Uber and Lyft drivers might seem well-insured, between the ride-booking companies' coverage and their own policies. However, a crucial gap leaves drivers at risk if they have an accident at the wrong time.
Once a driver accepts a fare or has passengers in the car, each company's insurance policy is pretty generous. But while a driver is waiting for a ride request, coverage is slim. It includes only basic liability coverages, which pay other people if you're at fault in a crash.
If you cause an accident before accepting a request, you'll be on the hook for your medical bills and any damage to your car. You'll also have to pay for injuries and property damage beyond these liability limits:
— $50,000 bodily injury per person
— $100,000 bodily injury per accident
— $25,000 in property damage per accident
You can rely on your personal auto policy during that time, right? Not so fast.
When you use your car for "livery" — carrying passengers or goods for a fare — it's not covered by a traditional policy.
So if you file a claim with your insurer for an accident that occurs while you're waiting for a new fare, it will probably get denied. (Uber and Lyft expect drivers to file claims for these accidents with their personal insurers first.)
What's more, your insurer could cancel or refuse to renew your policy if it finds out about undisclosed driving for ride-booking companies, no matter when an accident happens.
Many insurers now offer what they call ride-share auto policies , which extend your personal policy to cover ride-booking and guarantee you won't lose coverage because of your job.
Sound like too much insurance? It's not a separate policy — just an add-on some companies offer — often for under $20 per month. There is an option in most states.
This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Lacie Glover is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @laciewrites.
NerdWallet: Rideshare insurance for drivers: where to buy, what it covers