Rideshares have grown immensely in popularity. A rideshare could be an arrangement between coworkers where they travel together to save money and hassle. A more common rideshare arrangement is with a company like Lyft or Uber. You summon a driver to get you from one location to another for a fee.
What happens if you’re in a rideshare accident? You might think that the driver’s personal auto insurance coverage will pay for your lost wages, medical bills, and property damage, it’s not always the case. You could be left with bills you can’t afford. If you’re in an accident while riding in a rideshare, here’s what you need to know and what to do.
How Insurance Looks at Ride Shares
Drivers who take passengers for a fee are running a business. As such, they’re supposed to inform their insurance company. Many don’t. If there’s an accident and the driver was picking up passengers, that personal insurance policy may be immediately canceled.
If the driver lives in a state where rideshare insurance add-ons are available, that’s another option for coverage. Not every driver looks into this, but you could ask. If there is add-on coverage, the personal auto insurance policy should cover your medical bills, loss of income, and/or damaged/destroyed personal property like a laptop or smartphone.
Commercial insurance policies are expensive, so many don’t bother. If the driver doesn’t have coverage that protects rideshare passengers, focus shifts to the insurance coverage companies like Lyft and Uber have for drivers and passengers.
What Ride Share Companies Like Uber or Lyft Cover
Drivers for a rideshare organization have three situations where insurance coverage varies. Rideshare companies require their drivers to have personal auto insurance policies. If there’s an accident, those companies hope that the driver’s insurance coverage will pay up. If that doesn’t happen, Uber’s coverage is as follows:
- App Is Turned Off: Personal auto insurance covers when the app is off as that indicates the driver is not taking passengers.
- Available/Waiting: The driver is ready for passengers. Personal auto insurance may cover accidents at this point. If not, the rideshare service may cover up to $25,000 in property damage and $50,000 in bodily injury per person or $100,000 per accident.
- En Route: A passenger is in the car or the driver is about to pick up the passenger. The rideshare company’s commercial auto insurance covers comprehensive/collision for the value of the car minus a $1,000 deductible, uninsured/underinsured coverage, and $1 million in third-party liability coverage.
Lyft is similar only they have a $2,500 deductible on collision coverage. The company also states you must have collision coverage on a personal policy. They both want the personal insurance to pay first, and they will cover gaps if there are any.
When you’re in a car operated by a rideshare driver, as long as that driver uses the app correctly and notes when you’re in the car, you should be covered. If the medical bills exceed the limits, you may run into problems. It’s a lot to take in. After a crash, sorting through complex insurance matters isn’t desirable. It’s advisable to talk to a car accident attorney to better understand your rights and what auto insurance will and will not cover. An attorney can help you weigh your options and decide the best path forward.
Two Things to Do After an Accident in a Rideshare Vehicle
Do two things after you’re in a crash. First, seek medical care. Don’t put this off. You might feel fine, and hopefully, you are fine. Your health is most important, so you need to have a doctor be the one to say you’re injury-free. Even then, some injuries don’t appear immediately. Injuries like whiplash take hours or days to appear. That’s normal, but it presents the argument that the injury happened somewhere else. If you have proof you saw a doctor right after the accident, it’s going to be harder for an insurance company to deny your claim saying you got the injury elsewhere.
Second, schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. Look for a law firm that specializes in car accident law. Don’t let stress become overwhelming. The attorneys at Jordan, Herington & Rowley represent you and your family. They’ll fight to make sure your medical bills, property damages, and lost wages are covered. They’ll go through the possible avenues from the commercial policies to the driver’s personal insurance policies and make sense of who should pay for your injuries and losses. Call to schedule a free consultation.