Uber is gaining more and more popularity nowadays, and has become a staple for transportation. However, until recently, it was largely unregulated in Ontario with respect to insurance coverage. In Ontario, the standard insurance policy coverage does not include taxis or drivers with paid passengers, and if someone were to be working as an Uber driver on his/her regular car insurance policy, it would be void.
In July 2016, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario approved an automobile insurance policy with Intact Insurance covering Uber drivers, riders, and vehicle owners. This policy will provide accident benefits and third party insurance coverage. When the Uber application is turned on, Uber drivers and owners will automatically have insurance coverage limited to 1 million dollars until the Uber driver accepts the trip. Then the coverage increases to 2 million dollars from when the trip is accepted until the passenger leaves the vehicle, upon which the coverage returns to 1 million dollars. However, Uber drivers must notify their personal car insurance provider of their status with Uber because when the application is turned off, they will not be covered under the Intact policy.
Insurance companies are not required to insure Uber drivers, so there is also a potential of increased rates, cancellations, or not renewing the driver’s policy. Uber drivers who do not notify their personal insurance of their driving status with Uber risk the chance of having their insurance voided if an accident were to take place or their insurer finds out. Passengers in the vehicle and pedestrians will also have coverage through the Intact Policy, though it will be limited to standard protection that may also need to be shared among passengers. Also, if the Uber driver was only using his/her personal insurance and the vehicle gets into an accident, the accident victims will only have access to the minimum insurance limits, which may have to be shared.
The Bottom Line:
The overall message is that Uber drivers should disclose to their insurance companies that they are using their vehicle for the company in order to avoid running the risk of their insurance policy being void in the case of an accident. The public can protect themselves by purchasing underinsurance coverage from their own insurers, which allows you to claim insurance benefits under your own policy if you are injured by a third party with insufficient coverage or no insurance coverage. Optional accident benefits can also be purchased, especially with Ontario’s recent cuts in standard accident benefits.
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