Uber, Lyft, And Rideshare Services In Florida
Recently, the Florida House has brought a bill to a full floor vote that would set statewide ridesharing rules for companies like Uber and Lyft. As one in four Americans now use ride sharing, state lawmakers feel that statewide access to ridesharing provides safety and economic value. With the services growing in popularity in the state and across the country, how can drivers adjust?
House Bill 221 by Reps. Jamie Grant (R-Tampa) and Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater) proposed rules that would include level one background checks that don’t require a driver’s fingerprints. Drivers would have to undergo a background check, which would analyze their complete driving history, multistate/multijurisdictional criminal records, and the national sex offender database. If in the previous five years they were convicted of a felony, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, hit and run, a violent misdemeanor, sexual battery or fleeing or attempting to flee an officer, drivers would not be allowed to transport passengers.
Drivers would also have to possess a valid driver’s license and proof of registration on their vehicle. They would also need to provide a photo and license plate number to passengers within the rideshare services’ apps. Both of these requirements are already required by Uber and Lyft.
Perhaps the most important part of the bill is the fact that it would require drivers and/or companies to carry $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person up to $100,000 per incident and $25,000 for property damage on insurance while a driver is driving for a rideshare service and using their application to conduct business. These numbers are significantly higher than Florida’s state insurance minimums for regular drivers, which is $10,000 for death or bodily injury up to $20,000 per incident and $10,000 for property damage. Lawmakers see it as a critical step in ensuring that rideshare drivers have adequate insurance coverage if an accident were to occur, while also closing insurance gaps.
Auto insurance companies have expanded their efforts to meet drivers’ demand for coverage. Many auto insurance companies now offer rideshare insurance, which covers personal use and adds coverage for at least part of the time that drivers are signed in to a ridesharing app, such as Uber and Lyft.
Generally, your personal insurance will not cover you if you are driving for Uber or Lyft. Most insurance companies have coverage exclusions if you drive for commercial activities, including ride-sharing programs. One activity is considered a commercial activity, while another is considered a personal activity. Private policies are separate business-related driving from leisure-related driving.
Many rideshare services, however, offer insurance. Uber and Lyft both provide $1 million in primary liability coverage for any damage you may cause, plus another $1 million in coverage if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Both companies specify that this is primary coverage, though not necessarily if you have a separate commercial insurance policy.