What is Rideshare Insurance and Do I Need It?
Driving for a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft can be a great way to generate income, even as a side hustle. But while using your vehicle to earn cash on your schedule is easy, there are also a few very important considerations to keep in mind. One of the most important is rideshare insurance.
As a rideshare driver, it’s likely that your everyday auto insurance policy isn’t enough to fully protect you or your vehicle, even when off the clock. In order to do that, you’ll need to look into buying a rideshare policy — here’s a look at exactly what that entails.
What is Rideshare Insurance?
Using your personal vehicle for ridesharing is one way to earn a few bucks on the weekend, or can even be a primary source of income. But regardless of how often you’re driving people around, you’ll need to carry insurance coverage that protects you, your vehicle, and everyone else on the road. This means buying a rideshare insurance policy.
Rideshare insurance is a type of policy intended for drivers who use their personal vehicles for on-demand rideshare services like Uber or Lyft (which are also called transportation network services, or TNCs). Your rideshare insurance can offer a combination of liability, personal injury, collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist, and even roadside assistance coverage, and can either be a form of supplemental coverage or a stand-alone personal policy.
There are four driving periods to consider, as far as most insurance companies are concerned. These are:
- Phase 1: When you have your rideshare app closed, and are driving for personal reasons
- Phase 2: When you have the app open but have not been matched to a fare
- Phase 3: After you have been matched with a rider and are en route to pick them up
- Phase 4: When a rider is in your car being transported
Depending on the insurer, rideshare coverage will kick in and provide you with protection during a mix of these phases. Some policies are only intended to cover phases 2 and 3, for example, while others cover 1-3 and protect you wherever there are gaps in the TNC policy’s coverage.
Why You Need Rideshare Insurance
Rideshare services like Uber typically offer insurance coverage to drivers, though the protections can vary. For example, Uber offers limited coverage to drivers and their vehicles anytime the Uber app is turned on, even if a passenger is not yet in the car. Other services, however, may only offer insurance coverage when a paying customer is inside the vehicle.
Before you even begin driving for a rideshare company, you likely already have personal auto insurance for your vehicle. So between that and the protection that companies like Uber and Lyft provide, you should be adequately protected in any situation… right?
Unfortunately, wrong. TNC insurance coverage is likely to provide inadequate protection, even when combined with a personal insurance policy. That’s because:
- Rideshare company policies may come with high deductibles, leaving you feeling the pinch after an accident.
- Some companies will only protect drivers when a passenger is in the car; if you’re in an accident on the way to pick up a passenger, for example, you could be out of luck.
- Typically, personal auto insurance policies will not cover rideshare drivers without the purchase of a special policy or supplemental coverage. If your insurance company catches you rideshare driving, they may cancel your policy and/or deny claims — even if accidents occur off the clock when you’re driving for personal use.
First, you’ll want to see exactly what — if any — coverage your existing auto insurance policy provides to you as a rideshare driver. You may find that your insurer won’t even offer a policy if you’re using the vehicle for rideshare purposes, in which case you need to start at square one. Others may just allow you to buy supplemental coverage.
What Rideshare Insurance Covers
Different insurers and different policies will offer different rideshare insurance coverage. It just depends on what you already have and what you need.
For instance, some major insurance companies offer a stand-alone insurance product that blends personal coverage with rideshare protection. Whether you’re cruising around for pleasure or have a car full of Uber riders, you’re afforded some level of protection.
Some rideshare insurance policies will offer liability protection, with or without coverage for things like collision damage, medical payments, and underinsured/uninsured motorists. You may also be able to get a portion of your TNC policy’s deductible covered if you’re in an accident, too. And with some insurance companies, you can also enjoy benefits such as rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance.
Just be sure to read the fine print, as each insurance company and each policy will vary.
Which Insurance Companies Cover Uber Drivers?
Initially, very few insurance companies were willing to provide coverage for folks who used their personal vehicles to drive for popular services like Uber and Lyft.
As time has gone on, though, big insurers have begun offering policies. Some of these are hybrid policies, meant to cover TNC drivers 24/7 whether they are on the clock or not. Others are supplemental coverage options (in addition to a typical personal policy), which will kick in only when your TNC app is open.
How Much Does Rideshare Insurance Cost?
If you’re on the market for rideshare insurance, don’t fret: it’s actually quite affordable! (Especially compared to the alternative: a commercial auto insurance policy.)
While there are many personal factors that go into calculating auto insurance premiums, rideshare coverage on average will add somewhere between 15 and 20 percent to your existing premiums. So if you’re paying $500 every six months for coverage now, you can expect rideshare insurance protection to add another $75 to $100 over the course of that same time period.
If purchasing a hybrid rideshare policy you’ll be blending your typical personal policy with rideshare coverage. You’ll see an increase in premiums, likely to be somewhere in that 10-20% range depending on personal variables.
Do I Need Rideshare Insurance?
If you’re driving for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, you need rideshare protection of some kind. This is in addition to whatever protection the TNC already offers to you as a driver.
Many personal auto insurance policies will deny you coverage if you are ridesharing, even if a claim occurs while you’re off the clock. To avoid this awful surprise, you’ll need to purchase a hybrid rideshare policy or add supplemental coverage.
You can expect this to add somewhere between 10-20% to your annual premiums, though that number may vary. This is significantly less than a commercial policy would cost, but provides a range of liability and collision protections.
Whether you are driving as a full-time gig or just want to make some extra money on the side, ridesharing is a popular option today. Be sure to shop around before you purchase insurance coverage, so you can protect you and your vehicle for the best price possible.
Editorial content on Gabi.com is not written by a licensed insurance agent. It is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice.