Consider this situation:
Someone pulls up an app on their phone, types in the address of where they need to go, and orders your car. You turn around and drive to pick them up.
While you’re driving, you look over to your phone to make sure you’re still heading in the right direction. While you’re looking the other way, you total your car.
The police get there, they take down all of your info, including the fact that you were driving for a company called “Uber.” You submit your claim to your auto insurance company and go about your life.
A few days later, your insurance company calls you. Unfortunately, your claim has been denied because you were performing a business activity. You’re now on the hook not only for your own car repairs, but the other driver’s, too. Oh, and by the way: your car insurance policy has been canceled.
You contact Uber to see if their insurance policy is going to cover the damages. Nope, says the woman on the other end of the phone. Since you didn’t have a passenger in the car, they’re not liable. The comprehensive and collision deductibles may be dramatically higher while you’re taxiing someone-as high as $2500.
In addition, there is $0 coverage for your car, while you’re driving someone AND your car is damaged by an uninsured driver (even with the rideshare supplemental coverage).
Uber, while it comes with benefits as a user, is not the best for the drivers.
You’ve probably heard of Uber, the app that lets you hail a taxi from your smartphone. You may also have heard of its competitors Lyft and Sidecar. While Uber has a number of commercially licensed black car services, it also has a product it calls UberX. Just like Lyft and Sidecar, UberX lets you hail a car driven by… some dude?
That’s right: unlike traditional taxi medallion companies or a black car service, almost anyone can drive for UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar. All you need is a car and a smartphone app.
This is controversial for a number of reasons, ranging from worker’s rights to safety issues. Writer David Fagin went undercover as an Uber driver for Huffington Post. He didn’t have any trouble: “[Uber will] pretty much take anyone, as is demonstrated by the downloadable video test you have to pass, which is about as hard to master as tying your shoes. From there, as far as I can tell there’s no license check; you simply get your vehicle’s paperwork and head to a nearby Holiday Inn.”
Here are three huge reasons that we suggest you don’t drive for Uber (or any other ride-sharing company).
#1 The potential to lose your policy.
Despite the Lyft website describing their drivers as “your friend with a car,” auto insurance companies see them as commercial drivers. If you have a personal car insurance policy (PCI) insurers typically won’t cover an accident that occurs while you’re conducting a commercial activity. Some drivers have reported being able to file a claim with the insurance company fully aware of their status as a ride-sharing driver, but KQED speculates insurance companies have been more cautious about rid-sharing drivers. The auto insurance companies have been clear: Personal car insurance policies don’t cover any “vehicles used for transporting passengers for a charge.
#2 Uber doesn’t screen its drivers adequately.
A driver in San Francisco that attacked a passenger physically and verbally was later found to have passed Uber’s “zero-tolerance” background check with flying colors,despite a colorful criminal history. Another in Los Angeles bragged to NBC that she had a “three-page rap sheet.” A test of drivers in Chicago revealed that many of them had almost zero knowledge of the city, which at the very least, is a disservice to passengers.
#3 When things go bad, Uber plays that always-annoying “what, who, us?” game.
There have been too many instances of this, but one really sticks out: A young girl crossing the street with her mother in San Francisco back in December was killed by a motorist who told cops he was working for Uber. Uber immediately released a statement saying he was not working for Uber, then released another statement clarifying that he was indeed logged on to the Uber app but not doing business for Uber at the time — in other words, he was between passengers, which, according to Uber, meant they bore no responsibility. After all, you see, Uber isn’t a transportation company, as they’ll delight in telling you. They’re a technology company. Drivers download the app and passengers hope for the best. If anything goes wrong? Uber has a bad habit of washing their hands. A wrongful-death lawsuit has been filed against the company.