A Toronto UberX driver is threatening to sue Uber after not getting a response about his claim from a car accident that occurred earlier this year. This highlights the concern many have had about the adequacy of Uber’s insurance coverage as discussed in our previous articles.
In June, an UberX driver had a passenger in his minivan when he was t-boned by another vehicle in an intersection. The driver and his passenger were transported to a hospital. According to reports, the driver injured his neck and back and is left with chronic pain. As a result of the accident, the driver filed an accident benefits claim with his personal auto insurance company, as well as a property claim, but his claims were denied. His insurance company denied them because he did not tell his auto insurance company that he would be using his mini-van for commercial purposes.
Unlike taxis, Uber does not carry a minimum of $2 million in commercial liability insurance policy, which is required for taxis. According to Uber, every UberX driver is covered by a $5 million contingent auto liability insurance policy covering bodily injury and property damage, in addition to any personal auto insurance of the driver.
Thus, if an UberX driver causes a car accident and a passenger is injured, the driver’s own auto insurance policy would apply first. If the driver’s coverage is not enough to compensate the passenger, then Uber’s insurance would kick in. Sounds direct and simple right? Not so fast.
Personal auto insurance policies carried by Ontario drivers do not cover accidents when vehicles are used for commercial purposes. The driver’s auto insurance company will most likely deny any liability claim, as well as an accident benefits claim, like the UberX driver’s insurance company mentioned above. If a passenger filed a lawsuit against an UberX driver, the driver’s insurance company would likely say that the passenger was injured while the car was used for commercial purposes. Thus, there is no coverage in connection with that claim. The passenger would then have to file a claim with Uber. While we don’t know whether the passenger in the above case filed a claim against the UberX driver and/or Uber, we do know that the driver is still waiting to hear back from Uber after his accident benefits and property claims were denied by his own auto insurance company.
Yes, people love Uber because it is convenient and easy to use. It is also a quick and easy way a person can make extra income, but are they going to love it when they are in a car accident and there are uncertainties about insurance coverage and compensation?