I have a 22 year old daughter. She has graduated from University and lives and works in another city. She doesn’t own a car and is rarely home to drive my car. What would normally happen at this time is I would have her deleted from my automobile policy to save the occasional driver premium I have been paying since she got her G2 license at 17. But, like many young people in her situation my daughter is a frequent Uber user. If I delete her from my automobile policy and she is injured because of an accident while she’s a passenger in an Uber vehicle where does she go to get coverage? She can’t go under my policy, she’s not a dependent, she doesn’t live in my household and I deleted her as a driver. She can’t collect under the Uber driver’s car because at the time of writing this the Uber driver won’t have a policy in place that provides coverage when carrying passengers for compensation or hire so the insurance company would deny coverage. She may be able to collect under the insurance of another vehicle that was involved in the accident but what if there wasn’t another vehicle? What if the Uber driver just lost control of the vehicle and went into a ditch or hit a telephone pole? Where would she go for her lost income and any medical expenses that OHIP doesn’t cover? There is a government fund (Ontario Motor Vehicle Claims Fund) that she may be able to access but there are a lot of hoops to jump through before she would qualify for coverage and the fund is built up through the collection of tax payer dollars not through any contributions that Uber or my daughter has made directly.
I also have a friend who is required to travel overseas for his work. While on a business trip he found himself on the street in a rain storm unable to hail a cab. He pulled out his phone and used his Uber app to get a car to come pick him up. Relief, he’s in a car out of the rain and on his way to his next appointment. Now what happens if the Uber vehicle gets in an accident and my friend is injured? Same problem overseas as in Canada as far as the Uber driver’s insurance coverage goes. My friend does have his own car and insurance but insurance coverage on a vehicle in Canada does not extend to provide coverage outside of Canada and continental USA. If there is another vehicle involved in the accident and that driver was responsible for the accident my friend may be able to sue the other driver but who pays for his lost income and rehabilitation while the suit is making its way through the courts which could take years?
What is the solution in these two examples? Well in the case of my daughter I have decided to leave her as a listed driver on my policy and pay the occasional driver premium. If she still doesn’t own a car when she turns 25 I won’t have the expense of the occasional driver premium but I’ll still leave her as a listed driver on my vehicle until she gets her own car. For my friend who travels overseas he may be able to collect part of his lost income under a company or individual disability plan or travel policy if he has one but what about the things like rehab, attendant care and medical expenses that OHIP won’t pay for? The example I have used is for a travelling business person but the same could apply to someone travelling for pleasure.
What seems to be happening with ride-sharing is that no one can figure out which comes first the cart or the horse. The whole discussion has become so confusing and divisive that the cart and horse have taken on completely new forms to the point where we can’t even recognize which is the cart and which is the horse. I have given the above two examples to provide some information to prompt discussions among families, friends and colleagues. An insurance broker’s job is to help their clients manage risk. Part of that process is to help you make an informed decision when it comes to certain aspects of your safety and financial well being. I am pro-technology, pro-competition and don’t feel that government involvement in every aspect of our lives is ever a good thing but sometimes the cart gets moving so fast that it out paces the horse and that rarely turns out to be a good thing for the cart or the horse and in this case for the people riding in the cart.
This post is for information purposes only as I have touched on just a few things for you to consider when making decisions concerning the use of ridesharing. As an Insurance Broker I am only one of the advisors that should be included in a discussion of this nature. Please consult your legal, financial and accounting advisors as required. For a review of your automobile coverage please contact your broker. In the event of a claim only the coverage provided by your specific automobile policy will apply.