As an Uber rider, You are always covered under Uber’s insurance policy up to one million dollars (and beyond, most likely). Uber has always protected the rider but left out the driver and possibly innocent parties that might get in an accident with the Uber driver. This is because Uber refused to cover drivers when they did not have an Uber rider in the car even though they had the Uber app on and were waiting for a ping to pick up a rider. The problem is that the driver was in limbo between two insurance coverages. Personal policies do not cover drivers when using the vehicle for commercial purposes so when the app is turned on the driver is under commercial contract with Uber, no longer considered a personal use of the vehicle. But during that time if there is an accident, Uber has refused to cover the driver. This forced drivers to try to get their personal insurance to cover them and some have keep the insurance company in the dark about the Uber job. If there was a claim paid by the personal insurance company the driver could be committing a felony punishable by years in prison for insurance fraud. No different than setting Your house on fire and collecting insurance, the law thinks of insurance fraud the same way.
Finally the State of California passed a law that protects the Driver but it took a law to get Uber to do the decent thing for these minimum wage workers. Can You imagine getting in an accident working for minimum wage then the company You were working for wouldn’t even cover Your damages? And even worse, lying to Your insurance company and going to prison all for a minimum wage job. At least at McDonald’s You have no risk of jail time. The new law has forced Uber to have coverage in place the instant that the app is turned on until it is turned off. The driver’s personal insurance will cover Him/Her as usual when the app is not turned on.
The problem is, California is the only state so far to make Uber do the right thing. Will they do the right thing elsewhere or wait for the law to make them? I think You know the answer, Hell no!
Taxi companies have always tried to scare riders into thinking that Uber did not have the proper insurance to cover them in case of an accident. That was a total lie, Uber Always had the rider insured from time of pick up to time of drop off. Rest assured that as a rider You are always insured way more than the law requires. What the taxi companies were right about was lack of insurance but it was lack of insurance for the driver not the rider.
As much as We all want the Government to stay out of our lives it is situations like this that we have to thank them for stepping in. So far only California cared enough about their citizens to do so.
To be fair, Uber’s name is used generically for ride share. The ride share business includes Lyft, Sidecar and many more, all much smaller than Uber. Also, drivers could find insurance to cover them during the time their personal insurance and Uber was not covering them. But making minimum wage very few drivers chose to seek out commercial insurance.