Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and Wingz are alternatives to traditional cabs that help commuters get from Point A to Point B. The companies allow users to use social media to call for their services and come with other conveniences. But are you insured if you’re a passenger in their car? And are their drivers covered under insurance?
California’s Department of Insurance held an investigatory hearing at the Capitol on Friday to try to understand who is insured in the case of an accident. California’s Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, says it appears there is a gap in coverage.
“When the application [on the phone] is turned on until the moment you pick up a passenger, there’s a potential coverage gap. Another gap is for the driver himself or herself or their vehicle, that may not be covered either,” Jones said.
The co-founder of Lyft, John Zimmer, said their company has a great policy for both passengers and drivers.
“We have a million dollar excess liability coverage that drops down and acts as primary in the case that for some reason their personal policy doesn’t cover,” said Zimmer.
Nicole Ganley, with the Association of California Insurance Companies, says the transportation network companies don’t have policies that cover everyone in all cases.
“We’re saying drivers and passengers need to beware. If they’re hit by an underinsured or insured driver they’re not covered and the personal policy is not going to provide any coverage,” Ganley said.
The insurance policies is making some drivers change their mind about who they want to work for. A taxi driver in San Francisco, John Han, said he considered driving for Uber. He said all of the transportation network companies have the same message.
“All say that you don’t need commercial insurance so if you want to be a driver, all you need is your personal insurance,” said Han.
He called his insurance provider to make sure what he was told was correct.
“They said they would not provide insurance on this kind of vehicle,” said Han