Ridesharing, such as Uber and Lyft, has grown in popularity in recent years. While it may seem like getting a ride with a regular person in their private vehicle is harmless enough, you need to consider all of the facts and why it may not be the best choice you can make. There are insurance risks for both drivers and passengers, and you are buying an unknown product. If you take the time to understand the situation and study the options, you will realize why the traditional taxi ride is a smarter choice.
While getting a ride to where you need to go may seem simple enough, you should know the differences so you can make the best choice for your situation and needs. When you get into a car, you are putting your life into the hands of the vehicle driver. Do you really know what to expect when you get into a car? Has the company done adequate screening to make sure you are safe throughout your ride? Here are a few things you need to know before deciding to use rideshare as your form of transportation.
Ridesharing services’ insurance, at best, probably has their share of flaws. Coverage will be spotty. Most automotive insurance providers have the right to drop you if your personal vehicle is used for commercial use. They will enforce this, and if the rideshare driver has not reported that his car is being used as a rideshare vehicle, the insurance company may not have to cover any losses resulting from an accident.
Commercial insurance for drivers can be very expensive, and if a driver is only using his or her vehicle for Uber or Lyft part-time, that additional insurance expense can be prohibitive. This means that you, as a passenger, can be liable for your injuries if you are involved in a rideshare crash. This can mean that your ride is even more expensive than you ever dreamed it would be! Can you risk being stuck with medical bills and long-term treatment that you have to pay for because of choosing a rideshare service instead of a taxi?
While Uber does offer vehicle insurance for its drivers, you need to know that coverage is spotty in even the best cases. Uber will only cover the vehicle (and the passenger) while the driver is signed into the Uber app. Staying signed in to an app is not a sure thing as we all know, and there are different scenarios that you need to consider. What if the driver’s phone loses signal? What if the phone’s battery goes dead? What if the driver cannot connect to the app? Once again, you may be stuck uncovered and have to pay out of pocket for any medical costs incurred from an accident.
Uber and Lyft’s cars do not undergo the same maintenance routines and regular inspections that taxis do. Rideshare drivers don’t have to undergo background checks, while taxi drivers undergo a thorough screening. When you get into a Lyft or Uber vehicle, you don’t know who is driving. The majority of taxi companies aren’t going to charge surge pricing, but that can vary significantly with ridesharing. You could end up in a vehicle that hasn’t been properly maintained and is therefore unsafe — or, you could end up with a driver who has a criminal background and is dangerous. Wouldn’t you rather know what you are buying so that you can protect yourself?
When you choose to ride with a taxi driver, you are getting in the vehicle with a driver who has undergone extensive background checks and who has a safe driving record. The vehicle has undergone the proper maintenance and is very safe. Taxis are highly regulated, so you know that your safety has been given priority. You also know that you are protected by commercial vehicle insurance if you are involved in an auto accident. While catching a ride may seem simple enough, it can be risky. Make sure you understand the possibilities and are prepared for the risks.
This article was written by the Outreach Team for Personal Injury Help, who provide information about personal safety and personal injury cases. You can reach them at [email protected] or by visiting their website, www.personalinjury-law.org