Hedge Your Risk With Uber’s Driver Injury Protection Insurance

Getting into an accident while driving for Uber is a big worry for many drivers. The best solution to this problem is to select the best insurance policy for you.

Last year, Uber introduced a new insurance program for drivers called “Uber Driver Injury Protection Insurance”.  It is a disability insurance program to cover drivers in the event of loss due to injury during the course of working for Uber.  The policy is touted to cover loss of income for any covered driver who is injured on the job.  It also covers all medical expenses associated with an on-the-job injury.

You can easily sign up for the Driver Injury Protection Insurance through the driver app.  Uber will charge you $0.0375 per mile in premiums.  They only charge the premium fee for the miles you drive with a passenger in the car.  But the protection covers you at all times you are signed into the Uber driver app and available to accept calls.

Drivers are divided on whether or not this insurance is worth having so we thought we’d take an in-depth look and give you our opinion.

Buy Uber Insurance Like You Would Buy Any Other Insurance – with Careful Consideration

Insurance is an intangible product.  You can’t see it or hold it in your hands.  The only way you know anything about it is by reading or listening to what  company selling it tells you about it.  However, these companies have been in business for a very long time and they know just how to pitch their insurance products to you in the most attractive ways possible.

They’re experts at designing insurance products so that they can present them in a way they know you’ll love.  And while they technically tell the truth, they don’t exactly tell the whole truth.  Not upfront anyway.

The way insurance is sold would be like real estate agents selling homes by showing the outside front of the house without ever showing you inside or showing you the back of the house!

Remember that when you buy insurance, if you’re only listening to the sales pitch, you’re just seeing the front of the house.  But before you buy, you need to go inside the house and take a look around the back.

And Uber’s insurance is no different. They’re not doing anything that’s a departure from industry standards, but it just so happens that in this industry the standard is to make it very difficult for buyers to actually find out the details about the policies they’re considering buying.

A Look at the Front of the House

Uber puts a great face on their insurance program, highlighting these key features on their home page:

  • Disability Payments – earnings replacement up to a maximum of $500/week;
  • Survivor Benefits – up to a maximum of $150,000 for your family;
  • Medical Expenses – will pay up to $1 million in medical expenses related to your at-work accident with no deductibles or co-pays

Whenever you see the phrase “up to” in an insurance policy offering – be very careful.  Because it doesn’t mean they’re going to pay that much.  It means that’s the maximum they will pay if you meet certain very specific conditions.

So we see the front of Uber’s insurance house looks pretty nice indeed.  Let’s take a walk inside and see what’s on the other side of the door!

A Look at the Inside of the House

The only way to really know what is covered under an insurance program is to look at the fine print.  You’ll want to look especially at a section called “Exclusions”.  That will tell you all the things they “exclude” from coverage.  They will often specifically exclude things that you thought were covered.  So, it’s very important to look at this.  The screenshot below from Uber’s insurance page shows what you want to click on.

Below is a screenshot of the Table of Contents from Uber’s “Explanation of Coverage” document.  It’s pretty standard and has three key sections you’ll want to take a closer look at.

It’s not a bad idea to at least glance at every section.  But the three sections you want to pay special attention to are:

  • Benefits
  • Limitations
  • General Exclusions

Benefits

Under the Benefits section, they list specific benefits that are covered and then they go through a list of benefit exclusions.

Covered benefits include such things as:

  • Hospital stays – in a semi-private (or shared) room;
  • Services of a physician;
  • Ambulance, including air ambulance to and from a hospital
  • Lab tests;
  • Radiology;
  • Anesthetics

Generally, everything related to a hospital stay is covered.  However, they also list a bunch of exclusions, like:

  • Repair or replacement of existing artificial limbs, artificial eyes or other prosthetic devices.
  • The will not cover the repair or modification of any existing “durable medical equipment” you might have used prior to the accident, even if the repair or modification is made necessary because of your injury;
  • Dentures, bridges, or other dental implants;
  • Services or treatment that is covered by Medicare, unless required by law

All in all the benefits exclusions are pretty typical of these types of policies.  And they’re very reasonable.

The insurance will cover medical expenses and loss of income from an on-the-job accident up to a maximum of $1 million.  But, as with all insurance programs, there are a lot of details that will determine whether or not you’ll get anything and how much exactly you’ll get.

For instance, if you’re in an accident while on the clock and you happen to have a heart attack or stroke prior to or at the same time, you won’t be covered for that accident.  That’s because they will consider that your accident was technically caused by your heart condition which is not covered under this plan.

Limitations

The Limitations section of the policy is fairly reasonable.  It states that the policy does not cover losses covered in whole or in part by some of the following:

  • Suicide;
  • Illness or disease;
  • Performing as a crew member on a vessel while covered under the Railroad Retirement Act. That shouldn’t affect too many Uber drivers!
  • War or any act of war;
  • Involvement in any type of military service;
  • Any loss insured by an employers’ liability insurance

So, those types of things limit the coverage but as you can see, most drivers would not be affected by them one way or the other.

Exclusions

The Exclusions in this case are almost identical to the Limitations.  They are fairly standard in this type of policy.  One exclusion, however, is specifically related to the coverage of Uber drivers.  It says that the policy will not cover any losses caused in whole or in part “when there is a passenger in the motorized vehicle while the Transportation Provider is Online and not performing Transportation Services.

So, if you’re online with Uber and ready to accept calls and your girlfriend or wife or friend have joined you and are sitting in the car with you – when you get hit by a truck, you will not be covered.

You must be alone in the car or with a paying passenger who was sent to you by Uber.  If you have any other people in the car who are not Uber passengers, you won’t be covered.  So keep that in mind.  That’s a very specific provision in this policy tailored to Uber drivers.

Our Take

We didn’t find anything shady or unusual about this insurance coverage.  It is pretty standard disability insurance.

Since driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, we think you should have all the insurance you can get.  You never know when it might come in handy.  According to CBS News, “Taxi drivers are 20 times more likely to be murdered while working than other American workers”.  Uber drivers might not be under quite so much danger, but it’s still a dangerous job.

The more hours you spend on the road, the more likely something could happen eventually.  So, it just seems wise, especially for less than 4 cents per passenger mile, to get this insurance.  And especially if you’re married and have a family who depends on you or otherwise have anyone who depends on you, this insurance would be a good thing to have in the event that your ability to earn an income was in any way diminished.