Uber Rideshare drivers are covered by Uber insurance. While the app is turned off, you are covered by your personal insurance. While the app is on, however, and you are waiting for a client, you are covered by neither.
In some cases, personal auto insurance policies are being cancelled. This happens when the insurance companies become aware that the driver works for Uber or Lyft. Therefore they are left with no personal auto coverage.
A person pulls up an app on their phone, types in the position where they are and need to be taken and orders your car. You drive to fetch them.
While you are driving you look at your phone to ensure that you are driving in the right direction. You hit a car whilst your attention is on your phone. It is not a big accident however bad enough that the other driver calls the police. You have to cancel your pick-up.
The police arrive. You were driving for Uber. The police record your details. You submit your claim.
Your insurance company calls you. You drive in “rideshare”. As a result, your claim is denied. You are responsible for your own car repairs. Furthermore, you must pay for the damage caused to the other driver’s car. Fortunately, nobody was injured.
The car insurance company then cancels your policy.
You contact Uber to find out if their insurance policy is going to cover the damage. Unfortunately not, says the receiver of your call. They state that as you did not have a passenger in the car, they are not liable for damages.
Lyft, Uber and Sidecar would prefer that you think of them as technology companies. Uber wrote in a legal finding with the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission):-
“Uber operates no vehicles and does not hold itself out or advertise itself as a transportation service provider. In fact and law, Uber does not provide transportation services of any kind and does not own, lease or charter any vehicles for the transportation of passengers. On the contrary, Uber is a technology company that licenses the Uber App to transportation service providers. The transportation service providers pay a fee to Uber to use its software technology; the passenger of the transportation service provider pays the transportation service provider for transportation received.”