Most new drivers may not understand the huge amount of risk they are assuming because no one makes any effort to tell them. Read on and find out how to best protect yourself including what Uber, Lyft, and other app-based Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) neglected to tell you and what information is publicly available. I am going to focus on the United States. Other countries have different, although similar laws. I am assuming that you already understand how automobile insurance protects you, your vehicle, your passengers, and other people/property that may be involved in an accident. Automobile insurance is also required by law in every state, although the requirements differ from state-to-state. TNCs require proof of insurance before they'll let you drive. Insufficient Auto Insurance that Uber, Lyft, and other TNCs provide TNCs are required by law in many states to provide insurance for drivers and passengers while online. Similar coverage for UberEats. Find out the specifics of each TNC that you drive for in your state. In general, there are 4 phases or periods defined in the image below. 0: When Offline or the App is not running. 1: Online, Waiting for a request/ping 2: Driving to pickup 3: Driving to destination with passenger. Ends at drop-off. Note: Terrible reputations of insurance companies used by TNCs and gaps in coverage: Period 1: Minimum Liability, No Collision, No Comprehensive, No UM/UMI. Period 2 & 3: $1,000 deductible higher than chosen by most drivers. Lyft's is $2,500. Periods 1,2,3: No towing. No rental reimbursement, or other "extras". Danger/Risk for You Most new drivers continue using their current personal insurance policy. This often is their first major mistake. A few new drivers, who previously drove taxis and already have more expensive commercial insurance, are much better off. Most auto insurance companies do not allow policy holders to work for any TNC, even part time. These insurance companies may immediately cancel your policy for this reason. If they even suspect you work for a TNC then they may immediately require proof that you do not. They may also deny a claim for this reason, leaving you to bear the entire cost. The best course of action is to first determine the policy of your current insurer indirectly by contacting an independent insurance specializing in rideshare. If your current insurer does not allow rideshare there are several possible courses of action. Transfer to an insurer that allows you to rideshare, but provides no coverage during these times, like Liberty Mutual. You depend on coverage provide by the TNCs. Transfer to an insurer that offers a TNC rider, endorsement, or hybrid policy, at an additional cost. Find out specifics which vary from insurer to insurer and state-to-state. These generally "fill in gaps" of TNC insurance, but have maximum mileage restrictions to qualify. (Recommended - Table at bottom) Get commercial insurance. The higher cost might be justifiable if you rideshare full-time or near full-time. Insurers may not yet offer all these options in areas recently opened to TNCs. A licensed insurance agent or independent agent familiar with rideshare should know the state-mandated minimum coverage. Compare Prices You owe it to yourself to call multiple insurers. Insurance payments may be your biggest expense after gas. There can be a huge price difference between insurers, based on where you live (there may be a 50% price difference in an adjacent town) and the amount of coverage provided. Make them explain until you understand the differences. Procedure after an Accident Do not move either car unless they are in a dangerous location. If anyone (pedestrian or passenger in any vehicle) is injured then call 911 for an ambulance immediately. If there are any witnesses then get their names, phone #s, or other contact information. Call a cop to the scene. Get cop's name, badge #, and how to get a copy of the police report. Cop will not know and generally not care if you are driving for a TNC at the time of the accident unless you (or passengers) mention it, they see the application running on your phone, or trade-dress on your car. Your insurer will care, but generally rely on the honesty of the policyholder to report accurately. Knowingly lying is fraud. In rare circumstances, your insurer may demand a letter from Uber that you are not working for them. Exchange information with other driver(s) including: name, address, phone or email, insurer, policy# Arrange for a tow, if necessary. The cop may provide assistance at a cost if you have no other option. While at the scene. Use the driver-App to report the accident and take pictures of damage. If you have passengers then make sure they can get to their original destination safely. If Insurer Denies Your Claim A look at your legal options. If you made the claim yourself and the insurer denied the claim, you need to think about retaining a lawyer. There is nothing further that you can say to the adjuster. Most likely, the insurer denied your claim for one of two major reasons: 1) the adjuster truly believes that your claim has no merit, or 2) the insurer simply denied your claim in the hopes that you will give up. If the adjuster believes that your claim has no merit, then no amount of talking to him/her is going to change the situation; the only thing that a lawyer can do is take your case out of the insurance pipeline and file a car accident lawsuit. But sometimes adjusters will deny claims even though they know that the claim does have some merit. It should not be surprising to know that an insurer might sometimes deny a claim simply as a financial move. An insurance company is in business to make money for its stockholders, not for the benefit of people who file claims against it. An insurer looks at each claim from a profit and loss and risk perspective. If an insurer believes that denying a claim is the best financial move for it at that time, it will deny the claim. Insurers know that there is a certain percentage of people with otherwise valid claims who will not pursue the claim (i.e., hire a lawyer) if the claim is denied. Either way, the reason that the insurer denied your claim is not significant to you. But if the insurer denied your claim just to push you around, it is possible that it will look more seriously at your claim if you are now represented by a lawyer. Insurer Denies Your Attorney’s Claim If you have a lawyer who put together a demand letter and sent it off to the insurer, and the insurer denied your lawyer’s claim, now your only choice is to give up or file a lawsuit. You might think, “How dare they deny my claim! We should file a lawsuit immediately.” But you should be aware that insurance companies treat claims from lawyers with far more respect than they treat claims from unrepresented persons. They will not flatly deny claims from qualified lawyers for no good reason. They usually will make some offer, however low. So, when lawyers have a claim summarily denied, they are going to think very hard about whether they have missed something. They will ask the adjuster why the claim was denied. They will try to prod the adjuster to disclose the evidence that the adjuster used to deny the claim. Unfortunately, adjusters rarely disclose the evidence against the plaintiff before the lawsuit, just like plaintiff’s lawyers rarely disclose their evidence before they have to. If the insurer denies your lawyer’s claim, you can expect that your lawyer is going to ask you to come into the office and sit down for a brutally honest talk. Most lawyers are willing to file suit on tough cases, but they don’t want to waste their time with a suit that has no chance of succeeding. They will want to review all of the evidence with you so that you can understand the odds against you. If your lawyer is prepared to go forward with your case, he/she will usually send the insurer notice that he/she intends to file a claim under your state’s Consumer Protection Act or Unfair Settlement Practices Act, if your state has such an act. That will give you additional leverage later on in the case, if it is determined that the insurer in fact denied your claim for no good reason. Table of Insurers (Obsolete, but somewhere to start) This post provided by Maven Disclaimer: I do not receive any kind of compensation and I am not associated with any of the companies (other then my TNCs and my own insurer) mentioned above.