Rideshare and Uber driver insurance
There is a lot of confusion about Uber driver insurance in the NZ market. This confusion is mainly due to the information Uber provides on their website and what they tell drivers in person.
Firstly, to keep things simple, if you are driving for Uber/Ola/Zoomy etc you are effectively operating a small business. You are using your car for a commercial activity. Therefore, if you want to be covered for damage to your vehicle and other third parties you will generally need commercial insurance with a public liability component. It is important to advise your insurer exactly what you will be doing to ensure you are covered.
There is no question that a personal or domestic insurance policy will usually not cover you for Uber driving. If you have an incident you will probably not be paid out by your insurer and are likely to have your policy cancelled.
The confusion starts when you look at the quotes below on Uber NZ’s website...
In italics are my thoughts which are shared by other drivers I know:
“Every trip is insured”
In what way? What are the terms and conditions and policy limits?
“ACC coverage works with your personal insurance coverage to protect you whenever you’re driving with Uber.”
Everyone, including tourists are covered for injury by the “no fault” ACC scheme anyway.
“What's more, we also provide you with contingent liability coverage that works with your personal car insurance policy to help ensure that other road users are protected in the event of an accident.”
How can this “contingent liability coverage” work with your personal policy? Personal policies are in most instances not valid for Uber driving as they exclude driving for hire and reward, which insurers consider Uber/Zoomy driving to be. Even Uber themselves describe their driver’s activity as Commercial Rideshare.
Also, why does Uber not provide any details of this contingent liability insurance? What is the excess and coverage levels and limitations? Is what Uber describing a “double insurance” situation which is not generally allowed in the insurance industry?
Since writing this blog, Uber have updated their website with the following clause:
"Please note that third party property damage won't cover every eventuality and might not be suitable for everyone's personal circumstances. You should speak to your insurer, broker, advisor or agent to determine the appropriate insurance coverage for you, including whether you require commercial insurance cover."
It is good to see Uber finally admitting drivers may require commercial cover (although it's still unclear what their own insurance covers).
Do not use your vehicle for business purposes without appropriate commercial/business coverage.
It is strongly inadvisable to rely on Uber’s coverage. Without any concrete policy details and evidence of driver claims being declined it is a very risky option to take. You will need separate cover anyway when using the car for personal use or working for other platforms such as Zoomy, InaRush, private jobs etc.
Note: I do not sell insurance. It is best to get quotes from various companies. I have used a broker (Mark at Rodney District Insurance, who is great) - 022 363 2377