Transportation network companies, or TNCs like Uber started in San Francisco and have spread to dozens of countries around the world. Their popularity can be attributed to the fact that they’re convenient and cheap – users are just a smartphone app away from a ride straight to their desired location, at a price lower than they would pay for a taxi.
But the popularity of such rideshare services brings up legal questions, such as: If you’re hurt in a crash while riding in an Uber, who’s responsible?
As required by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Uber maintains three-part insurance coverage on their drivers and passengers:
- When drivers are not available to pick up passengers, they’re covered by their own personal auto insurance.
- When drivers are available but have not yet picked up a passenger, they’re covered by their own personal insurance PLUS additional contingent liability coverage of up to $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident and up to $25,000 in property damage, if the driver’s personal insurance is insufficient to cover the damages.
- Uber drivers who are transporting passengers are covered by a $1 million liability policy and another $1 million in uninsured/underinsured coverage.
A majority of states have adopted or are in the process of adopting regulating the operations of TNCs. But since Uber classifies its drivers as independent contractors and not employees, the company has been known to deny liability for the negligent actions of its drivers. In that case, uninsured motorist coverage can help pay your damages.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist insurance is additional protection that you can purchase as part of your own automobile insurance contract. This coverage will typically pay the following types of expenses for you:
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Lost wages, current and future
- Vehicle repairs and damage to personal items
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
One other major benefit of uninsured motorist coverage is that it travels with you, protecting you even if you are not in your own insured vehicle, and are instead being transported by an Uber driver, at the time of an accident.