Since November 2014, ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft can legally operate in Huston. Before November, Lyft and Uber operators were essentially unlicensed taxi drivers in violation of Houston ordinances.
While Lyft and Uber were met with considerable opposition from “traditional” taxi companies, Houston eventually decided to allow ridesharing companies the right to operate legally in the city, but this doesn’t mean these services are the safest transportation option.
In fact, Lyft and Uber maintain that drivers aren’t actual employees, releasing the company from liability for accidents.
Regarding insurance, this means that most Lyft and Uber drivers carry nothing more than their personal auto insurance coverage.
Should you be concerned about insurance coverage and ridesharing?
If a driver carries only his/her personal coverage, passengers could be excluded from protection while using a ridesharing service. Without commercial insurance coverage, drivers could unwittingly leave their passengers without protection from financial damages following an accident.
Every insurance policy is different, but most coverage excludes passengers from protection if they must pay the drive a fee to ride in the vehicle.
Houston Ordinance Responds to Concern
Fortunately, Houston implemented a rule to protect passengers.
According to the new Houston ordinance, “transportation network companies” (which include companies like Uber and Lyft) must carry at least $1 million in accident coverage per accident. This coverage applies to the passenger from the moment the driver accepts the transaction until the passenger exits the vehicle.
Additionally, ridesharing companies must offer passengers the minimum amount of coverage also required for private drivers.
Currently, these amounts are $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.
Because the ridesharing industry is new, Houston’s new ordinance and others like it may not be perfect. However, they do aim to protect passengers from overwhelming medical debt following an avoidable accident or injury.
If you suffered an injury in a ridesharing accident, speak with a Beaumont personal injury attorney from The Daspit Law Firm today.