideshare insurance for its driver partners, but that doesn’t mean it takes effect immediately after the driver turns the app on. Once the app is switched on, the driver’s time is divided into three periods. Uber then determines when their insurance is applied based on the period the accident took place.
1st Period – Uber App is on While Driver Waits for Request
Unfortunately, Uber doesn’t take responsibility for any accidents that occur before a driver accepts a passenger. This is because Uber considers drivers as ‘contractors’ rather than ’employees.’ Therefore, they take no responsibility for whatever happens while the driver isn’t on duty. Uber only considers drivers ‘on the clock’ once a rider has requested a ride.
2nd Period – Driver is on His Way to Pick Up Passenger
Once a rider requests a ride, and the partner driver accepts, this puts the driver in ‘on duty’ status and Uber’s coverage will start. This can, however, be tricky.
If the driver gets in an accident before he/she is able to pick up the passenger, the passenger would, therefore, have to cancel the ride. This puts the driver in a difficult place to claim coverage.
In this scenario, Uber doesn’t technically know whether the accident happened before or after the cancellation. This means you could have had an accident in the second period, and Uber may think it happened in the first period.
3rd Period – The Passenger is in the Vehicle
This is the easiest period to claim insurance coverage from Uber. Since the passenger is in the car, Uber considers the driver “on duty” and will cover whatever happens during this period.
2. Check if Everyone is Okay
Accidents can rattle anyone, but a driver must first ensure that everyone is okay when an accident takes place. If a passenger is injured or unconscious, the driver should call the paramedics immediately. Drivers should also try their best to stay on the side of the road following an accident. This will help prevent even more accidents for other motorists.
It is also important to see a doctor even if nothing seems to be wrong. Some injuries don’t manifest themselves immediately, and it’s better to treat any injuries before they worsen.
3. Document the Accident and Gather as Much Evidence as Possible
— Zachar Law Firm (@ZacharLaw) September 13, 2017
Remember that the 2nd Uber period can be a difficult time to claim coverage from Uber. That means it’s crucial that the driver documents the accident and takes a screenshot on his phone to prove that the accident happened prior to the cancellation. In fact, regardless of the Uber period the accident happened in, Uber encourages drivers to thoroughly document.
It also helps if the driver talks to witnesses and records their statements. While doing this, the driver should note their contact information. Another helpful step is to ask for police assistance. The driver can now ask for the police report of the accident.
4. Contact Personal Insurance
In an accident, when there is damage to the driver’s vehicle only, the driver should call his own personal company insurance. On the other hand, the involvement of other vehicles in the accident will also warrant a call to their own insurance companies. Both insurance companies should be given the details of the accident, so they can also start their own investigation to see who was at fault.
Normally, the driver would pay a deductible, but this can be reimbursed once they are proven to not be at fault. In this kind of situation, the driver does not need to involve Uber.
5. Hire a Lawyer
Ridesharing partners, since they’re considered ‘driving for hire,’ may find their insurance claims tricky. Car insurance companies can use the driver’s professional status as a reason to deny their claims. That’s why it’s important to get in touch with a lawyer when filing for claims, especially if the accident involves injuries.
Drivers can get free consultations and their lawyer can talk to both Uber and their personal car insurance company on their behalf. Due to possible complications, drivers should seek help from an experienced lawyer.
While all drivers are at some risk on the road, the risk of accidents is bigger for Uber drivers. They are on the road longer than the average driver, and they are more likely to get tired and sleepy behind the wheel.
Accidents also have more impact on Uber drivers as these incidents can cause loss of income. That’s why each Uber driver should get an affordable car insurance and be aware of their insurance policy options.
If you’re looking for more information on what to do during an accident while driving for Uber, check out this in-depth video from The Rideshare Guy:
Do you have any tips on how to handle accidents while driving for Uber? Let us know in the comments!