How Does Uber’s Driver Insurance Work, Exactly?

colby

Guys, meet Colby. Colby is an Uber driver in southern California. Or, at least, he was until his car was struck by an uninsured motorist who fled the scene. Now, Colby is unemployed, and says that Uber is going back on its word and denying him coverage through their insurance, claiming they do not offer uninsured motorist insurance. At the same time, he’s been dropped by his own insurance, leaving him on the hook for more than $6,000 in damage to his car, plus medical bills associated with the accident.

“I am not sure if this is something that your readers would be interested in,” read Colby’s email. “But everything about the whole situation feels wrong.”

I agreed with Colby (his real name, by the way). Reading his summary, something about this situation did, indeed, seem very wrong.

I asked Colby to send over an email explaining the situation he found himself in with Uber in more detail. For the most part, I’ve included all of it, below (with minor edits, here and there, for grammar and relevance). As you read it, definitely apply some critical thinking to what’s being said — as well as to my comments, which will be interspersed throughout Colby’s accounting of the matter — and let us know what you think at the end.

I am not sure if this is something that your readers would be interested in, but everything about the whole situation feels wrong.

So, with Uber, when I signed up, I had to submit insurance to them in order to be approved as a driver. The process to sign up took a few days, and I had to submit to a background check, have my vehicle inspected, take some training, and then submit my insurance documents to them (Uber) for approval. Not once during this process did anyone inform me that I would need a different insurance policy … being approved (by Uber), I assumed I would have no issues with my insurance.

I was struck by an uninsured, drunk driver who was (later) arrested. I had uninsured motorist coverage for medical and my vehicle. But, because I was driving for Uber at the time of my accident, my policy was considered void and I have been dropped by my insurance company.

I explained my situation to Uber, and their insurance company says that they do not offer uninsured motorist coverage, saying that their insurance is based on mirroring (the Uber driver’s) own personal insurance to cover us when we are on the clock with them. But, their deductible is higher than most insurance offers and they only offer a very limited amount.

I wanted to pause for a second here and point out a slight inconsistency in Colby’s story. He begins by saying that he had uninsured motorist coverage, then he writes that Uber doesn’t offer such coverage, but mirrors the drivers’ coverage. If Uber “mirrored” Colby’s coverage, and Colby had an uninsured motorist policy, that uninsured motorist coverage should have been “mirrored,” no?






I feel like we’re missing a few details here, sure. At this point, it should be obvious that Colby isn’t an insurance expert, but I doubt many other members of Uber’s enthusiastic amateur and celebrity driver fleet are insurance experts, either. As such, I think Colby’s inconsistency on these points actually helps support the core of his argument: Uber’s insurance policy is misleading.

My car sustained about $6000 in damage … and I hit my head on my steering wheel during the accident. Immediately afterwards, I was assaulted by a passenger who was riding in the car that hit me. Even though I notified police and paramedics (and, later, Uber), no one provided any medical evaluation or treatment for me or any of my passengers. I took it upon myself (to get us) to an immediate care center, where I was diagnosed with a concussion and multiple contusions.

I’m not sure what Uber was supposed to do for Colby, under the circumstances. Still, it’s worth noting that a concussion can be a serious, if not life-threatening injury. Colby’s insistence on this point — that police and paramedics refused to examine him — could be a major issue later, if Colby ever decides to pursue a court case against Uber and the first responders. For the moment, though, Colby isn’t talking about suing people.

I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. People drive Uber because they are in need of money, sometimes relying on this job as their only means of income, like I was. Without their car, they are out of work. I am sure a majority of Uber drivers out there are unaware that they don’t have the proper insurance, and Uber will do what they can to avoid responsibility.

 

What is Uber Promising People?


I hate to sound cynical here, but OBVIOUSLY both Uber and your insurance company will try to avoid culpability in almost every case. That’s their job. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who expect that a company they helped to build — like Uber! — will be there to help them when stuff goes wrong. After all, Uber promises a lot …

uber_main_2

… and the job of being an Uber driver is presented as being a really awesome, fun, and flexible thing. “As an independent contractor with Uber,” reads the site’s copy, “you’ve got freedom and flexibility to drive whenever you have time. Set your own schedule, so you can be there for all of life’s most important moments.”

Important moments like the ones Colby spent in urgent care getting diagnosed with a concussion that, if left untreated, could have become much more serious? The Uber site isn’t clear on specifics.

By now, you’ve read Colby’s side of things. I’m hoping that this article will be able to reach Uber representatives that I couldn’t on my own, and I invite them to share their side of things in the comments section, below. If they decide to email me, privately, though, I’ll definitely share their correspondence on this site.

Until then, let us know what you think of this Uber insurance mess (See what I did, there?) in the comments. Just one thing, though, if you’re not an attorney or insurance claims adjuster, try to keep it civil. Lawyers are invited to be openly hostile.

Original content from Gas2.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.