This year, Uber gave its United States drivers in Arizona, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Delaware, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, as well as drivers in the United Kingdom, the option of obtaining a personal injury insurance plan. Under this insurance plan, which is in partnership with the insurance group, OneBeacon, and insurance broker, Aon, drivers can rest assured knowing they have a secure safety net and reliable coverage from Uber if they were to ever get into an accident.
Since Uber drivers are independent contractors, they lack the benefits that employees of part-time or full-time jobs receive, such as worker’s compensation, a 401k (retirement savings plan), or health insurance. Independent contractors are not eligible for employee insurance plans because they act as a stand-alone business entity and, therefore, are not employees, despite working under Uber. Technically speaking, a driver is providing their personal services for Uber. They choose their own work schedules and are not limited by the control of an employer, which officially categorizes them as an independent contractor. Furthermore, they are solely responsible for paying for their own business expenses and circumstances, such as their automobile insurance and car maintenance. Uber does not take responsibility for those expenses.
Because of the launch of this plan, drivers will now pay a 5 cent increase per mile. However, this translates into raising the rate for passengers as well. Now, if a driver were to sign up for the insurance, they must do so through the app. Afterward, the driver is insured the moment they are working under the Uber app. This includes when they are requested by a passenger, driving to the passenger, or taking a passenger to their destination.
In the event of a work-related incident, drivers can also expect to be covered for medical expenses under the personal injury insurance plan, and even refrain from paying any deductible or copay along with it. The drivers with disabilities are also eligible for disability income replacement since their personal conditions may prevent them from occasionally working. Furthermore, the plan includes survivor benefits so that both the driver and passenger will have equal protection in the face of an accident. Regardless if the accident is the Uber driver’s fault or not, damage can be paid out for approximately $1 million to compensate for liability coverage, contingent collision coverage, contingent comprehensive coverage, or bodily injury. The cost of injury between trips equals to about $100,000 in coverage. In conjunction, a work-related accident will cover any loss of income for the driver. Commercial drivers that partner with Uber are also eligible to receive the coverage mentioned above.
A vital fact to remember is that the personal injury insurance plan is only active when the driver is working under the Uber app. If an accident were to happen to the driver while not on the job, then Uber’s personal injury insurance plan does not cover the event.
Barry Levy is an attorney and founder of Levy Law Offices. Barry has been practicing law in throughout Cincinnati, Ohio for over 27 years, practicing in personal injury law, criminal law, and traffic offense defense.