In the modern transportation market, companies like Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar have emerged to help get users from point A to point B. But with current regulations, there are questions about who is protected against potential liabilities when something goes wrong. Tonight Lyft sought to alleviate some of those concerns with the announcement that its insurance will cover drivers even when they aren’t actively driving a passenger that requested a ride on its platform.
Lyft had previously obtained insurance that covered any incident when a passenger was in a car. But the company’s liability was unclear at times in which drivers had signed on to accept rides but had not yet picked someone up. That differs from the typical taxi structure, in which drivers are generally covered so long as they are in a marked car.
For Lyft that means obtaining insurance between the time a contracted driver logs on and when they log off. There have been some questions about this, in part due to a fatal accident in which a man who drove for Uber ran over several members of a family while off-duty. For its part, Lyft is trying to provide some clarity about when its drivers will be covered.
In a statement, the company announced that it will cover the time in which Lyft drivers have passengers in their cars, in addition to the time in-between. In a statement sent to TechCrunch, the company said:
While we do expect personal carriers to cover the time period prior to carrying a passenger, in order to erase any uncertainty, Lyft will now provide additional protection. This new protection will provide backstop coverage to drivers when they are in match mode and are not providing rides. We will be rolling this out state-by-state in the days to come.
For Lyft, the move follows a broader initiative toward working with regulators and personal insurance carriers as part of the new Peer-To-Peer Ridesharing Coalition, which it announced earlier this year.