Dyman & Associates Insurance Group of Companies: Rise of Ride Sharing Could Mean Pricier Auto Insurance for Everyone
That’s what forces pushing new regulations on sharing are suggesting anyway. Ride-sharing services see the situation quite differently, of course.
Regulators aren’t quite sure what to do with so-called “sharing economy” services such as Airbnb, Lyft, and UberX. In many ways, sharing operations are in competition with traditional businesses—hotels in the case of Airbnb, rental cars and car sales when it comes to Lyft, UberX, and other ride-sharing ventures. Yet homeowners and automobile owners who participate tend to see sharing as just that, sharing, not a true business. Sure, there’s some money changing hands digitally in these transactions, and there’s a contractual business agreement at the heart of every organized sharing service provided, but the owners playing along typically view their participation as an occasional, side-gig sort of thing. As such, sharing companies and sharers alike take the stance that authorities shouldn’t regulate these services like a regular business.
Like regulators, insurers aren’t entirely certain what to make of increasingly popular sharing arrangements. Or more accurately, auto insurers aren’t certain how to make customers pay for the extra coverage they say is needed in such an arrangement. “It’s very clear in California: If you drive your car and make money on it, you need a commercial license,” Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California, told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month. “But because it’s so new, insurers don’t ask the question, which does open the process up to fraud.”
Ride-sharing services typically provide $1 million worth of excess liability coverage for their drivers. But well-publicized accidents and lawsuits have brought up the possibility that such a policy leaves holes in one’s coverage. A Consumer Reports post published earlier this year warned:
That million-dollar excess liability insurance covers passengers, pedestrians, other cars, and property, but it doesn’t cover injuries suffered by the driver or damage to his or her car-cum-cab if there’s an accident.
Lyft has responded to the criticism by bumping up its coverage and even forming a new Peer-to-Peer Rideshare Insurance Coalition in order “to ensure a safe and trusted future for the emerging peer economy.”