For most New Yorkers, a car is a burden, and not always the best way to get around the city. We depend on public transportation, taxis, rideshares (and, of course, our legs) to get us from point A to point B. But have you ever ridden with a driver that was a little less cautious than you would be on the road?
Even if you have a safe and cautious driver, accidents can still happen. So, what do you do if you get into an accident while riding in a Taxi or rideshare? Does insurance work differently for Uber drivers and Taxis?
The answer? It’s complicated. Different types of rideshares have different insurance coverage and taxi companies do, as well.
That’s why we decided to outline the basics of getting into different types of auto accidents no matter who is driving you around the city.
Get the contact and insurance information of everyone involved. Make sure you record the name of the taxi or rideshare company, as well as the driver and every car’s license plate number. Take pictures of the damage and record testimony of drivers, passengers, and any outside witnesses. Also be sure to record and document any initial injuries or pain caused by the impact.
Taxi drivers can be employees of the cab company that owns the vehicle. If you are the passenger of a taxi and are involved in an accident, you can typically file a claim with the taxi company to receive compensation for your damages. This is why it is so crucial to get the name and contact information of the taxi company that you were riding in during your accident. After all, how many different taxi services are there in New York?
Uber & Lyft Accidents: Before we dive into Uber’s insurance policy, know this: Uber drivers are not employees of Uber. They are independent contractors. This is important when determining fault and liability in court. And it helps to explain why simple differences in when an accident occurs will make a big difference in available insurance coverage.
If you are a passenger in an Uber and you get into an accident, Uber has up to a $1 million insurance policy that will cover damages related to the accident. This also applies to other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians injured in the accident, as long as the Uber driver was carrying a passenger. If an Uber driver is on his or her way to pick up a passenger, or is simply waiting for a passenger to pick up, Uber’s $1 million insurance policy will not apply.
So in most scenarios involving an Uber ride, you will file a claim with Uber. If Uber denies your claim, you can either sue Uber or file a claim with the Uber driver’s personal insurance company. This is where things get tricky. The driver is not an employee of Uber, but a personal insurance company may not cover the driver when the driver is “working.”
Uber is not the only rideshare service in New York, and each service treats insurance policies differently. For example, Lyft requires all New York drivers to hold Certificate of Liability Insurance. And Lyft offers contingent liability coverage to all passengers… except in New York State.
If you are in an accident while the passenger of a Lyft in New York, your claim will go through the driver’s personal insurance coverage rather than Lyft’s. If you depend on rideshare apps other than Uber, it is important to understand the specific insurance policy of that app before you request a ride.