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Upscale user rated transportation and ride sharing is a hot and booming industry!  Companies like Uber are providing work as well as safe and reliable transportation services to more and more people every day.  Riders are rated as well as the drivers, cultivating quite a pleasant environment while breathing refreshing new life into the taxi industry.  Although what does this mean in relation to our auto insurance policies?

Imagine stepping into your car ready to start an afternoon driving with Uber.  You stop by your favorite café downtown, pick up a latte, and boot up your Uber application.  It doesn’t take long before you get your first passenger.  Perfect!  Only a few blocks away, as you’re cruising downtown enjoying your morning cup of joe, disaster strikes.  A sudden tug at the wheel sends your body lurching forward as your car comes to an abrupt halt.  You were just involved in an accident, and not one that could be easily passed as the other drivers fault.  No worries, it wasn’t that bad and your covered…… right?

A similar situation happened to a California man driving for Uber.  He was logged into his Uber application but did not have a passenger at the time.  He tragically struck three persons in a cross walk one of whom, a young girl, was killed.

Under normal circumstances something of this nature would be covered by a standard auto insurance policy. However, because the individual was logged into his Uber application and acting as a taxi driver, his policy specifically excluded coverage for the accident.  Without some kind of business auto policy he is left with only Uber’s coverage that they provide their drivers.  Unfortunately, Uber’s coverage is only in effect once a passenger enters the vehicle.  In this tragic situation both polices are denying the claim.

Coverage should never be assumed especially in situations as complex as this.  A commercial auto insurance policy should always be considered whenever a personal auto is used in business.  Talking to your Independent Insurance Agent will help to identify the risks you are exposed to and find the right coverage solution.