Participants with the New Ride-Sharing Services May Face Insurance Risks

September 25th, 2014

 

If you drive for a Transportation Network Company (TNC), you should be aware of some potential gaps in insurance, which could put you and your riders at risk.

 

A TNC is an organization that provides pre-arranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled platform to connect passengers with drivers using the driver’s personal vehicle. TNCs include companies such as Lyft, UberX, and Sidecar.

 

Before participating in any of these new ride-sharing services, it’s important to understand your own personal auto insurance policy. Learning too late of a gap in your insurance coverage can have serious financial consequences.

 

Personal auto insurance policies typically exclude coverage while your vehicle is being used in a ride-sharing service, under what is commonly known as a “public livery exclusion”. While some TNCs may purchase coverage for their network of drivers, this insurance may not cover all costs, including those for which you may be liable, in the case of an accident.

 

If you wish to be a driver or passenger with these new programs, take the steps now to be sure you have the coverage you may need. Here are some tips:

 

  • Check your own personal auto insurance policy, and make sure you see a copy of any commercial insurance policy held by the TNC to protect its drivers.
  • Contact Gunn-Mowery to identify potential gaps in your personal automobile insurance policy and the TNC’s policy. Let us know of your intent to participate in the program.
  • Make sure the commercial automobile insurance policy held by the TNC includes coverages required by law for medical benefits, bodily injury and property damage liability. Ask about the optional coverages for collision damage, or injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
  • Be aware that any coverage to address these gaps should include the period before, and during, the times when you are designated to drive passengers.
  • Be certain you understand which insurance policy (your personal auto or TNC commercial) provides what coverage and when that coverage is triggered.

 

Some ride-sharing services or TNCs currently have commercial applications pending with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. For more information on these applications, click on www.puc.pa.gov and go to “search for documents.”

 

Traditional car-pooling or ride-sharing arrangements in which friends, neighbors or co-workers share driving duties and the cost of gasoline are not considered commercial-type activities. These types of arrangements are typically covered by personal auto insurance policies.

 

For more information on insurance products and coverage, contact Gunn-Mowery at (717) 761-4600 or info@GunnMowery.com.