Drivers, Passengers Using Ridesharing Apps in Georgia Face Potential Insurance Coverage Risks

Jamie Kimbrough

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Transportation network companies (TNCs) Uber and Lyft are now operating in Georgia, and other similar ventures are likely to follow. The Georgia Insurance Information Service (GIIS) advises potential drivers as well as passengers should make sure that drivers have the right liability insurance coverage before transporting customers or using the service as an alternative to traditional taxis and limousines.

Ridesharing drivers who maintain personal auto insurance may not have adequate coverage for injury liability and/or property damage arising if they are at fault in a vehicle accident, because their policies may exclude coverage when the vehicle is used in a commercial venture. This coverage gap creates a significant financial risk for the drivers as well as for their passengers.

“Ridesharing networks create insurance risks that many personal auto policies may not be designed or priced to cover, and it is imperative that persons involved with these services, both drivers and passengers, understand the risks involved,” said Georgia Insurance Information Service (GIIS) Executive Director Jamie Kimbrough. “Most personal automobile insurance policies contain exclusions for property and personal injury losses sustained when an individual uses his/her personal vehicle for commercial livery purposes.”

GIIS encourages anyone considering using a TNC anywhere within the state – as either a driver or passenger – to contact his/her insurance company or agent, seek answers to the following questions, and act accordingly:

  • Will my existing personal insurance policy cover damages incurred while I’m engaged with this service, as either a driver or passenger?
  • If I have a lien on my vehicle, will my lienholder be covered for any property damage incurred while I’m engaged in providing ridesharing service?
  • If my personal automobile insurance policy excludes coverage, as a driver should I purchase a commercial vehicle liability policy, even if the ridesharing company for which I am driving has excess commercial insurance coverage?
  • Are policies available to protect potential passengers, such as a “non-owned” vehicle policy, which may provide the needed coverage in the event the driver has a gap in coverage?

The Georgia Insurance Information Service (GIIS) is a non-lobbying, not-for-profit, state industry trade association of member companies which write approximately 70 percent of the auto, homeowners and renters insurance policies in Georgia.  The organization, established in 1994, promotes a healthy property and casualty (P&C) insurance marketplace by providing news media and consumers with information about insurance products and services protecting home, auto/vehicle, commercial business and property, and addressing workers’ compensation and medical malpractice.