UberX announced that starting today, the company will cover drivers not only when they are shuttling passengers around town, but also when they are simply “live” on the Uber system ready to accept a ride.
“Starting today, if a driver’s personal insurance policy is found not to cover an accident during this period, this new policy will provide contingent coverage for a driver’s liability at the highest requirement of any state in the U.S: $50,000/individual/incident for bodily injury, $100,000 total/incident for bodily injury and $25,000/incident for property damage,” Uber wrote today.
Lyft said it will offer something similar now, too, but is rolling its coverage out on a state-by-state basis sometime later.
The decision is important because many city governments, including Seattle, have voiced concern over the lack of insurance for drivers. There was also the controversial tragic accident in San Francisco, when an UberX driver struck and killed a 6-year-old girl. Since the driver was allegedly “live” on the system but not giving a ride, Uber denied responsibility for damages after the girl’s family sued the company. The case made headlines nationwide as the insurance coverage issue came to light.
The timing of the new driver policies is notable particularly in Seattle, where the City Council is set to enact regulations Monday that require companies like UberX and Lyft — who employ everyday drivers to shuttle people around — to offer insurance coverage at any time while the drivers are “live” on a system.
Still, drivers may still face problems from their personal insurance companies, who have argued that drivers need to carry commercial insurance policies, which often cost thousands of dollars a month. Drivers have reported having their personal policies canceled when their insurers find out that they are driving for a ride-sharing company, while others have had their claims denied if they’re in an accident on the job.