Contents:

14 min read

    14 min read

    If you’ve recently gotten into an accident while driving for Uber/Lyft, we recommend speaking with Bryant Greening, an attorney at LegalRideshare – (312)767-7950.  Head to the Uber Accident Lawyer page to learn more.

    If you want to purchase Uber and Lyft car insurance, see our Uber and Lyft rideshare insurance marketplace. Or click here to purchase Uber life insurance.

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    Uber & Lyft Drivers: What to do when you get into a car accident

    I get e-mails all the time from drivers who get into accidents while driving for Uber and Lyft and have no idea what to do. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and instead of waiting until it’s too late, I can’t stress how important it is to take a proactive approach and figure out what you need to know ahead of time.  

    As with many things in life, it isn’t a matter of “if” but a matter of “when”.  When the time comes and you have an accident while rideshare driving, you will want to be prepared.  You can ignore the risk and pretend that you’re the best driver on the road, but at the end of the day, the more you drive, the more likely it is that you will get into an accident.

    What should you do if/when you get into an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft

    What should you do if/when you get into an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft

    Understanding what to do in the event of an accident and how the process works will help to relieve some of the stress that is involved with each and every accident.  This article should help prepare you for the inevitable but working with a good personal agent is probably your next best bet.

    More and more states are starting to offer rideshare friendly policies which means there are more and more agents that you can contact for help.  You can find a full list of rideshare insurance options by visiting our Rideshare Insurance Page where we also have recommendations for local agents who know what type of policies drivers need.

     

    Car insurance for Uber and Lyft drivers: Things to know before you’re in an accident

    Let’s talk a bit about how insurance works in general when you get into an accident.  I will be talking exclusively about states that assign fault. No fault states simplify things as your insurance company will always pay your damages regardless of fault, but most states assign fault and financial responsibility.

    How to Handle an Accident While Driving for Uber/Lyft

    If You Are At Fault

    This means that you and your insurance company bear the brunt of the financial responsibility.  Here are the different pieces of the insurance policy and what they apply to:

    • Liability – This part of your policy will cover damage to other cars, property and people that were involved in the accident.  Any injured persons that were in your car that are not direct family members are covered by liability as well. There is no deductible for any liability claims.
    • Collision – This part of your policy covers damages to your own vehicle.  There is usually a deductible associated with collision insurance and varies policy to policy.
    • Medical – This is one of the most misunderstood parts of insurance.  Medical insurance covers yourself and anyone else in your car for medical expenses prior to assignment of fault.

    If the Other Driver is At Fault

    This is certainly a better situation than the first example, but this is where most people get confused.  Coverages are used differently.

    • Liability – Not used here since you were not at fault.
    • Collision – This coverage is used temporarily until your insurance coverage can get payment from the other insurance company.  With most insurance companies, you will be subject to a deductible until the other insurance company pays.
    • Uninsured/Underinsured – This coverage is to protect you and your passengers should you get into an accident with an uninsured driver.  This coverage will pay out in the case the other person is at fault but does not have insurance.
    • Medical – This covers you and your passengers until the other insurance company pays.

    If the other driver is at fault, your insurance company should pay for the damages (mostly) and has a legal right and responsibility to collect from the insurance company of the at-fault party.  This is a valuable service that insurance companies perform if you allow them to, if the damages are higher than your collision deductible and/or if there are injuries.

    But you also have the option of going through the other person’s insurance company and/or hiring a personal injury lawyer who specializes in rideshare insurance (they typically work for free if the other person is at fault and collect their fee at the end).

    If fault needs to be determined, then it is handled like the other person is at fault until responsibility for the accident can be assigned.

    👉Related article: Life insurance for Uber drivers

    What Do You Do In Case of an Accident?

    With all the boring, but important, background information out of the way, here is what you should do if you get into an accident while in a ride request with Uber, Lyft or Sidecar.

        • License plate – Make sure you get the license plate of the other car in case they decide to take off.
        • Exchange information – Take pictures of the other person’s insurance card and drivers license.  Allow them to do the same.
        • Listen – It is more important to gather information than it is to provide information.  If you aren’t sure what happened, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.”  Also, pay attention to what the other party or parties are saying about the accident.  People who know they are at fault but don’t want to admit it will often lie to get out of the accident.  These lies usually contradict the evidence but it is especially important to note if the other party changes their story multiple times after the accident.
        • Witnesses – If there are witnesses, ask for their information and if they are willing to speak to police and insurance companies if asked.  If the other party is protesting that they were at fault and they clearly were, you would surprised how many people will come to your aid.
          • This includes passengers in your rideshare vehicle. Make sure to ask for their contact information in case they decide to take off.
        • Police – Always call the police to make a police report. It’s best if the police are willing to come to the scene of the accident to take statements, collect evidence, etc. If the police are not willing to come to the scene, you should make a report at the nearest police station. Accident reports are used as evidence in insurance claims. When talking to the police, make sure to describe the accident in detail and explain any pains you are feeling.
        • Be nice and keep an open mind – Regardless of who was at fault, be nice.  Emotions will be high so it is best to bring calm to a situation that can be the exact opposite of calm.
        • Do not admit fault – Unless fault is obvious, do not admit fault.  You don’t have to blame the other person, but it isn’t necessary to fall on the sword either.
        • Notes or recording – Recording your thoughts soon after the accident will help you remember small details.  Things happen quickly.  Taking a few moments to replay what happened in your head soon after the accident is a very good idea.
        • Describe injuries and pains – Tell the police if you are hurt, in pain, or feeling “off.” Many people brush off minor pains after an accident and tell police that they are “fine.” Remember, seemingly minor injuries can worsen in the hours and days after a crash. If you’re in pain at the scene, that fact should be in the police report.  Keep your wits about you – The first few minutes after an accident are very important.  Here is what you need to gather.
    • If driving as a rideshare driver, provide Uber and Lyft’s insurance info as primary insurance, not your personal policy.  Uber and Lyft’s insurance is primary insurance when you have an active ride request (or are en route to a rider) so be sure to use Uber’s, Lyft’s, etc. insurance.

    In a recent podcast interview we had with Bryant Greening of LegalRideshare, Bryant also recommends you take pictures of your car and the other person’s car. You’ll want to document everything for the police report and/or insurance, so take more pictures than you think you need.

    Looking for a handy checklist on handling an accident? You can download a checklist below for how to handle accidents here (postcard size, so you can keep it in your glove box!):

    In order to find your Uber proof of insurance, go to waybill from the menu on the driver app and scroll down to the bottom of the waybill.  You will see Uber’s insurance information there and that is what you will provide to the other driver.

    With Lyft, go to Help → Help Center → Report an Accident, Safety Incident or Citation. You can also use the Search bar for Lyft’s Certificates of Insurance. Here’s what it will look like in your driver app, plus what your certificate may look like:

    Contact Your Rideshare Company

    With that out of the way, you will now want to contact your rideshare company.  You can call Lyft’s emergency hotline (855-865-9553) or Uber’s emergency hotline (800-285-6172).  They will assist you in starting the process of your claim with their insurance.

    After the accident is reported, Uber or Lyft will most likely suspend your account until you can prove your car has no damage.  When you start a claim, you are letting them know that your car is damaged, so it makes sense. In order to reactivate your account, you will need to provide proof that the damage is minimal enough as to not affect the customer experience or proof that repairs have been made.

    It’s obviously not ideal to be suspended but informing the rideshare company of an accident is very important. You want to put the company on notice of the accident so there are not any insurance coverage issues down the road.

    For me, it was less than two hours from the time I provided proof via email until I was reactivated.

    Uber or Lyft’s insurance will then ask you to get an estimate of the damages. Uber and Lyft’s rideshare insurance will only become involved in the process if:

    • You are at fault or
    • The damage to your vehicle is higher than the deductible.

    If the damage is lower than the deductible and the other person is at fault, then you are on your own to recover the damages. From here, if Uber/Lyft’s insurance is handling the claim, the process is simple as they handle everything.

    Things become more difficult in situations where you are not at fault and damage is less than the deductible.  The deductible for Uber is $1,000 and the deductible for Lyft is $2,500.

    Related Article: Lyft’s $2,500 Collision Deductible Explained

    Will You Be Compensated for Lost Wages?

    According to Bryant Greening of LegalRideshare, if you have medical bills and lost wages, it may be a good idea to hire a lawyer. Insurance companies do not want to have to pay out any more than they have to, but firms familiar with handling insurance lawsuits (like LegalRideshare) have the experience to navigate the insurance world, work with networks of medical providers – and help you, the injured driver. Note: It’s worth consulting with LegalRideshare, as it’s the only law firm entirely dedicated to rideshare accident and injury claims.

    If you are looking to be compensated for lost wages, you’ll want to gather several weeks’ worth of your pay stubs. Go back a month or two if possible to show exactly how much you make, on average, to justify how much you are seeking in lost wages.

    Will Uber and Lyft Cover Lost Wages If You Get Into an Accident?

     

    As a Rideshare Driver…

    There is a lot to think about here, so here are a few things you should remember as a rideshare driver about preparing for the eventual accident.

    • Deductible – Have the amount of the Lyft or Uber deductible saved.  It is highly likely you will need this money in order to get back on the road quickly even if you aren’t at fault.  Lyft’s deductible is $2,500 which is admittedly high.  Uber’s is more reasonable at $1,000.
    • Down Time – An accident will take you off the road.  If the damage is so minor that it doesn’t affect your passengers experience, then you can be back on the road quickly.  If the damage is more severe, you could be off the road for weeks. There are many variables involved with repairing vehicles including part availability.  Plan on 4 weeks and work with your repair shop to try and cut that time down.
    • Report the accident – The way to report the accident differs between the rideshare companies.  With Uber, you can call 800-285-6172. With Lyft, they ask you to call 855-865-9553.
    • Which insurance to report the accident to – What “period” you are in when the accident occurs affects who you report the accident to.  During period 1 (online without an active ride request), Uber and Lyft insurance is primary in some states and contingent in most others.  If insurance is contingent in your state, that means that it is secondary and will only cover you if your own insurance company doesn’t cover you.  During Period 1, if you are going to contact insurance at all, you need to contact your personal insurance company. They will likely ask you if you are an Uber or Lyft driver (this is a standard insurance question now) and if you haven’t told your insurance company that you are a rideshare driver, you do run the risk of your claim being denied and/or dropped.  During periods 2 and 3 (active ride request with or without the passenger in the car), you should contact Uber or Lyft as they are the primary insurance at that time in all states.
    • Communicate with your personal insurance agent – Your personal insurance agent can be a great source of information.  While they won’t be the person to facilitate your claim, they will point you in the right direction and keep you on the right track.  We have created a list of good reliable insurance agents so this is a great place to start when looking for rideshare friendly policies.

    Looking for a handy checklist on handling an accident? You can download a checklist below for how to handle accidents here (postcard size, so you can keep it in your glove box!):

    Handling the claim Without Uber/Lyft’s Insurance or Your Personal Insurance Company

    The operative word is Diligence.  If you want to recover your damages, you need to stay on top of the other person’s insurance company.  Things that will help and things to watch out for are:

    • Witnesses – I cannot stress enough how much witnesses can help.  If it becomes your word against the other driver’s, it becomes more difficult.
    • Labor rate – This is a common way for insurance companies to low ball the claim amount.  Don’t let them do it unless you know your shop can do it for that amount anyway.  This can be a bit of a game since body shops know to price high in order to counteract the labor rate issue.  Yes, there are pricing standards, but….
    • Persistent – Call the other insurance company.  Be nice but force them to commit to a timeframe.  If the timeframe is too long, let them know that. Follow-up with them when they miss deadlines and they will.
    • Don’t threaten – There are subtle ways to let them know this can be done the easy way or the hard way.  Express, after they have missed the third deadline, that you have been patient but they continue to say one thing and do another.  Ask them to confirm things that you both agree on. They are not used to dealing with reasonable people. This is one situation where honey will get you a lot further than vinegar.
    • Last resort – Of course if you can’t get them to make a payment, then you will need to seek representation.

    If you’re looking for an attorney to represent you (especially if you have medical claims), we recommend you check out our Uber Accident Lawyer page here.

    If you are still with me after this marathon article, you understand the importance of insurance and knowing what to do.  Please share any personal experiences or any questions you may have in the comments.

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    -Harry @ RSG

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.

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