With the increased popularity of car services like Uber and Lyft, auto insurance needs have changed. Drivers who are using their personal vehicles to transport passengers as an Uber or Lyft driver need to carry specific coverages that insure them for losses sustained during the time they are signed into a ride sharing app. And if you are hit by a vehicle that is engaged in ridesharing services at the time of the accident, or are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, there may or may not be coverage through Uber or Lyft itself. Either way, it’s in your best interest to retain a skilled South Carolina personal injury attorney who can help ensure your rights are protected against an at-fault driver.
Who Needs to Carry Rideshare Insurance?
Personal auto policies typically don’t cover expenses that arise from accidents where a driver was working for Uber or Lyft. A personal insurance carrier may even cancel your policy for what they deem “commercial use” if you are engaging in ridesharing services.
Some rideshare companies might provide some coverage, but it may only apply once a ride request is accepted. If the person has the app on and is waiting to receive a ride request, the ridesharing company may deny or reduce coverage. Therefore, drivers need to ensure their own policies pick up the difference.
Coverages Through Ridesharing Companies
Coverages through Uber and Lyft vary based on whether the driver has accepted a ride request. According to NerdWallet, coverages are:
- With passengers, or after accepting ride request: $1 million liability per incident, $1 million uninsured/underinsured motorist per incident;
- Limits without passengers and before accepting ride request: $50,000 per person, $100,000 per incident, $25,000 for property damage; and
- Comprehensive/Collision: $50,000 only applies with passengers.
Personal Coverage for Ridesharing
Even as recently as 2017, not all carriers offer ridesharing coverage on personal policies. Personal policies almost always have exclusions that say drivers aren’t covered if they are “carrying persons for a charge,” which would include picking up a fare via Uber or Lyft.
In South Carolina, state law mandates that companies like Uber and Lyft provide coverage when the drivers have their apps turned on, but it’s the period when the app is turned off that raises questions. If a driver runs into a gap in coverage, it’s even more important that he or she have enhanced personal policy coverage.
Not all major carriers offer rideshare coverage in South Carolina, but two options are GEICO and State Farm. With GEICO, for example, their ridesharing policy replaces the driver’s personal auto policy, providing coverage for personal, ridesharing, and other on-demand services whether or not the rideshare app is turned on, whether there are passengers in the vehicle, or whether you’re working for multiple ridesharing companies.
Retaining a South Carolina Attorney
If you’ve been struck by an Uber or Lyft driver, or you were the injured passenger in a ride-sharing vehicle that was struck by another vehicle, you need a qualified South Carolina personal injury attorney to help you navigate the complicated claims process. In the event you were an Uber or Lyft driver whose company denied coverage, despite having the ridesharing app on, you may have a bad faith claim against your carrier. Contact Elrod Pope Law Firm and speak with one of our accident attorneys to ensure you protect your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.