Uber Car Insurance
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Insurance for the Ride Sharing Services’ Drivers

Originally from WalletHub

Ride-hailing services like Uber have grown rapidly and signed up thousands of drivers. Insurance for these Ride Sharing Services’ Drivers is important. As a driver, make sure you have it and that you are your passengers are protected

Some important things to remember:

  • Vehicles are used for both personal and business use.
  • Companies do not consider the drivers to be their employees.
  • Vehicles are owned by the drivers, not the companies.

This leaves drivers in a gray area between personal car insurance policies that exclude coverage for business use of a vehicle, on the one hand, and (much more expensive) commercial insurance policies that assume the vehicle is used exclusively for business purposes on the other.

An additional complicating factor has been the ride-hailing companies’ initial reluctance to take responsibility for insurance liability. That said, the companies now do provide a certain level of insurance to their drivers, and insurance companies are creating insurance products to specifically serve this market.

Insurance Provided By Ride Hailing Companies

People who drive for Lyft, Sidecar and UberX use their own private vehicles, and when they are using their vehicles for personal use, the ride-hailing companies will take no responsibility for things that go wrong. So any accidents will be covered by the driver’s own policy if the car is being used for personal driving.

Once the driver turns on the smartphone app that’s used to communicate with riders, some level of insurance kicks in, but that coverage depends on what stage you are in the process of offering rides to customers. The table below details how insurance works with each of the major companies at each of the stages of the ride-hailing process.

Lyft Sidecar UberX
Not Logged In:
Personal Driving
No insurance provided. Driver only covered by personal insurance policy.
Logged In & Waiting For Ride Request Contingent liability coverage with 50/100/25 limits provides secondary coverage that pays only for losses not covered by driver’s personal policy Collision insurance with $50,000 limit and $500 deductible provides secondary coverage that pays only for losses not covered by driver’s personal policy

In California: Liability coverage with 50/100/30 limits

In Washington state: Liability coverage with 100/300/25 limits; Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage with 100/300 limits

In Chicago: Liability coverage with 25/50/20 limits; Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage with 25/50 limits

Contingent liability coverage with 50/100/25 limits provides secondary coverage that pays only for losses not covered by driver’s personal policy
En Route To Pick Up Passengers


Driving Passengers

Commercial liability insurance with $1 million limit

Uninsured/underinsured bodily injury with $1 million limit

Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage with $50,000 limit and $2,500 deductible (only for driver’s with personal comprehensive and collision coverage)

Commercial liability insurance with $1 million limit

Collision insurance with $50,000 limit and $500 deductible provides secondary coverage that pays only for losses not covered by driver’s personal policy

In Washington state: Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage with 100/300 limits

In Chicago: Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage with 25/50 limits

Commercial liability insurance with $1 million limit

Uninsured/underinsured bodily injury with $1 million limit

Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage with $1,000 deductible (only for driver’s with personal comprehensive and collision coverage)

Minimum level of personal injury protection coverage where required by law.

More Information For Drivers Terms of service

Summary of insurance

Terms of services

Summary of insurance

Terms and conditions

Summary of insurance

Source: Lyft, Sidecar and Uber websites as of June 2015

Note that Uber offers several other services including UberBlack and UberTaxi that work differently from the more popular UberX vehicles. Drivers for these services have commercial driver’s licenses and carry their own commercial insurance policies, which fully cover themselves and their passengers, and fulfill the livery insurance requirements of their state.

The Insurance Coverage You Should Buy

In order to drive for any ride-hailing company, you must purchase a car insurance policy. But what is the right kind of policy? There are three options:

  • Personal car insurance. The ride hailing companies insist that, given their supplementary coverage, a personal car insurance policy provides a sufficient level of coverage. Most car insurance companies – and some state and local regulators – disagree. Personal car insurance typically excludes coverage for any business use of your vehicle, and you risk having your insurance dropped or a claim denied if the insurer finds out you’re hiring out your car. Unfortunately the ride-hailing companies don’t provide any guidance on what types and levels of coverage to buy, other than to meet the state minimums. But make no mistake, if you drive for one of these companies you are taking on additional risk, both when driving for personal reasons and when logged in to the app and waiting for a fare.
  • Commercial car insurance. Traditionally, taxis and other vehicles being driven for business purposes have been covered by commercial insurance policies, and as rules and regulations for these new services get hashed out, some states and cities have ruled that ride-hailing drivers must purchase commercial insurance. So one way to play it safe is to purchase a commercial policy instead of a personal one. But this is impractical for most drivers, since it would mean first getting a commercial driver’s license, and, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, these policies tend to cost between $5,000 and $7,000 per year.
  • New policies tailored for ride-hailing drivers. Many insurance companies are carefully testing the waters with policies designed specifically for ride-hailing drivers. If you live in one of the 12 states in the table below, this type of insurance is available from at least one insurer.
    State Insurer Companies Served
    Arkansas Farmers All
    California Metromile Uber
    Colorado Farmers All
    USAA All
    MetLife Lyft
    Georgia GEICO All
    Illinois Erie All
    Metromile Uber
    Indiana Erie All
    Maryland GEICO All
    Pennsylvania Progressive Lyft
    Texas USAA All
    GEICO All
    Utah Farmers All
    Virginia GEICO All
    Washington Metromile Uber

Tips For Staying Safe And Providing A Secure Ride

  1. Budget for insurance costs. As you calculate what you think you’ll earn as a ride-hailing driver after expenses, make sure to factor in realistic costs for the insurance you must purchase.
  1. Look out for number one. Ride-hailing companies consider their drivers to be independent contractors. This is a clear signal that you need to understand your own risks and to take steps to protect yourself and your finances.
  1. Stay on top of the news. This is a rapidly changing market. Companies have improved their coverage to address the concerns of regulators. State laws are changing. And today’s trial offerings from insurance companies may become mainstream products in the near future.
  1. Read the fine print. If you have concerns about the insurance provided by the ride-hailing company you’re planning to join, read the terms and conditions carefully and contact the company with any questions you have.
  1. Get the most insurance you can afford. If you’re responsible for an accident that costs more than your insurance will cover, you’re still financially responsible for the full loss. If you don’t have enough insurance, you could be putting your home and your savings at risk.
  1. Seek advice from others. Local independent insurance agents the community of local drivers may know about affordable insurance options you should consider.
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Portable Benefits for the On-Demand Worker

The emergence of the gig economy has opened an important debate about having portable health and other benefits for the On-Demand Worker. There has been a number of calls for a new category for those who occupy the gray area between employees and independent contractors. Freelancers often work through a middle man or a marketplace (think Upwork.com or 99Designs) or an intermediary, typically an “app,” that customers use to identify themselves as needing a service—for example, a car ride, landscaping service, etc. This enables the employer to maintain some sort of arms-length distance from the worker. (We all know this is often broken, however). How can you work for someone without them giving you some sort of direction?

It’s increasing, but today it appears that at least about 600,000 or .4% of the US Workforce work with an online intermediator. The Hamilton Project at Brookings (I once interned there while I was a student across the street at Johns Hopkin’s University’s SAIS program across the street), recently hosted a gig economy event where Brookings made a proposal for  Modernizing Labor Laws in the Online Gig Economy. The talk focused on health and other benefits, and how to ‘force these new forms of work (from Uber, etc.) into a traditional employment relationship could be an existential threat to the emergence of online-intermediated work, with adverse consequences for workers, consumers, businesses, and the economy. “One of their One of the key benefits they proposed was portable benefits, which is a fascinating idea because (Independent contractors tend to have multiple gigs at one time). Their definition:

As we are defining it, the online gig economy involves the use of an Internet-based app to match customers to workers who perform discrete personal tasks, such as driving a passenger from point A to point B, or delivering a meal to a customer’s house. Note that this definition excludes intermediaries that facilitate the sale of goods and impersonal services to customers, such as TeacherPayTeachers.com, a Web site where teachers sell lesson plans and other non-personal services to other teachers, and Etsy.com, a Web site where individuals sell handmade or vintage goods. It also excludes Airbnb, a Web site where people can rent apartments, houses, and other accommodations.

The authors of the Hamilton Report highlight that ‘because it is conceptually impossible to attribute their (workers’s) work hours to any single intermediary.” Today, these independent workers do not qualify for hours-based benefits, including overtime or minimum wage requirements. These independent contractors rarely, if ever, qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. If intermediaries could pool independent workers, however, for purposes of purchasing and providing insurance and other benefits at lower cost and higher quality without the risk that their relationship will be transformed into an employment relationship, then they might be open to pooling their resources and having portable benefits for the contingent workforce.

The Ubers of the worls could then save on the costs if they have to eventually hire these workers full-time and on legal fees (although Uber has changed their driver terms of service agreement that bars drivers from participating in class action lawsuits against the company and instead requires them to enter into arbitration in the case of disputes).

As Steve King points out in his short analysis of this proposal, this new portable benefits law probably should include gig economy workers who work in the B2B sector, or sell goods, or rent real estate, but they do. But even though they are excluded from their analysis, they would likely be included in any portable benefit laws. Portable benefits seems to be a hot topic. Next week the Aspen Institute is holding a workshop on portable benefits.

Protection of the 1099 is important. I have heard of companies (the employer and the intermediary) using algorithmic scheduling to ensure their works never go beyond 29 hours of work a week, which ensures they don’t have to pay them health benefits or provide the other goodies full-time employees receive. It’s important to figure out how to address this barrier to benefits.  Ouch! Talk about Big Data hurting the worker!

Another reason to address this is that Brad Smith, the CEO of Intuit and one of the best leaders I have ever worked for, has indicated that his company’s data data shows that 40% of their self-employed customers also have income from a W2 job. (I know several people who wear these two hats). So this problem of multiple employers with different tax and benefit regimes started way before the Ubers, Lyfts, Instacarts came on the scene.

Portable Benefits basically means a person should be able to use the same benefits when they work for different on-demand companies. The Hamilton proposal is a start – it has accelerated the discussion about a new class of employees or at least the call for examining how workers are currently classified. Their proposal really doesn’t focus on online or offline, but instead stresses that workers should be protected and receive benefits. As the chart below indicates, this will continue to become an increasingly important issue to address in our On-Demand Society.

You can read The Hamilton Report here

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On-Demand Economy’s Companies Need to Provide Job Benefits

You’ve probably heard of Uber, Airbnb and Handy before. These are just a few companies in the on-demand economy that have grown rapidly over these past few years. As a result of the increased demand, more and more freelancers are taking on multiple ‘on-demand gigs’, even stringing together multiple gigs to replace a full-time salary. While these jobs provide flexibility, one of the main drawbacks is lack of benefits. On-demand workers aren’t protected like their salaried counterparts.

In the On-Demand Economy, the need to improve job benefits and workers’ protection for self-employed workers and independent contractors is now being noticed. Recently, the labor group National Domestic Workers Association (NDWA) announced the “Good Work Code”, a pledge to help freelancers and improve their jobs with more transparency, better wages, and increased support. Twelve companies have now signed it, including DoorDash, Care.com and LeadGenius.

While more and more companies are joining this pledge and those similar to it, the largest ones have yet to make an effort, including Uber, Lyft and Handy. Time will tell if the increased pressure from other groups and on-demand companies, as well as support from political powers, will change their minds.

The Good Work Code is seen as a step in the right direction for on-demand workers. It addresses many of freelancers’ concerns and challenges but at the same time, also fails to make actionable steps to fix them. Their goal is to get politicians and companies talking about to fix this larger problem and more importantly, how to change it.

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Growing the company
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Growing the One Man Show

Grow your business: 10-step checklist

If your a successful freelancer, you might want to consider hiring other contractors so you can grow your business. I did!. This requires, however, that you take a methodical approach to understanding running what works and what doesn’t. Now you’re ready to take a step back and be strategic about how – and when – to grow your business.

10 steps for business growth

Seeing an opportunity for business growth can be exciting. But turning your big idea into a practical reality will take careful research and planning – not to mention investment. Use this 10-step list as your reality check.

  • Review your funds
    If you want to grow your business, start by reviewing your cashflow. Work out how much money is coming in and going out. Use the information to plan the year ahead. Your plan should identify how much cash you need to invest in your company’s growth and what you will use it for – for example, hiring employees or buying equipment.
  • Review day-to-day processes
    Could you and your staff be more efficient in the way you do things? Do your business practices and policies get in the way sometimes? If yes, it might be time to review your day-to-day processes to identify what you can improve.
  • Prepare your team
    Having a team of committed and skilled employees is an essential part of any business, particularly one that plans on expansion. If you want to grow your business, first take a step back. Ask yourself:
    • Do I have the right team?
    • Do my people have the right skills?
    • Do they feel sufficiently rewarded?
    • What can I do to retain staff and help them feel more committed?
    • Have I planned for staff turnover?

Think about how you can prepare your team for change and company growth.

  • Know your market competition
    It’s important to get really clear about your place in the market. Take time to look at your market share. Do the same for your main competition. Who are your competitors today and who will they be tomorrow? Carry out a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to work out your direction.
  • Update the content on your website
    Before you attract a new audience to your website or blog, make sure the content on your site is up to date and works for your target audience.
  • Make sure that your website can easily be found online, using search engine optimisation [US: optimization]. Use the Google Keyword Planner tool to check you have the right keywords for Google search. For example, if you were selling women’s tennis shirts, you would include those words on your web pages.
  • Review your social media strategy – are you using the right networks and tools to increase engagement and  traffic to your site?
  • Ask your customers for feedback on your website. You could get them to check content, hyperlinks and the search tool.
    1. Set up new partnerships
      You can’t do everything alone. Think about whether you need to set up partnerships with other companies. Maybe it is time to invest in or buy another business. Selling online might work well if you sell offline. Setting up a franchise is another idea.
  • Bring in external experts
    It’s always good to get a fresh perspective from a trusted outsider. Ask an expert to review your business operations or your marketing strategy. Get someone skilled and knowledgeable who is comfortable giving honest, constructive feedback you can use to improve your business.
  • Prepare for an economic crisis
    No one likes to think about a downturn. But we all know they happen. Make sure you’re ready. Review your cashflow and identify the liquid assets you have. Set up an emergency fund (if you don’t have one) for when times are lean.
  • Review your products and services
    Make sure your products and services hit the mark by carrying out market research. Use the results to improve what you offer and to identify the language your customers use to talk about your products and services. Reuse their language in your company communications.
  • Update your communications plan
    A good communications plan will identify the key messages you want to get across to your customers. It will also identify how you want to communicate. Update your plan to ensure it covers the bases – from purchase confirmation emails for customers who’ve bought your product online through to invitations to exclusive events for VIP customers.

Research, plan, invest and grow

There’s no easy shortcut when it comes to growing your business. Instead it takes hard work and plenty of research, planning and investment. Use this checklist to grow your business and succeed.

Uber Protesters
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Game Changer: Uber Drivers will get their day in court

Drivers for Uber Technologies Inc. will get their day in court.

A California federal judge has set a trial date of June 20, 2016 for a class-action lawsuit that could help decide the employment status of Uber drivers, according to the lawyer representing the plaintiffs.

The case, O’Connor v. Uber, concerns the ride service’s classification of drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.

The plaintiffs say that, because Uber controls things like ride prices and performance standards, they should be considered employees and eligible for reimbursement of expenses such as gas and vehicle maintenance.

Judge Edward Chen already certified the case as a class action, rejecting Uber’s argument that drivers should take their claims to individual arbitration proceedings. Uber has appealed the class certification to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.