Ridesharing programs such as Uber have skyrocketed in popularity, but it can still be confusing as to whose insurance is protecting you when you're a passenger in one of these vehicles.
The problem is that it is hard for passengers to know what kind of coverage rideshare drivers have beforehand. Uber drivers in Ontario are now automatically insured through a Financial Services Commission of Ontario-regulated policy that includes statutory accident benefits, uninsured motorist coverage and $2 million in liability once a ride has been accepted.
But passengers need to be careful when accepting rides from ridesharing and carpool services that have not yet caught up to—or perhaps are not concerned with—the changing insurance climate.
A conventional car insurance policy does not cover vehicles that are being used for business purposes, which means if you were in a rideshare vehicle that got into an accident and that driver was found to be at-fault without the proper insurance, it could be difficult for you to recoup the damages.
Ridesharing is still a burgeoning segment of the car insurance industry, and while some insurance providers do offer ridesharing insurance specifically for these drivers in Ontario (OTIP is one of them), passengers in these vehicles cannot rely solely on the driver's policy.
Instead, you must look to your own car insurance policy for your first line of coverage.
Every car insurance policy in Ontario has an Accidents Benefits coverage that protects drivers, passengers and even pedestrians involved in an accident. Each individual claims this benefit through their respective car insurance company.
If you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle and it gets into an accident, you would first go through your own car insurance provider to begin the claims process. Your insurance provider would then work to identify which driver is at-fault from an insurance perspective and they would typically handle the claim with the driver's insurance company to settle the costs. This is true even in an Uber accident. Going through your own insurance provider should always be your first line of defense.
If you do not have your own car insurance, it is crucial to ensure that whichever ridesharing service you're using has adequate car insurance coverage in the event the vehicle is involved in an accident. While ridesharing is often an inexpensive commuter option, the cost of not being properly protected is never worth saving a few dollars.
If you have any questions about your insurance coverage, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-866-523-4111.