While UBER is a brilliant business model, there is a major insurance glitch, which is most personal automobile policies specifically exclude the use of the personal automobile for commercial purposes: (i.e. “operating a public or livery conveyance”). Therefore, TNC ridesharing Drivers are not covered by their own personal automobile policies while driving for hire. Therefore, if an UBER Driver is involved in an automobile accident while logged into the UBER computer, the UBER Driver will have no coverage under the UBER Driver’s personal automobile policy.
In 2015 Indiana lawmakers addressed this gap in insurance coverage problem by passing a law governing TNCs, such as UBER and LYFT. Key elements of the law include the following:
AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANIES
Insurance companies issuing private passenger automobile policies in the State of Indiana may still exclude coverage if a Transportation Network Driver uses their personal motor vehicle in connection with a TNC. This coverage exclusion would be for ALL policy coverages (Coverage A Liability; Coverage B Medical Payments; Coverage C Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist; and Coverage D Damage to your Car, plus Supplementary Payments coverage). In other words, there would be absolutely no coverage for an accident involving operations for a TNC.
TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANIES
Transportation Network Companies, such as UBER and LYFT, MUST DO ALL of the following:
- Obtain an annual permit from the State of Indiana. The annual fee is $5000.
- Maintain primary liability coverage for its TNC Customers of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence (per accident).
- Obtain important Driver information, to include:
- Name, address, age, gender, and a digital photo of the Driver. The Driver’s photo must be transmitted to the passenger, prior to the pickup, on the Passenger’s cell phone app.
- Minimum Driver age is age 19.
- Driver’s license, registration and license plate number.
- Conduct a criminal background check and a driving record check on all Drivers and Driver Applicants.
- Notify ALL their TNC Drivers that the Drivers’ individual private passenger automobile insurance policies may exclude coverage (may NOT cover them) while the Driver is logged into the TNC Driver’s network. Therefore, in order for TNC Drivers to be covered while they are logged into the TNC network, the Drivers must upgrade their automobile coverages, at additional premium expense, to include coverage for driving for a TNC company. The minimum amount of liability insurance (Coverage A) is 50/100/25. The TNC Company itself may offer to provide this additional coverage.
- Note: When a Driver is logged into the TNC network, but does not have a fare/customer in their automobile, the minimum limit of Liability coverage is 50/100/25. But when there is a fare paying passenger/customer in the automobile, the minimum limits of liability are $1,000,000.
- Establish fare guidelines.
- TNC Drivers may not accept cash.
- Adopt nondiscrimination and handicapped accessibility policies.
- Adopt a Driver Zero Tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use.
- Maintain individual trip records for at least one year.
The above law became effective July 1, 2015.