Rideshare companies have revolutionized the transportation industry. Becoming a rideshare driver can be an easy way to put more money in your wallet. However, be sure to consider all the information before signing up. Rideshare companies have strict rules on how they classify drivers, and if you get into an accident, you want to know what to expect and how to protect yourself.
When and Where Did the Accident Occur?
After an accident, one of the first things to consider is, when and where did the accident occur? If you read the fine print on Uber and Lyft's driver coverage statements, you will notice that these two items come into play quickly.
Did the accident occur while driving a passenger around or to or from picking up a passenger? The language they use is “driving while on the app,” which means you were in their service when the accident occurred. To obtain any benefits through the rideshare company, you would need to be “on the app” at the time of the accident.
Did the accident occur outside your state of residence? If so, that can also complicate things because different states have various requirements for vehicle insurance.
Who Was at Fault?
Another question that may factor in is who was at fault. If the other driver was at fault and you were injured, you might have to go through their insurance company to receive benefits for your medical expenses and any lost work time. Doing so may be complicated. You should consult your lawyer before speaking to any insurance representatives.
How Rideshare Drivers Can Protect Themselves
Lyft and Uber's personal liability/injury insurance depends highly on when the accident occurred (while waiting for a passenger, passenger in the car, or passenger pickup). Keep in mind these benefits only kick in after you have exhausted your own insurance benefits or if you do not carry personal injury insurance. You cannot rely on your rideshare company to cover any or all your expenses after an accident. Be sure to look into things and find the right coverage for you before starting as a driver.
Both Lyft and Uber offer drivers optional add-on insurance that covers you in the event of an accident. The optional policy includes things like disability payments, medical expenses, and survivor benefits. However, shop around; you may get a better deal going through your own automobile insurance provider.
Speak with your lawyer and your insurance agent to find out what the best coverage is for you so that if you do suffer a car accident while driving for a rideshare company, you are covered sufficiently.