Uber, the rideshare application, is here to stay in Toronto. What riders and drivers need to understand is there can be issues regarding coverage should you get into an accident while riding in an Uber car, or are involved in a collision with a vehicle being driven by an Uber driver.
Accidents Occurring Before July 2016
If a rider or a driver had an accident with an Uber driver where the Uber driver was at fault prior to July 2016, the insurer of the Uber driver may deny third party liability coverage to the Uber driver.
Under the standard policy of insurance that is provided to individual drivers in Ontario, there is an exclusion clause that states that coverage may not be extended to the driver if the automobile is being used to carry passengers for compensation. In the circumstances where an Uber driver's insurance does not extend third party liability coverage to the driver, this leaves the Uber driver personally exposed to a claim for damages resulting from injury if the Uber driver is at fault.
If the Uber driver is also injured in the accident, they will be restricted as to what no-fault Accident Benefits they will be able to receive under their policy of insurance. Should the insurer find a breach of the policy, the available Accident Benefits would be limited to medical rehabilitation benefits only. The driver would not be entitled to income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits or compensation for other expenses.
This also leaves the injured party in a predicament regarding insurance coverage. For individuals injured who do not have their own policy of insurance, the third party coverage limits are reduced to a maximum of $200,000.00 when the insurer finds there is a breach of the policy on behalf of the Uber driver. For injured individuals carrying a policy of auto insurance on their own vehicle, they may sue their own insurer under the OPCF-44R endorsement which would allow the limits of the liability coverage to be increased from $200,000 to the maximum under their own policy.
Uber Intact Insurance
As of July 2016, Uber drivers are now covered under the Uber commercial policy that is offered through Intact Insurance. Uber drivers must also carry a personal auto policy for when the Uber application is not in use. The owners of the vehicle are responsible for informing their insurer that the vehicle is being used for ride sharing.
When the Uber application is in use, the Uber commercial policy kicks in. What Uber drivers and those who get in accidents with Uber drivers need to know is that this policy of insurance is offered in phases which have different corresponding insurance coverages.
The first phase is from when the app is turned on and before the driver accepts a trip. During this phase, the Uber driver is covered for a maximum of $1,000,000 third party liability coverage. The next phase occurs from when the driver accepts the trip, through when the passenger is in the vehicle, and ends when the passenger exits the vehicle. Under the commercial policy for this interval, Uber drivers are covered for a maximum of $2,000,000 third party liability coverage. After the trip ends and the Uber application is switched off, the insurance coverage reverts back to the driver's personal policy.
It is anticipated that more insurers will offer this coverage or a similar type of coverage to Uber drivers in the future. This insurance is important as it allows both the Uber driver to be protected from being personally exposed should they be sued and also protects individuals injured when involved in a collision with an Uber driver.
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