Uber extending insurance coverage following fatal accident

Posted Mar 14, 2014

Uber, the on-demand car sharing service, is adding coverage for the times when drivers are in-between rides. The change was made following criticism over how a situation was handled when an Uber car was involved in an accident that killed a six-year-old San Francisco girl. Uber is extending its insurance policy on Friday to provide coverage for independent drivers who have Uber apps online, but aren’t carrying passengers.

Previously, Uber’s insurance for the peer-to-peer service UberX was covered only when an accident occurred while passengers were on a ride. However, Uber did not cover incidents that happened while the driver was between rides, but was available for service. Only the driver’s personal insurance was applied in those cases. Uber is now offering contingent coverage for a driver’s liability at $50,000 per individual for bodily injury, $100,000 total for bodily injury, and $25,000 per incident for property damage.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick believes that insurance companies will eventually offer options for peer-to-peer transportation drivers. However, he said that Uber’s additional coverage will help fill in that gap for now.

This past New Year’s Eve, an UberX driver hit and killed six-year-old girl Sophia Liu. The driver was not carrying a passenger during the accident so it was not covered by Uber’s insurance policy. The girl’s family sued Uber for wrongful death as a result. The driver’s personal insurance policy fully covered that accident, but the company said it recognizes that other policies may not be as clear – Uber offered to cover the gap.

Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar have launched a coalition to address the issues around insurance for peer-to-peer car-sharing services. Lyft will be rolling out additional protection soon.

[Source: Uber Blog / CNET]