Taken for a Ride: What to Know as a Ride-Sharing Passenger

In a recent post we addressed the changing picture of liability coverage for those working as drivers for ride-sharing service like Uber and Lyft (if you missed it, read it here).  But what are the risks to passengers of these wildly popular services?

The first thing to understand is that in many cases individual states and their legislators are still struggling to catch up with the ride-sharing boom. The Ubers and Lyfts of the world remain far less regulated than traditional taxi and sedan services, and that often extends to insurance requirements for their drivers.

When you slide into the backseat of your ride-sharing driver’s vehicle, you automatically agree to a number of terms and conditions. Chances are you checked the box on the app to indicate your agreement without reading them too carefully, but know this: if the driver gets into an accident and you’re injured, there’s no guarantee that his or her insurance, or the ride-sharing service, will pay. Contrast that with a traditional taxi company, which must have adequate liability coverage in order to carry a license.

There are risks to ride-sharing passengers beyond insurance coverage, also. Here are a few tips to protect yourself:

  • Share the details of your trip with a friend or family member. Some services allow you to do this from within the app.
  • Before you get in the car, double-check the make, model and tag of the vehicle, as well as the driver’s photo, against what your app promised. Don’t get in if all the information doesn’t match.
  • Don’t share any personal information that’s not needed to complete your ride. Ride-sharing apps will typically anonymize your phone number … there’s no reason to give it to the driver.
  • Buckle up. If the car doesn’t have functional seat belts or otherwise appears to be unsafe, tell the driver to pull over and cancel the trip.
  • Report any unsafe driving via the app.

The popularity of ride-sharing services would indicate that they’re here to stay, and legislation and insurance requirements will eventually catch up with the trend. For now, be aware of the risks and be a smart passenger.

Questions about coverage for ride sharing or other automotive insurance issues? Contact Consolidated Insurance.