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Insurance News

June 2017

Ridesharing is Legal in New York as of June 29, 2017, but Not Wise

Insurance coverage is not yet available to protect you. Yes, the ridesharing networks offer liability coverage for when the passenger is in the car, however, the liability coverage provided when the app is on, but the passenger is not in the car, is minimal, and there is no provision for damage to your car.

Your personal auto policy specifically excludes coverage when your vehicle is used to transport people or goods for hire. Your personal umbrella or excess liability policy may also exclude coverage in these circumstances. When you sign into the ride-sharing app, you are immediately suspending your own insurance policy, in its entirety, and relying upon the ridesharing network’s liability-only policy instead.

In other states, insurance companies have had time to analyze the law and the ride-sharing coverage, to determine what coverage endorsements to offer drivers, to help fill the gaps. New York State rushed their version of ridesharing laws into existence with only a month for policy language to be customized around the law. There is currently no way to fill the gap with your personal auto policy, though some insurance companies are working on it. The only alternative, at this time, is to purchase a commercial policy, the same as a taxi owner.

  • Your personal auto policy specifically excludes all coverage when you transport people or goods for-hire.
  • Your umbrella or excess liability policy may have the same exclusion.
  • The transportation network company (Uber, Lyft, etc.) must provide $1.25 million in liability coverage while the passenger is in the vehicle. This may sound great, but pay attention to what it says:  only while the passenger is in the vehicle.
  • The transportation network company must provide $75,000 per person, $150,000 per accident bodily injury liability and $25,000 per accident property damage liability while the app is on, but a passenger is not yet in the car.  So if you send someone into intensive care, or total their new car, you are likely to have to look in your own bank account to help pay the liability claim.
    • Notice the absence of coverage for damage to your car in the coverage provided by the transportation network company.
    • When your bank account doesn’t have enough in it to pay your uncovered liability claims, expect to have your wages garnished.
    • You will need to look in your own bank account for funds to fix damage to your car.
  • The extra income generated by ride sharing won’t go very far in filling the current gaps in available insurance coverage.
  • Some insurance companies are working to create endorsements to help fill these gaps, and you will need to ask for them and pay a little extra for them.
  • The only way to fill the gap now is to insure on a commercial auto policy, like a taxi owner.

Contact us to discuss your policy before you become a ridesharing driver. And share this information with your friends and family members before they become drivers.

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Going to Canada?

Ask us for a Canadian ID card. "A U.S. traveler in Canada is required to carry a motor vehicle liability card, plus vehicle ownership papers. A copy of the automobile policy is recommended to be carried. And a Canadian Non-Resident Inter-provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Card is strongly recommended. U.S. travelers who do not carry a Canadian Non-Resident Inter-provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Card and are stopped by Canadian police or are in an accident while driving in Canada risk being fined or having their vehicle impounded until proof of proper coverage is obtained."