Income or extra-income in these uncertain times can come at a significant cost—the denial of coverage on your automobile insurance policy. Uber, UberEats, Lyft, Postmates, SHIPT, etc.,[2] are lucrative options for people looking to make extra income and the ability to be the boss of your own schedule. However, without examining your automobile insurance policy before you start this next endeavor could leave you uncovered and financially exposed. So, before you accept that first ride or order for delivery, it is important to make sure you have the necessary insurance coverage.

A denial of coverage letter from your car insurance company following a claim could mean personal responsibility for property damages or bodily injury damages you cause. Personal responsibility means having to pay out of pocket for your own damages and the damage you may cause to others. Moreover, personal responsibility potentially means harmful effects on your credit, liens on your real property, and garnishments on your income and tax returns. The purpose of insurance, after all, is to protect your financial interests.

Also alarming is the scenario where you are involved in a crash with an uninsured driver causing you to sustain personal injury and property damage. In this situation, your own automobile insurance policy’s uninsured motorist benefits will be available to you, only if an exclusion does not apply. Let us examine further.

Remember that automobile insurance policy booklet mailed to your house or given to you by the agent who sold you the policy? I encourage you to read it to make sure you are covered. Missouri automobile insurance policies contain a coverage exclusion section. Here, the insurance carrier will define specific situations when coverage will be excluded. Simply put—if your crash and the damages caused whether to property or bodily injury, maybe excluded altogether and your insurance company will not pay, nor have an obligation to defend you in a lawsuit.

Below are sample coverages from four common insurance carriers in Missouri: State Farm, GEICO, American Family, and Progressive.

State Farm, responsible for insuring approximately twenty percent of the automobiles on the roadways of Missouri specifically excludes coverage for ride-sharing for hire. Here is an excerpt from a sample State Farm policy:

“Exclusions

  1. FOR DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE OWNERSHIP, MAINTENANCE, OR USE OF A VEHICLE WHILE IT IS BEING USED TO CARRY PERSONS FOR A CHARGE.”[3]

GEICO, goes one step further and excludes both passengers and goods for hire. Here is the example taken from a sample GEICO policy:

“Exclusions:

 When This Coverage Does Not Apply

  1. There is no coverage for bodily injury sustained by any occupant of an owned auto used to carry passengers or goods for hire.”[4]

Another example taken from a sample American Family Insurance policy:

“EXCLUSIONS:

We will not pay for:

  1. bodily injury or property damage arising out of the use of a vehicle to carry persons for a charge.”[5]

Then, Progressive, who defines the exclusions for ride-sharing and transportation of goods for a hire a bit further.

EXCLUSIONS – READ THE FOLLOWING EXCLUSIONS CAREFULLY. IF AN EXCLUSION APPLIES, COVERAGE WILL NOT BE AFFORDED UNDER THIS PART I.

Coverage under this Part I, including our duty to defend, will not apply to any insured person for:

  1. bodily injury or property damage arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of any vehicle or trailer while being used to carry persons or property for compensation or a fee, including, but not limited to, pickup or delivery of magazines, newspapers, food, or any other products.”[6]

The excerpts from the insurance policies above are explicit in their exclusion for ride-sharing and/or transporting goods for hire. So, what are you to do? Well, it depends. The first place to look is at your own automobile insurance policy. I encourage you to get a firm understanding of your automobile insurance policy. It is important to keep up to date on your coverages. Often, insurance carriers will include additional exclusions when your policy renews. Now, and any time you receive a renewal notice with policy changes, it is important to read them and make sure you are covered.

Are you covered or is that ride-share/food delivery excluded? If you determine from the exclusions section of your policy that you are not covered for your new income venture, it is important you act to protect yourself before it is too late. One option is to purchase insurance through the ride-share or delivery company. The other option is to contact your automobile insurance carrier to purchase a specific ridesharing insurance endorsement.[7] This endorsement will result in a fraction of an increase in your premiums.

Either way—it is imperative to act now and assure you are covered.


[i]

[1] Alex Ledbetter, Esq. is a Trial Lawyer at Finney Injury Law. Finney Injury Law is a St. Louis, Missouri based law firm dedicated to helping those who have suffered an automobile or trucking crash, brain injury, or a slip and fall. 314.293.4222 | www.finneyinjurylaw.com

[2] Uber, UberEats are registered trademarks of Uber Technologies, Inc; Lyft is a registered trademark of Lyft, Inc; Postmates is a registered trademark of Postmates, Inc; SHIPT is a registered trademark of SHIPT, Inc.

[3] Missouri Department of Insurance, State Farm Car Policy Booklet, Missouri Policy Form 9825A, available at https://insurance.mo.gov/consumers/auto/documents/9825A.pdf.

[4] Missouri Department of Insurance, GEICO Missouri Family Automobile Insurance Policy, available at https://insurance.mo.gov/consumers/auto/documents/a30mo-12-05.pdf.

[5] Missouri Department of Insurance, American Family Insurance, Auto Family Car Policy, available at https://insurance.mo.gov/consumers/auto/documents/U5Ed6.05Rev11.11.pdf.

[6] Missouri Department of Insurance, Missouri Auto Policy, Progressive Drive Insurance, available at https://insurance.mo.gov/consumers/auto/documents/9610.MO.1005.pdf.

[7] State Farm, Do You Need Rideshare Insurance?, available at https://www.statefarm.com/insurance/auto/coverage-options/rideshare-insurance; American Family Insurance, Rideshare Car Insurance, available at https://www.amfam.com/insurance/car/rideshare; Progressive, Rideshare Insurance, available at https://www.progressive.com/auto/insurance-coverages/rideshare/; GEICO, One policy covers personal use plus driving for Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies, available at https://www.geico.com/rideshare-insurance/.

[i] The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only. The information provided should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer-client relationship. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon an advertisement.

Meet the Author: Alex Ledbetter

Posted Under: Insurance, Personal Injury

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