Uber is quickly becoming one of the most popular rideshare programs, if not the most popular. Participation in rideshare programs continues to rise, especially in the 25-34-year-old age group which makes up 57% of all rideshare passengers. So, what should you know about Uber’s $1 million insurance plan? Well, for starters, the coverage only applies in a very particular scenario, and Uber is known to fight or deny claims, even in the qualifying situation.
Offline: An Uber driver who is not logged in or available for fairs is not eligible for coverage because the vehicle is not being used for Uber rides. At that point, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy would apply. Liability coverage would be based on the at-fault driver’s policy.
Between Trips: An Uber driver who is logged in but has not yet accepted a trip at the time of an auto accident. At that point, the driver’s personal auto insurance policy would apply. Liability coverage would be based on the at-fault driver’s policy. However, Uber provides contingent liability coverage of $50,000 per injured party, up to $100,000 per accident, and up to $25,000 in property damage. This policy is only available if the driver’s personal auto insurance does not cover at least the minimum amounts outlined. For example, Florida law does not require drivers to purchase insurance at the same levels; if the Uber driver has only purchased the minimum coverage required under Florida law, Uber’s contingent policy may apply.
On Trip: Uber’s $1 million-dollar policy kicks in when an Uber driver is “on trip”. On trip begins when the Uber driver has accepted a trip and ends when the Uber driver has reached the rider’s destination. The coverage provides two distinct benefits:
- $1 million-dollar policy for liability (when the Uber driver causes the accident) and,
- $1 million-dollar policy for uninsured/underinsured coverage (when another vehicle causes the accident but does not have sufficient policy limits to balance the harms).
However, as is the case with most things in life, there is some critical fine print. One of the critical details in the fine print is the distinction that Uber drivers are not employees of Uber, rather contract employees of a tech company that offers drivers through an online app. The distinction is important for Uber. If the driver is an employee of Uber, they would be liable for all the harm caused under a theory of respondeat superior (Latin for “let the master answer”). So long as Uber calls their driver’s contract employees or independent contractors, Uber is not themselves liable for the drivers’ actions.
Uber has been named in countless lawsuits across the country and internationally. Uber is known to fight hard against personal injury claims and has retained the services of a top-ranked defense firm. As with all cases, there are time limitations on when you must file a lawsuit, so time is of the essence. Therefore, if you are injured while occupying a ride-sharing program or injured by a ride-sharing driver, it is important that you talk with an attorney about your options.
It is also important to note that currently there are pending lawsuits against Uber which could redefine Uber drivers as employees rather than contract employees, changing the landscape drastically and the coverage amounts cited above are subject to change.
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