“Ridesharing” services like Uber and Lyft are not about sharing. Make no mistake about it, Uber and Lyft are money making enterprises also commonly known as “businesses”. If you were injured in an auto accident as a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle or hit by a ride sharing car, you may be wondering what insurance applies, if any. Your concern is on point since most auto insurance policies issued to individuals and families contain an exclusion for driving for commercial purposes.
Sorting out whether a driver’s private or commercial (Uber, Lyft) auto insurance policy applies requires determining whether the driver was: 1.Off duty; 2. Available for hire; or 3. Picked up / En route to a pick up a paying passenger. When the driver, is off duty and not logged into the Ride share “app”, the driver’s personal insurance applies. When the driver is available for hire but has been paired with a potential passenger, both Uber and Lyft provide at least the state minimum coverage for bodily injury caused by the driver’s fault. (In Oregon, the minimum liability limit for injuries is $25k per person, $50k per accident and $15k for no fault medical coverage known as PIP.) As of March 2016, when a ride share driver is en route to a potential customer or already has a customer in his car, Uber and Lyft provide $1M in liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage.
Very recently some insurers have begun offering new insurance products designed to fill the business exclusion coverage gap brought about by ride sharing. If you were in an injury accident involving an Uber driver, get a copy of your policy. Contact an experienced auto lawyer in to make appropriate claims on your behalf. Never give a statement to an opposing insurance adjuster or rideshare company before seeking legal counsel.