June 10, 2016

Rideshare insurance in Florida

Over the past few years, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have taken over the popularity of the taxi, mostly due to their ease of use: whip out your phone, put in the address you need to go to, and wait. These services also provide drivers with easy money – Uber boasts wages of $25/hour for as little as a drive around town (ridester.com even bumps it up to $50 during a snowstorm!)

While this is definitely easy money, there’s more to the story for rideshare drivers: insurance. What do we need to know when it comes to rideshare insurance in Florida? When worse comes to worst and you find yourself in an accident while on the clock, you’re covered…right?

The nitty-gritty of rideshare insurance in Florida

Although rideshare companies follow the same idea of the taxicab, they’re two completely different animals from the legal standpoint. What makes this difference? Well, car insurance covers the car itself; while a taxi is only used for business services and is put away when the driver is off the clock, an Uber or Lyft driver’s car is sometimes used for business, sometimes for personal reasons. Rideshare companies also provide insurance up to a certain degree, but sometimes not necessarily in all instances. Where your insurance from Uber or Lyft drops off, some personal auto insurance policies offer coverage for drivers, but not all of them.

Be forewarned,– if your car insurance policy does not cover this use of your car and you are caught using your car outside your policy’s parameters without disclosing the information, your insurance company may drop you. You don’t want to find yourself in a serious car accident with a rideshare passenger in the backseat, call your insurance company, and find that you’re not actually covered!

So how does non-commercial car insurance cover a Lyft or Uber? Well, the insurance that requires commercial driving can be divided into three parts:

  1. The driver is actively driving around, waiting for a rideshare to be requested
  2. After a driver and passenger are matched, and the driver is driving towards the passenger
  3. The passenger is in the car and the driver is going towards the passenger’s destination

So what’s covered by rideshare insurance in Florida?

Let’s start with scenario 1: the driver is actively driving around, waiting for a rideshare to be requested. Out of all your time spent working in a rideshare capacity, this is when you’re left most open to complications from rideshare insurance. If you find yourself in an accident, your rideshare company may very well not cover you, so it’s important that you read the fine print and are aware of any risks. Similarly, your personal insurance policy may not cover this scenario either. It tends to be a gray line, so make sure you know the details of both policies.

Next, scenario 2: after a driver and passenger are matched, and the driver is driving towards the passenger. This part of the rideshare experience is much simpler: Uber and Lyft both cover the driver at this time.

Scenario 3, where the passenger is in the car and the driver is going towards the passenger’s destination, is also covered by both Uber and Lyft.

So, as you can see, a rideshare driver’s major concern is the time spent waiting to be summoned by a passenger.

What if your personal insurance policy does not cover the gaps?

If you do some digging and find that your personal car insurance policy will not cover you as a rideshare driver, you have a couple choices: you can either shop around for insurance from other insurance companies, or you can vouch for a commercial policy.

Above all else, first speak with your insurance company to see if there’s anything they can do to fill in the gaps that your rideshare company won’t fill for you. They may be able to do some negotiating for you. Nerdwallet provides a pretty comprehensive overview of which insurance companies might have what you’re looking for.

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