Insurance Coverage for Independent Drivers Carrying Customers Is Here, but What Does It Mean?
Do you use the popular ride-sharing service Uber? For many without their own cars-or who perhaps simply don’t have a designated driver after a night at the bar-Uber has quickly outclassed traditional taxi services as the go-to for getting a drive. What makes it so special? Well, a lot of people love the convenience of the mobile application which simply allows them to input their current location and their destination, and then be matched with a driver. Automatic payments (and the ability to split those payments) are a nice feature, too. But for many, the biggest draw is the price. Because the UberX product matches users with drivers who are using their own vehicles (as opposed to licensed limo or taxi drivers), it can provide cheaper rate, since the overhead for the driver is lower. But as any Ottawa law firm may warn you, this price advantage comes at a major cost-and only now is it being addressed.
Part of why taxis are more expensive is because any person licenced to ferry customers in a taxi is charged an insurance premium, since they are now liable for damages for their customers if they get into an accident. Limo drivers are charged a similar premium, but it’s safe to say that there are other reasons why limos are expensive! Until recently, this kind of insurance was unavailable to UberX drivers in Canada. Were you to get into any kind of accident while riding in an UberX, and the driver was liable, you would have an incredibly difficult time making any kind of claim, since the driver was not insured for passengers. In fact, you may be completely unable to receive compensation for your injuries-a fairly major risk, especially when taking rides at night or with a driver who is fatigued.
However, some Canadian insurance providers are catching up to the new trend of ride sharing, with many more sure to follow suit. At the time of this writing, Aviva Canada and Intact Financial Corporation have both announced their intentions to provider comprehensive coverage for any driver-taxi-licenced or not-who carries passengers in their vehicle.
Ottawa law firms remind you, however, that there is no law or governing body that mandates that all UberX drivers get this coverage, and until such a time as there is you can never be fully certain that you will be covered. However, for this to happen may be a two-edged sword, as it would likely increase the cost of each trip.
This new development is just the beginning of the popular ride-sharing service coming into its own in Canada, and may signal a safer Uber on the horizon-but for the meantime, your local Ottawa law firm wants to remind you to ride safe.