Incredibly popular with drivers and riders, Uber and Lyft are ridesharing companies that operate in hundreds of cities across the nation. While Uber and Lyft can provide convenient ways to earn money and quickly get rides, they can present drivers and riders with some challenges in the aftermath of a crash.
In fact, what few people realize is that:
· Insurance coverage from Uber or Lyft only applies in specific circumstances.
· There can be coverage gaps that could leave drivers with no coverage.
· Even if an Uber or Lyft car accident should be covered by a personal auto policy and/or a million-dollar insurance policy held by Uber or Lyft, there are NO guarantees that coverage will be honored, that it will be easy to successfully resolve a claim or that the insurer will readily offer the full amount of compensation to which victims are entitled.
To help ridesharing riders and drivers understand their rights following an Uber or Lyft accident, below, we have simplified the complex landscape of insurance coverage and gaps for crashes involving Uber and Lyft drivers and vehicles.
While this information is essential for anyone who drives for or rides with Uber or Lyft, don’t hesitate to contact the trusted Houston car accident lawyers at the Amaro Law Firm whenever you need answers about your crash and potential claim. Strategic and tireless, we can help you effectively stand up to insurance companies and seek the maximum recovery for your Uber or Lyft accident claim.
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What Insurance Coverage Applies in an Uber or Lyft Accident?
The short answer to that question is that it depends on:
· Whether the ridesharing driver was primarily at fault for the crash – If not, the insurer for the at-fault driver should provide coverage. If the at-fault driver has fled the scene or is uninsured or underinsured, the Uber or Lyft uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage may provide a total coverage of $1 million for bodily injury. Alternately, if the Uber or Lyft driver is primarily at fault, the personal auto policy and/or the Uber or Lyft business auto policy can provide coverage.
· The driver’s “status” at the time of the crash – Driver status describes whether drivers are logged onto an app and accepting rides. If so, they are “online.” If not, they are “offline.”
When Uber & Lyft Drivers Are Offline…
Their personal auto insurance should cover them. Drivers are required to take out and maintain at least the minimum coverage as required by state law. In Texas, this means that Uber and Lyft drivers must have coverage of at least: 1
· $30,000 per injury
· $60,000 injury total
· $25,000 for property damage.
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When Uber & Lyft Drivers Are Online…
They are generally covered by some combination of their personal auto insurance policy and the ridesharing company’s business auto policy. How coverage applies will depend on whether:
· A driver is waiting for a ride request or has accepted a request and is on his/her way to pick up the rider(s) – In crashes occurring under these circumstances, the personal auto insurance policy should provide primary coverage, with the Uber or Lyft business auto policy2 providing coverage only when primary coverage has been exhausted or denied. This contingent coverage includes $50,000 per injury, $100,000 injury total, and $25,000 for property damage.
· A driver is transporting riders – The Uber or Lyft business auto coverage should come into play for any wrecks occurring while riders are being transported. Both Uber and Lyft carry $1 million total liability coverage.
Here, it’s crucial to note that Uber and Lyft policies will likely NOT provide coverage if drivers fail to maintain personal auto insurance coverage (at the state-required minimums).
Beware of the Coverage “Gaps” & Common Ways Insurers Try to Avoid Paying Claims
Despite the fact that Uber and Lyft drivers should generally be protected by at least one auto insurance policy whenever they’re on the roads, the reality is that:
· There can be coverage gaps.
· Insurers are often reluctant to honor valid Uber and Lyft accident claims.
In fact, when it comes to pursuing financial recovery following an Uber or Lyft car crash, it’s critical to know that:
· Insurers providing personal auto insurance coverage may try to deny claims for crashes that occur when drivers are “online” – Usually, these insurers will argue that “online” driving time (even when riders are not being transported) constitutes a commercial driving activity and, therefore, will not be covered by a personal policy (because it should be covered by a business auto insurance policy).
· Uber’s & Lyft’s insurance providers have been known to deny claims for crashes occurring when riders are not being transported – In other words, these insurers commonly deny claims for accidents that occur when drivers are online and waiting for a ride request or traveling to pick up riders (rather than transporting riders). They typically argue that, because the driver was not earning money (because no rider was being transported), (s)he was not actually “on the clock” and, therefore, should be covered by a personal policy (rather than the business auto insurance policy).
This can create a frustrating, challenging battle for accident victims when it’s time to pursue a claim and seek the compensation to which they are entitled.
Hurt in an Uber or Lyft Accident? A Houston Car Accident Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm Can Protect Your Rights, Claim & Recovery
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an Uber or Lyft crash, contact a Houston car accident lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm for exceptional advocacy in the pursuit of financial recovery and justice. With former experience in insurance defense, the attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm know how to challenge the tactics insurers may use to try to avoid paying claims. We are also highly effective at leveling the playing field and helping crash survivors maximize their financial recoveries.
Call (877) 892-2797 or Email Our Firm for a FREE Consultation.
During this case evaluation, you can get essential insights about your legal options and how to move forward with a potential claim.
The experienced attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm are dedicated to ensuring that you obtain the full recovery you deserve. While we realize that the damage from Uber or Lyft crashes may never be undone by compensation, we also know that these recoveries can be integral to rebuilding lives.
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