Are Auto Insurance Policies Affected by Ride Sharing?

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  • These days, millions of Americans may have access to the new kinds of “ride sharing” services that often crop up in major metropolitan areas. Companies like Lyft and Uber have gained a lot of prominence in the last year or so, but at the same time, many experts caution that they could have a significant negative impact on drivers’ auto insurance policies and protection. For this reason, it might be extremely important for insurance agents to do all they can to educate their clients about the potential risks that signing up to provide rides through these services might create.

    While Uber and Lyft have many drivers in cities large and small nationwide, the fact of the matter is that those workers might be taking on a significant risk when they pick up a rider, according to a report from TIME. While these companies will often allow consumers to have some amount of insurance provided by the services themselves, there simply may not be enough to cover all the damage. Further, these service-issued policies typically only kick in when a driver actually has a passenger in the car, and thus, when they are just driving around waiting for fares, any accident they get into might put them in a somewhat nebulous area.

    Why is that the case?
    This problem is often exacerbated by the fact that participating in such services usually causes major problems for the driver’s personal auto insurer, the report said. While in many cases, protections are offered for drivers’ passengers for personal needs, this might not be the case when they’re getting paid for providing a ride.

    “[W]hen the driver of one of our insured vehicles offers rides for payment, these rides may not be considered to be on the same basis [as carpooling],” Angie Rinock, a spokesperson for State Farm, told the magazine.

    Insurance agents who do as much as they can to engender positive relationships with their clients typically end up seeing large amounts of loyalty among their customers, and that will often be extremely important when it comes to retaining them. In general, experts find that high-quality service is far more important than simply being able to provide the lowest prices, because consumers will generally feel that even though they’re paying a little more, they’re also getting more out of their coverage.

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