Ride-sharing is the fast-growing system of offering your vehicle for personal transportation services and it is becoming increasingly popular as companies such as UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar continue to grow. These types of operations involve pre-arranged services using an online-enabled application to connect with potential passengers.

As this industry gains popularity and a wider array of programs are available, the potential gaps in insurance coverage for both drivers and passengers are concerning.

If you are considering providing ride-sharing services, you should note the following:

  • Operators/drivers must be licensed by the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (DPUC) and maintain a minimum of $1.5 million commercial liability insurance.
  • You must obtain a special Hackney Operator’s License issued by the DPUC prior to transporting passengers for hire in RI.
  • These services are required to be provided only in vehicles bearing “Public Registration License Plates.”

There are many potential gaps in personal auto policies that you should consider and it is crucial you speak with your insurance agent prior to engaging in ride-sharing.

Potential Coverage Gaps in your own Personal Auto Policy:

Most standard personal auto policies contain exclusions for livery – which essentially means driving for hire. Insurance companies might deny coverage to people that are driving passengers for payment based on the below exclusions or similar exclusions, but you should speak with your insurance agent to be certain which apply to you. All the exclusions below do not apply to a share-the-expense car pool.

Liability Coverage (Exclusion):

Liability Coverage is not provided for any insured’s liability arising out of the ownership or operation of a vehicle while it is being used for public or livery transportation.

Medical Payments Coverage (Exclusion):

Medical Payments Coverage is not provided for any bodily injury to the insured that is sustained while occupying the insured vehicle when it is being used as public or livery transportation.

Coverage for Damage to your Auto (Exclusion):

Loss to your insured vehicle or any non-owned vehicle, that occurs while it is being used for public or livery transportation will not be paid for.

You should contact your insurance agent about potential gaps in your personal automobile coverage that can arise if you are driving for one of these operators. You may need to consider buying a commercial policy with medical payments, comprehensive, collision and Uninsured or Underinsured motorist coverage to be certain that coverage exists for damage to you, your car and/or for damage caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist while you are driving passengers for payment.

To learn more about the risks of participating in ride-sharing and how to best protect yourself, please call OceanPoint Insurance at 847.5200.