Whether it's your main source of income or just a side-hustle, if you're making money through a ridesharing platform like Uber or Lyft, you need to look into insurance coverage. A personal auto insurance policy alone won't provide enough protection. Without rideshare-specific coverage, you could be liable for significant damages if you cause someone injury.
Personal auto insurance policies don't often use the word "rideshare," so what you need to look for is "livery services." If your policy excludes this, then you won't be covered when using your car to chauffeur passengers.
But that doesn't mean you don't have any options left. This article will go over the basic steps you need to take to find the insurance you need to keep earning money without risking financial catastrophe.
First Step: Compare Policies
Your first step is to contact your personal auto insurer and tell them that you're planning to work through a ride-sharing service.
The first question you should ask them is whether they sell rideshare insurance. Not all insurers sell this kind of policy, but with the growing popularity of ridesharing many have responded by tailoring policies for these services. None of them sell it separately, however, so you have to buy the policy from the same insurer that provides you with your personal auto policy. If they do sell it, request a sample policy so you can get a good sense of the coverage offered and the premium rates (see Experts Share Top Tips for Saving on Auto Insurance for advice on keeping premiums low).
Next, get a sample policy from the ridesharing company and bring both samples to your agent. They will help you compare the policies and identify any gaps in the coverage (if you don't have an agent, see 5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Insurance Agent for advice finding one). There are a few things you should look out for here.
Coverage for Every Stage of the Work
One thing to look out for here is whether the insurance available through the ridesharing company covers you during every stage of the work: before, during, and after ride requests. If it does not, you're probably better off with the rideshare insurance your insurer provides.
Range of Coverage
Another key thing to look at is the range of coverage you have on your personal policy. For example, if you have coverage against uninsured/underinsured drivers on your personal policy, you will be able to collect from the rideshare company’s insurance policy under its coverage for these items (learn more about this coverage). But if your personal policy doesn't have this coverage, you probably can't collect from them through the ridershare company’s insurer.
A third thing worth knowing is that, in some cases, insurance provided by rideshare companies is contingent on you having personal insurance. If this is the case, you cannot file a successful claim with your rideshare policy until you have filed a claim with your personal insurance provider.
What if Your Personal Insurer Doesn't Sell Rideshare Insurance?
You might feel like you're in a bit of a jam if your insurer doesn't sell rideshare insurance and the policies offered though the rideshare company don't cover everything you need it to. But don't panic. You should still be able to find options.
Do a bit of research or talk to your agent about the insurance companies that provide rideshare insurance in your state. You will probably have to quit doing business with your current auto insurer and switch to a new company. That might seem like a big step, but it's better than working without protection (but see Why It's Not a Good Idea to Switch Insurance Companies Every Six Months for other considerations).
If you're an active member of the military, a veteran, or the family member of one, USAA provides rideshare insurance in some states.
Last Resort: Working in a State Without Rideshare Insurance
What if your search for a rideshare insurance provider in your state comes up empty? It's not time to pack up everything and move just yet.
This one will be a bit tougher, price-wise. But if you can't find the right coverage through an auto insurer, you will have to buy a commercial insurance policy. Since they're designed to cover businesses and not individuals, these are a bit pricier, so you will want to shop around to make sure you're getting a good deal.
Your personal auto insurance policy simply won't give you fill coverage. If you're doing business with your car, you need additional insurance. If you're lucky, your insurer or the rideshare company will offer a policy that is good enough. If not, find a suitable alternative before you start working.