As exciting as this sounds, and as easy as it may seem to make a few extra bucks driving for UBER, insuring yourself and your car to drive for UBER is an opportunity that requires further investigation.
My desire is not to frustrate you, but my worry is about getting your claim paid.
A personal auto policy that most of us have may not specifically exclude this type of business use, however I expect coverage will stop the moment you log in to the UBER APP and signal them that you are ready to receive ride requests.
At this moment I believe you are most vulnerable. This is the phase when UBER offers you $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 contingent coverage between trips. This coverage is EXCESS over your personal auto policy, and here's how I see it working:
Step 1, you report the accident you have been involved in to your insurance company;
Step 2, they deny coverage because you are using the car in the course of business;
Step 3, the claim is then submitted to UBER's insurance, and they offer an injured party a maximum of $50,000 for injuries you have caused them. That's it. If their injuries are more severe this is when their attorney may contact you for some level of personal contribution in order to make the injured party "whole."
Step 4, will your personal auto insurance policy be renewed?
50/100/25 Limits mean: $50,000 per person for bodily injury; $100,000 for all injuries caused in the accident; and $25,000 for damage done to another party's property – typically their vehicle.
UBER says that the "drivers' liability to third parties is covered from the moment a driver accepts a trip to its conclusion." During this phase of the UBER operation their policy will be PRIMARY and provides a $1m million dollar limit to cover bodily injury and property damage. If you have an accident that claim will go directly to them for handling.
You could consider applying for a commercial auto insurance policy and paying a rate typical to the operation of a taxi cab, but you will find that rate to be pretty high. A recent quote we prepared delivered a rate of $3500 to $6500 per year depending on the limit of coverage being purchased on a single vehicle with a middle aged driver. This would be the type of coverage that would be primary in protecting you throughout the entire rideshare process.
Talk to your insurance agent and ask them what they know about this "RIDE SHARING" exposure and how your insurance company will handle it. Investigate before you make a decision.
It's very early for UBER in Montana, so do your homework and keep yourself safe. Keep your eyes and ears open as information become available. We can provide a copy of the current Montana law that defines insurance requirements of the "transportation network carriers," and also the rights of insurers who write motor vehicle liability insurance in Montana. Call us for a copy. (406) 652-4180
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Darnielle Insurance is available to answer your questions. We are located at 1320 28th Street West, Billings, MT 59102. Give us a call at 406-652-4180.