Uber is technically a "ride sharing service," and not a taxi cab company. People pick you up in their own personal vehicles, and overall it’s not that different from asking a group of friends "Hey if you know anybody who’s going to be driving to the grocery store tonight, I need a ride." So how are Uber drivers covered when it comes to insurance? Do they provide it for themselves? And if so, does a standard auto policy cover it, or do they need to seek out some kind of commercial policy?
An important point regarding Uber drivers, and indeed many taxi drivers, is that they are not actually employees of the company, rather, they work as private contractors. One way of putting it is that they work with Uber in a limited partnership capacity. Uber brings the driver their customers, and in exchange, the driver splits the revenue with the company.
Put simply, if a driver has a policy from, say, Keltner Insurance, then that typically covers their own vehicle, while Uber’s commercial policy covers other aspects of the business. Oftentimes, a personal policy will cover an Uber driver’s interests, but you can’t take this for granted, as many policies have exclusions related to driving for hire. If you’re thinking of driving for Uber or Lyft, you’ll want to talk to your provider about it, first.
Uber carries a commercial policy that covers up to $1 million in excess liability per incident, but this is intended to supplement, not replace, the driver’s personal policy. In any event, if you’re thinking of driving for Uber or Lyft, make sure to talk it over with your provider before picking up your first fare.