Estimates show that over 160,000 Californians drive for a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft,, but have been very limited on their automotive insurance options. Pacific Preferred is changing that with new policies for this driving niche.
(prHWY.com) December 30, 2015 - Oxnard, CA -- As of December 1, 2015, Pacific Preferred Insurance has joined the very-limited ranks of insurance companies who offer rideshare policies.
"We believe that ride-sharing is a fast growing industry," says Ken Goodwin, Senior Managing Partner with Pacific Preferred Insurance, "and it is our goal to ensure those drivers in California are properly protected and insured at all times." He adds: "We have heard of too many horror stories of an Uber driver or Lyft driver being cancelled by their personal auto insurance company when they found out they were driving for one of the rideshare companies. Even worse are those stories where they had an accident during Period one, before they were covered under the rideshare companies commercial policy and their personal auto policy denied the claim due to the livery exclusion found in most standard personal auto insurance policies issued."
According to Goodwin, "Period one" is one of three specific steps involved in a rideshare driver's routine. During this period, the driver has activated his mobile application and is waiting for a passenger to "hail" them. Period two includes the time the driver spends en route to the pickup and any time waiting for the passenger to enter the vehicle. Period three is the final step, during which the passenger is aboard and transit to their destination is underway. After the passenger is dropped off, the cycle begins again. This cycle creates a gap in standard automobile insurance coverage, specifically during Period one, when the rideshare companies themselves don't consider the driver covered under their commercial insurance policies.
This was evidenced in the case involving an UberX driver who hit a 6-year-old girl while engaged in "Period one," and was therefore denied coverage by Uber's million-dollar insurance policy. As a result of this case, California enacted AB2293, which went into effect this past July. This regulation requires companies to offer contingent liability insurance coverage for Period 1, of at least $50,000 per individual and $100,000 total per incident for bodily injury or death and $30,000 for property damage. An additional $200,000 in excess coverage is also required.
"Rideshare drivers are playing Russian Roulette when they think their standard personal auto insurance policy will cover them and/or their vehicle during Period 1 without the proper endorsement," says Goodwin. Goodwin adds that during Period 1, Uber and Lyft do not offer collision or comprehensive coverage, underinsured motorist coverage or medical payments and unless collision and comprehensive is purchased on the personal auto insurance policy, this coverage would not be provided during Period 2 and 3.
These issues and risks are all easily resolved through the proper insurance policy, and this is where Pacific Preferred Insurance is stepping up to the plate. The company is now offering one of the most comprehensive policies for this niche market - one which many insurance companies haven't even begun to cover. As of this writing, there are only two other insurance options for California rideshare drivers. Metromile is one of the first to offer such policies, but their Period one coverage is exclusive to Uber drivers and requires the installation of a tracking device. Farmer's Insurance also offers a policy, but drivers often report that they were asked to pay for the policy in full or wait extended periods of time for review by the company's underwriting department.
In contrast, Pacific Preferred Insurance's solution, offered through Mercury, allows payment in monthly installments, and doesn't require the installation of a tracking device. Their policy also applies to drivers who work with all rideshare platforms, not just Uber. Drivers will also be delighted to know that the new policy could save them money.
"We have found on average we have saved our new clients between 25 - 40% over their prior rideshare insurance policy," said Goodwin. "What's even more exciting is the freedom for our clients to choose who they drive for without the fear of not being covered or being surprised by a bill at the end of each month based on an influx of miles they drove that prior month."
If you'd like to learn more, you can reach Ken Goodwin and his team at 800-913-1844 or online at the Pacific Preferred Insurance Rideshare page.