It’s been a long day and that La-Z-Boy is calling your name. One more fare, you tell yourself. The app pings and you connect with a pax. The pick-up address is familiar, a restaurant a few minutes away.
Just then, the sound of screeching tires rings. You look to the right and BAM! A black SUV slams into your passenger-side door. Your body is thrown to the left and your head strikes the window. As your vision returns, you see the vehicle reverse, peel out and take off.
This is not happening, you say out loud, as your focus shifts from the pain to the thoughts of medical bills and car repairs. Who’s going to pay, you think.
This is where uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorists insurance comes into play. UM/UIM is designed to provide coverage for bodily injuries when an at-fault driver is uninsured, leaves the scene or has minimal coverage.
Uber and Lyft provide up to $1,000,000 in UM/UIM coverage for partners when en route to and/or transporting passengers. You should make sure that your personal policy includes UM/UIM provisions for off-the-clock and period one driving.
So, how does it work?
If the at-fault driver has no insurance or leaves the scene, open your injury claim directly with Uber/Lyft. The rideshare company will investigate the claim and assess the damages. The UM/UIM policy should cover your medical bills and damages (pain and suffering, disability and wage loss, when applicable).
If the other driver has inadequate coverage, Uber and Lyft will cover damages that the at-fault insurance company does not. For instance, if the at-fault driver has a $25,000 policy and you have $75,000 in medical bills, Uber and Lyft’s UM/UIM coverage will cover the difference.
Note, the at-fault driver’s insurance is always “primary,” meaning it will pay first. UM/UIM only applies after the at-fault insurance pays its entire policy limits. That makes sense, right? If you accept less than the policy limits, there is a presumption that the primary insurance was “adequate.”
You should report all accidents to Uber/Lyft immediately to protect your rights under their UM/UIM provisions. Likewise, don’t settle an injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company without Uber/Lyft’s permission. They are a part of the process and must be kept up to speed.
Now, what about the damage to your car? The rideshare companies provide contingent/secondary coverage up to $50,000. That means Uber and Lyft will cover the costs of property damage if the at-fault driver and your personal insurance deny the claim. This is true regardless of the driving period. Again, report the claim to Uber/Lyft to protect your rights to coverage.
As discussed in A Crash Course On Rideshare Accidents, you probably don’t need an attorney to handle a property damage claim. Injury claims, including UM/UIM, are a different story. They are complex, technical and laden with traps. Expert legal advice is suggested.
Remember, guys, accidents happen. It’s up to you to act like the pro.