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Thinking about driving for Uber? Consider car insurance

Uber can be a great way to supplement one’s income or to create a full-time job for yourself where you work according to your own schedule. As the industry continues to evolve, it’s easy to overlook or take for granted questions that have serious implications. For instance, what if you’re in an accident while driving for a ridesharing company? Is your passenger covered under the Uber car insurance plan, or do you require a separate policy altogether?

Am I Covered by the Uber’s Auto Insurance Policy?

The first thing to know is that, while most ridesharing companies offer insurance, all drivers are required to have their own personal auto insurance policy by law. It’s essential to ensure your personal policy is paid and up-to-date before starting as a driver. It’s always a good idea to compare car insurance quotes before signing with a provider to ensure you’re getting the best price and have the correct coverage.

For instance, what would happen if you suddenly discovered your personal policy doesn’t provide the protection you thought it did? If you’re in an accident while driving for a ridesharing company, and their insurance doesn’t cover the full damages, then it will fall on your personal policy to cover the additional amount.

While you may believe your personal policy or Uber’s provides you with the coverage you require, you don’t want to find yourself caught by a nasty surprise. In Ontario, the legal minimum third-party liability is $200,000, and in Quebec, it’s $50,000. In Ontario, Uber’s third-party liability is $2 million while transporting a passenger. If you’re in an accident while driving for Uber and the claimant wants $3 million, do the math. Will you have enough coverage?

Make sure you have the appropriate policy in place before starting as a rideshare driver. But be warned: some insurance providers do not cover ridesharing at all, so if you were found to be offering the service under one such policy, you risk voiding your insurance altogether.

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How Uber’s Car Insurance Policy Works

It’s important to understand what your province’s rules are when it comes to driving for a ridesharing service. In Ontario, under Uber’s policy, drivers, passengers, and vehicle owners are insured from the moment they turn the app on until the moment the passenger steps out of their car. Once the driver turns the Uber app off, they will once again be covered by their own policy. Uber also provides this insurance for drivers in Quebec and Alberta, with plans on implementing a similar policy in British Columbia.

Uber’s policy covers $1 million Third Party Liability, Standard Accident Benefits, and $1000 deductible for Comprehensive and Collision. Once the driver picks up a passenger and is transporting them, the third-party liability is increased to $2 million in Ontario and Alberta but remains at $1 million in Quebec.

What Companies Provide Uber Insurance?

Ridesharing insurance is a relatively new phenomenon, having first appeared in 2016. Uber’s own policy is with Intact Insurance. Here are companies that provide personal insurance for Uber, and some of the benefits and limitations they have.

  • Intact Insurance: Intact is the first insurer to offer extensive coverage for drivers and passengers in Ontario. For Intact customers, there is no additional cost to work as an Uber driver. It’s important to note that this insurance does not apply to Uber Eats or other Uber services.
  • Aviva Insurance: Aviva offers ridesharing insurance for individuals who work as part-time drivers and use their own vehicles. To qualify, you can only work for a maximum of 20 hours a week, you must work for a transportation network company like Uber, and you must have a G2 drivers license or higher and 6 years of driving experience. Furthermore, your vehicle can only carry a maximum of 8 people including the driver, it cannot be used for commercial services like food delivery, and you cannot be registered as a taxi or limousine.
  • Belairdirect: Similar to Intact, coverage for ridesharing is included in Belairdirect’s policy for no extra cost under in their personal lines product. Presently, this coverage is only available in Ontario.


Beware Of Rideshare Insurance Traps!

As with any financial decision, you should familiarize yourself with potential hazards of starting work for a ridesharing company:

  • Insurance companies are not required to permit vehicles for ridesharing under personal insurance policies. You need to ask if your provider offers ridesharing coverage.
  • It’s possible that another insurance provider could try to sell you a policy you do not require if your own policy already provides coverage.
  • An insurance company could try to cancel your policy prematurely or not renew it if you participate in a ridesharing program without informing them, or if they don’t offer coverage for ridesharing.


The Differences Between Your Car Insurance Policy And Uber’s

Before signing up as an Uber driver, you should familiarize yourself with both your own personal policy as well as Uber’s. Comparing auto insurance quotes before starting as a driver is always a good idea, as there may be additional costs associated with working for a ridesharing company.

For example, your insurance company may regard your driving for the company as a business activity, and therefore increase your premium as they consider you a commercial driver. If you own the vehicle you will be using for ridesharing, you need to contact your personal insurance company. By engaging as a driver, you will be changing the terms of your original policy. This could make your original policy void if you don’t inform them, and therefore costlier to you as a driver.

In Ontario and Quebec, Uber offers Contingent Collision and Comprehensive coverage as part of its policy but only if the owner has collision and comprehensive under their own policy. Note that the minimum policy in these provinces does not require collision or comprehensive, so be sure to check your policy if it’s included.

What if you’re in an accident and you need a rental car to continue to work while your vehicle is being repaired? Or what if a passenger damages your vehicle during a trip? In Ontario, Uber provides Direct Compensation – Property Damage Coverage. This coverage pays for vehicle repairs and related expenses, assuming the driver is not responsible for the damage. However, Uber in Quebec and Alberta do not include this coverage in their policy at this time, so any repairs and related costs would need to be covered by the driver’s personal policy.

While ridesharing services are continually growing in popularity, especially as a way to make extra money, it’s important to know and understand your risks as well as your passengers and your vehicle. You need to be diligent in your research to find the best policy for both your budget and driving needs.

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash