As Uber and Lyft have grown in popularity, car insurance companies have made efforts to meet the demand from drivers for coverage. Typically, rideshare insurance covers personal use and adds coverage for part of the time drivers are signed in to a ridesharing app.
|Rideshare insurance has gaps:||Rideshare companies offer full insurance coverage after you’ve accepted a ride request and while you’re driving passengers, but coverage is skimpier while you’re waiting for a request.|
|You probably need a rideshare policy.||Rideshare drivers should look at what's covered in both their personal car insurance policies and the rideshare company's insurance. To be fully covered, you’ll probably need either rideshare insurance or a commercial auto policy.|
|Availability is spotty.||Not all insurance companies offer rideshare insurance policies, nor is coverage available in all states. If you can’t get it, you'll need to buy a commercial auto policy to be properly insured.|
|You may risk your personal coverage.||Even if your rideshare company offers full coverage during all phases of the job — before, during and after ride requests — your personal auto insurer could drop you if you don’t disclose you’re a rideshare driver.|
In this article:
Where to get rideshare insurance
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Why drivers need rideshare insurance
Not only is your personal insurer unlikely to cover any accidents you have during your ridesharing gig — it could even cancel your policy if it finds out you haven’t disclosed you drive the car for money.
Additionally, if you have Uber insurance or Lyft insurance, coverage is minimal while you have the app on and are waiting for a request — known as Period 1. Fuller coverage kicks in once you’ve accepted a ride and are carrying passengers.
Here’s a snapshot of Uber and Lyft insurance policies:
|Period 1||Liability only:
|Periods 2 and 3|
If you have a commercial auto policy, you don’t need separate rideshare coverage.
What if my state doesn’t have rideshare insurance?
Rideshare policies aren’t yet available in every state. If you can’t get rideshare coverage, you’ll have to buy a commercial insurance policy to be fully insured and avoid being dropped by your carrier in the event of an accident. These plans have higher liability limits than a typical policy. They’re also pricey. According to insurance agent group Trusted Choice, the average commercial policy for a passenger car costs from $1,200 to $2,400 per year or higher.
How to buy rideshare insurance
Not all insurance companies offer rideshare insurance policies. If yours doesn’t, it’s time to look elsewhere — to get the best rate, that’s a smart thing to do anyway.
Here are some good initial steps to take when selecting rideshare insurance:
- No matter what, if you haven’t already, tell your personal auto insurer you’re driving for a ridesharing company.
- If the ridesharing company you’re driving for offers coverage, figure out the gaps between your personal policy and their policy. Uber and Lyft both provide $1 million in liability coverage for drivers carrying passengers. Among smaller and newer companies, policies can vary.
- Ask your current insurer whether it offers rideshare insurance to fill in coverage gaps, or to quote you a commercial policy, if not. Rideshare insurance is generally more cost-effective than commercial insurance.
Note that rideshare insurance is an add-on from your personal auto insurer, not stand-alone coverage. For example, you can’t have State Farm for your personal auto policy and buy rideshare insurance from Geico.
What happens if you have an accident?
If you cause an accident during Periods 2 or 3 — while you’re carrying passengers or on your way to a fare — Uber and Lyft will cover medical expenses and other damages up to $1 million, even if an uninsured or underinsured driver is involved. The $1 million limit is much higher than most drivers — even taxi drivers in many major cities — carry in liability coverage.
You can also draw on comprehensive and collision coverage from the ridesharing companies, but only if you also have such coverage on your personal policy. Beware, though: Deductibles can be high, and the policies apply only once you’ve accepted a ride request or while you’re carrying passengers.
If you cause an accident during Period 1, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance provider unless your state law or rideshare insurance policy specifies otherwise. If the claim is denied or you’re not fully reimbursed, coverage from Lyft and Uber will kick in. But ridesharing companies’ limits in these cases are relatively low — this is the “gap” that rideshare insurance from your personal carrier is designed to cover.
How to report an accident and file a claim
Call the police: Whether or not your accident happens while ridesharing, your first step should be to call the police. Depending on the type of accident and your rideshare company’s rules, you might have to provide your personal proof of insurance or the rideshare company’s certificate. Exchange information with the other driver as you normally would.
How to file: Next, if you need to, file a claim with your personal insurer. Even if you can rely on the rideshare company to cover your damage, your personal insurer will want to know about any accidents. This can put drivers who haven’t been honest about their driving status in a tough situation: If you chose not to tell your insurer, you risk being dropped. You should notify your ridesharing company as well. If you can take advantage of the company’s coverage, a rep can help you start the claims process.