Some good news for Uber drivers (and passengers): Uber is offering drivers personal injury insurance in eight different states, as well as the United Kingdom. A new pilot program that launched in May 2017 means drivers now have more protection if injured while on the job.
Because Uber’s drivers are 1099 independent contractors–and not full-time or part-time employees who receive benefits–this is an important change. Independent contractors typically don’t receive worker’s compensation or disability insurance.
In the United States, drivers will be charged 3.75 cents per mile for Uber’s personal injury insurance. This charge will be passed on to passengers, who will now be charged an extra 5 cents for each mile they travel.
Uber Personal Injury Insurance: The Basics
Uber’s initial pilot plan for personal injury insurance is available to drivers in Illinois, Massachusetts, South Carolina, West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
PennLive.com’s Christian Alexandersen says Uber is partnering with One Beacon and Aon to offer the insurance package. The rideshare service’s personal injury insurance includes both coverage for medical expenses and loss of income as a result of a work-related incident.
The insurance has no deductible or copay for medical expenses. In addition, it offers disability income replacement and survivor benefits. Maximum payout for a single collision is approximately $1 million.
A similar program for Uber drivers in the United Kingdom launched in April 2017. Working in partnership with the Association of Independent Professionals & the Self-Employed (IPSE), Uber offers personal injury and illness coverage to their 40,000 British drivers.
Uber Personal Injury Insurance: How It Works
Gus Fuldner, Uber’s head of safety and insurance, told PennLive that “We believe drivers should have a low-cost option for protecting themselves and their families from rare and unpredictable accidents that prevent them from working. That’s why we’re partnering with One Beacon to make this product and pilot it, to allow drivers to access peace of mind for a few cents a mile directly from the app.”
Drivers sign up for personal injury insurance directly through Uber’s driver app. If you live in one of the eight states participating in the pilot plan, Uber offers instructions on how to sign up for insurance through the app.
There’s one big thing to take into account, though. Participation in Uber’s personal injury insurance pilot is optional. If you’re an Uber driver, you have a choice between personal injury insurance or making an extra 5 cents per each mile you drive.
Uber Personal Injury Insurance: How Drivers And Passengers Are Insured
Insurance coverage for Uber drivers and passengers depends on what type of ride a passenger hails (For instance, a regular Uber ride vs. a ride in UberX) and what country they’re in.
According to an Uber informational post updated in 2016, Uber’s insurance policies cover $1 million of liability coverage per incident, $1 million of uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage per incident, contingent comprehensive and collision insurance, no fault coverage in certain states, and between-trip coverage that varies between $25,000-$100,000.
Insurance coverage also varies depending on whether a driver is driving around without having accepted a fare, if they are on their way to pick up a fare, or they have begun a trip and a driver has entered the car.
The personal injury insurance announced in May 2017 is a supplement to this.
If Uber drivers have any questions about the specifics of their insurance coverage, they should contact Uber directly.
Uber Personal Injury Insurance: Independent Contractors & Insurance
If you drive for Uber, you’re an independent contractor. Independent contractors have more flexibility than traditional employees–they get to choose their own work hours, for instance–but they also receive far less protection.
Employers of part-time and full-time employees have to offer benefits by law (though the benefits vary depending on what state you live in), while they don’t have to offer independent contractors benefits.
Even if riding for Lyft or Uber is your only job, legally speaking, you’re an independent businessperson using Uber or Lyft’s platform to make money taking passengers from Point A to Point B in your own car… and you’re not, technically speaking, an Uber or Lyft employee.
Uber Personal Injury Insurance: Other Resources
PennLive: Uber raises rates in 8 states, including Pa., to fund injury protection insurance for drivers (Christian Alexandersen)
Amazon: Rideshare Driver Tax Guide: Maximize Your Earnings as an Uber or Lyft Driver (Joseph Starzyk)
(Image via Uber)