According to an exclusive report from Reuters, the nation’s largest rides haring company, Uber, is updating insurance coverage for all of its Texas workforce. Progressive has teamed up with Uber, and beginning on April 1st, 2016, Texas Uber drivers will have brand new insurance coverage. The commercial side of the policy carries $1 million in injury liability coverage. Ride sharing is still a fairly new addition to the San Antonio market. Accidents caused by ride sharing drivers often lead to particularly complex car accident insurance disputes.

When is an Uber Driver on the Clock?

After a San Antonio Uber accident, you will need to determine exactly which type of insurance coverage applies. This should not be an issue in cases where the injured party was an Uber passenger. In that scenario, Uber’s commercial policy should always apply. But, things are more complicated when you are in an accident with an Uber driver, while you are in another vehicle. If that occurs, then the relevant insurance policy depends on which ‘mode’ the Uber driver was in at the time of the accident. There are three possibilities:

  • The Uber application was shut off;
  • The Uber application was on, and there was a passenger in the vehicle; or
  • The Uber application was on, but there were no passengers.

This is what makes Uber accidents so complicated. Their drivers use their vehicles for both personal and commercial purposes. When the Uber application is turned off, Uber considers that driver to be ‘off the clock’. In that scenario, the driver is considered to be using their vehicle solely for personal purposes. This is true even though the driver in question could put themselves ‘on the clock’ by simply clicking a couple of buttons on their cell phone. When the application is off, Uber’s insurance policies will not apply. Of course, that driver should also carry personal insurance coverage. The personal coverage is what applies in this type of accident.

When the application is switched on, and there is a passenger in the car, then there is no dispute. In this scenario, the Uber driver is clearly ‘on the clock’. Therefore, Uber’s commercial accident insurance policy will apply. The vehicle is a ‘commercial vehicle’ when it has passengers inside. The grey area occurs when the Uber application is ‘on’ but there are no passengers. Because Uber drivers are independent contractors, they are not considered to be working during this time. Therefore, Uber’s commercial insurance policy may not apply in this situation. Instead, Uber carries a contingent insurance policy that applies to this grey area. The distinction is important in the case of major accidents because Uber’s contingent policy has a much lower policy limit than does its commercial insurance policy. The ride sharing industry is still very young in Texas. New law is being developed rapidly. You should always contact an experienced car accident attorney immediately after a ride sharing accident to ensure that you recover full and fair compensation.

Contact Our Office Today

Ride sharing is expected to continuing growing in popularity in Texas. You need to know what to do if you are injured in a ride sharing accident. Our experienced legal team can help, please do not hesitate to contact our San Antonio office today at (210) 308-8811 to schedule a free case evaluation.