Uber Ride Sharing: Are you covered?

 

 

With Uber now active in Calgary, this is the big question a lot of people are asking.  Uber Ride Sharing: Are you covered?

 

First a little history…

 

Uber was founded in 2009.  They provide an app-based connection for ride sharing where the public can hire registered independent drivers who use their own vehicles.  According to their website, Uber drivers can earn anywhere between $20.00 – $35.00 per hour.  Uber makes their money by collecting a fee (ranging from 20% – 28%) on each fare.  All Uber drivers are required to complete a background check and must be over the age of 21. As well, Uber requires that all vehicles being used by their drivers are 2005 and newer and undergo a vehicle inspection.

 

Currently, Uber is operating throughout Ontario in the cities of Toronto, Kitchener, London, Hamilton, and Ottawa. They have just recently expanded into Alberta, operating in both Edmonton and Calgary.

 

With the recent move into Alberta, there has been a lot of debate as to whether or not Uber drivers are being properly insured.  Uber’s website states the following:

 

All drivers are required to carry valid personal auto insurance, which will be your primary coverage. Every ride on the uberX platform is backed by $5,000,000 of contingent coverage for bodily injury and property damage to third parties. This means that if, in the event of an accident, your own personal insurance is exhausted or does not apply for any reason, passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, and the community at large can rest assured knowing that ridesharing partners remain covered by a robust first-class policy.

 

However, according to Alberta’s Superintendent of Insurance, the insurance policy that Uber has in force is not sufficient to provide property liability and accident benefit coverage.  Drivers, passengers and third parties are at risk.  Uber Canada’s policy protects the corporation but is not intended to protect the drivers.  It does not fill the void that exists under the personal lines automobile policies of Uber drivers, as these personal lines policies exclude the carrying of paying passengers.

 

Uber drivers need to be aware that a change in the type of automobile policy they carry is required.  If they have not informed their own insurance company that they are using their vehicle to carry passengers for hire (which is considered commercial use), the Insurer may deny claims based on material misrepresentation.

 

Some Canadian Insurers are currently working to develop tailored insurance products to suit the needs to Uber drivers, but until such products are available on the market, there are some important things to consider before using or driving for Uber:

 

  • As a driver, how does this impact your insurance policy and coverage?
  • As a passenger, do you know if the car you are riding in is properly covered?
  • Taxi and limousine drivers are required to carry a Class 4 Drivers Licence in Alberta… what about Uber drivers?

 

For some more information on the Uber insurance debate, we suggest checking out the following articles:

 

The Star

Global News

 

If you have any questions regarding this article, or if you are considering registering as an Uber driver and would like to know how this will impact your insurance policy and coverage, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Thank you,

The Costen & Associates Team