Determining Who Will Pay for the Damages
Transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft are convenient and inexpensive, making them increasingly popular around the world. With a smartphone app, users can request a ride directly to their desired location, at a price typically lower than taxi fare. But the popularity of these rideshare services begs an important question: If you’re hurt in a car accident in Colorado while riding in an Uber or Lyft, who’s responsible?
- If the vehicle you’re riding in was hit by another vehicle, the other vehicle’s driver is responsible and their insurance will cover your damages. If they don’t have liability insurance or don’t have enough to cover the cost, Uber or Lyft’s UM/UIM coverage will apply.
- If your Uber or Lyft driver hits another vehicle or stationary object, the driver is responsible and the rideshare company’s policy will pay up to the limits of the policy.
Here’s a summary of each company’s coverage:
Uber provides vehicle liability insurance coverage for all U.S. drivers while they are logged into the Uber app, but drivers are also required to maintain auto insurance that meets their state’s minimum coverage levels.
As of March 2016, Uber maintains the following insurance coverage on its drivers and passengers:
- $1 million liability coverage, plus $1 million in uninsured/underinsured coverage per incident.
- Contingent comprehensive and collision 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.
- No-fault coverage in certain states.
- $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 of coverage between trips if a driver’s personal policy does not provide coverage.
When Uber drivers are not available to pick up passengers, their own personal auto insurance covers them in the event of an auto accident. When drivers are available but haven’t picked up a passenger, they’ll have coverage under their own personal insurance and additional contingent liability coverage through Uber.
Lyft’s insurance policies are available in all states (except for rides with a Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) driver in New York City). The coverage includes:
- Contingent liability, which covers the driver only while in driver mode waiting for a ride request.
- Primary automobile liability, in force from the time the ride request is accepted until the time the ride has ended in the app — $1 million limit per accident for driver and passengers.
- Contingent comprehensive and collision to cover physical damage to the vehicle incurred while in driver mode.
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage applies when a driver has accepted a ride or is transporting a passenger and gets into an accident with an at-fault driver who is uninsured or underinsured. Lyft’s UM/UIM covers up to $1 million per accident with no deductible.
When driver mode is off, the driver’s personal insurance provides coverage, but when driver mode is on but the driver has not yet accepted a ride, Lyft provides contingent liability coverage to protect the driver if his or her personal insurance denies the claim.
Information Is Essential, No Matter Who Was at Fault
Just as when you get into an accident in your own vehicle, information is key if you get injured in a car accident while riding with a rideshare driver. With the smartphone you used to request the ride, you can take pictures of the drivers, vehicles, license plates, insurance information, and accident scene, and even report the accident. How convenient is that?