Since Uber started offering a ridesharing option in the U.S. more than a year ago, our commitment has been to provide riders with the best possible user experience – one they weren’t getting from a taxi. In that time, we have revolutionized how people move around their cities with access to the lowest cost, most reliable, safest ground transportation out there. Our uberX offering is almost 50% cheaper than taxis in some cities and has seen massive growth as a result.

Our commitment to safety has always been our top priority. First, we make sure all ridesharing drivers undergo background checks that are among the most stringent in the industry. Second, all ridesharing transportation partners are covered by best-in-class commercial insurance coverage in the event of an accident.

From the time a driver accepts a trip request through our app until the completion of the ride, our partners have $1 million of coverage for driver liability. We were also the first ridesharing request service to include $1 million of coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists, meaning that passengers and drivers are also covered for injuries when another party is at fault and lacks sufficient insurance. This $1 million coverage from trip acceptance to drop-off is consistent across cities. This coverage kicks in regardless of whether the driver’s personal insurance applies to the trip. We have also added contingent comprehensive and collision insurance during trips, up to $50,000/incident with a $1,000 deductible.

Our coverage is consistent across all our U.S. cities whereas coverage provided by taxis is literally all over the map and can be considerably lower:

Maximum Coverage for Taxis by City

  • Atlanta:  $50K
  • Baltimore:  $60K
  • Boston:  $40K
  • Chicago: $350K
  • San Francisco:  $1000K
  • Washington DC:  $50K

So what happens when a ridesharing partner who is not on an uberX trip, nor picking up a rider, gets into an accident?

Since the tragic accident in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, there has been much written about an “insurance gap” during the time that ridesharing drivers are not providing transportation services for hire, but have the Uber app open and are available to receive a trip request.

As a practical matter, the vast majority of personal insurance policies cover this period either by the plain terms of the insurance policy, or due to the insurance requirements set by state. In the New Year’s Eve case, for instance, the driver’s insurance company has offered up the limits of the driver’s personal auto policy.

However, the novelty of this growing and innovative form of transportation has resulted in complex questions regarding insurance and there may be language in some policies in some states where ambiguity remains about whether personal insurance will cover the time between trips.

The bottom line is that the drivers who use our app and the riders and communities we serve should have the confidence that any potential “insurance gap” is covered with a safety net as governments and insurance companies work out the details of ridesharing in their cities and states.

So, in order to fully address any ambiguity or uncertainty around insurance coverage for ridesharing services, Uber is becoming the first and only company to have a policy in place that expands the insurance of ridesharing drivers to cover any potential “insurance gap” for accidents that occur while drivers are not providing transportation service for hire but are logged onto the Uber network and available to accept a ride.

Starting today, if a driver’s personal insurance policy is found not to cover an accident during this period, this new policy will provide contingent coverage for a driver’s liability at the highest requirement of any state in the U.S: $50,000/individual/incident for bodily injury, $100,000 total/incident for bodily injury and $25,000/incident for property damage.

Uber is taking this step to eliminate any ambiguity while the insurance industry and state governments update policies and regulations for the new world of ridesharing transportation. We are proud to be the standard bearer on this issue as we believe that this clarity is in the public’s best interest.

Over time, we fully expect that the personal insurance industry will develop additional products for ridesharing drivers. But with this new coverage today, insurance companies and legislative bodies have the time to be thoughtful in how to embrace the innovation of ridesharing in cities across the country.

We look forward to working with them and with other stakeholders to make sure safety always comes first in the cities and communities we serve.