Tennessee Lyft, Uber Drivers Urged To Check Car Insurance Policies

Critics question Lyft's insurance coverage as the company enters new markets.

Critics question Lyft’s insurance coverage as the company enters new markets.

State insurance officials are warning Uber and Lyft drivers to carefully check their insurance policies.

More and more people are becoming drivers for app-based services where they use their own cars to ferry people around town. Drivers are required to have both company and personal auto coverage, but state officials say the coverage may be inadequate.

Because Uber and Lyft are essentially taxis but are not regulated as such, claims can be tricky to process, and liability is often hard to determine, says Katelyn Abernathy.

Abernathy is a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Commerce and Insurance. She says in the event of an accident, a driver could be stuck with a wrecked car or carrying unpaid medical bills.

“There absolutely is a gray area when it comes to where their personal coverage ends and when excess coverage begins,” she said. “And it’s just very important for Tennesseans to know what is within both policies before they sign the dotted line and become a driver.”

Abernathy says drivers may need to buy a full commercial policy to be certain that they have sufficient coverage.

Last month, Lyft announced additional insurance coverage for drivers, and four days later Uber did the same. The changes follows new attention being directed on the car share services after an Uber driver fatally struck  a 6-year-old girl in San Fransisco over New Year’s Eve.

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