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Understanding ride-sharing insurance coverage

When car accidents happen in San Antonio, those involved in them are often left to deal with issues that go beyond recovering from injuries and repairing their vehicles. One such issue (that happens to be directly related to the two that were previously stated) is dealing with insurance providers. Given that Texas is currently not a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance, accident victims can typically rely on the liability insurance of the at-fault drivers to cover a portion of their expenses. Yet what happens when accidents occur involving Uber or Lyft drivers? 

Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are becoming much more popular, with The Pew Research Center reporting that as many as 15 percent of Americans utilize such resources. Thus, the potential for encountering a ride-sharing driver on the road may be high. Ride-sharing services typically classify their drivers as independent contractors, yet they do still offer some auto insurance coverage. When determining the extent of such coverage, these services examine the three potential periods of time a driver is working: 

  • Period 1: The driver has the app on awaiting a passenger request. 
  • Period 2: The driver is responding to a passenger request. 
  • Period 3: The driver is transporting a passenger. 

Up until recently, ride-sharing services only offered insurance coverage in Period 3 scenarios. However, according to Forbes Magazine, new laws enacted in 2016 required companies like Uber and Lyft to offer coverage to drivers during all periods. Yet that protection may be limited. If an accident occurs during Period 1, the ride-sharing service is only required to provide liability coverage. That coverage must extend to include uninsured motorist and collision for accidents occurring during Periods 2 and 3. 

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