Wildly popular with passengers, Uber has struggled with regulators throughout Canada. Positioning itself as not a taxi company, but rather a ‘ride share’ it has managed to fall between cracks for licencing and insurance in most jurisdictions. Traditional taxi firms have cried foul, municipalities are scrambling to get some regulation over the company. Lack of insurance for the drivers and passengers has been a huge concern.
Ontario’s insurance regulator FSCO (Financial Services Commission of Ontario) announced last week that it has approved a policy from Intact insurance that would cover the driver from the time the app is turned on until the passengers disembark from the vehicle. The coverage will be ‘blanket fleet coverage’ and is meant to address the insurance gap in the industry, and will cover owners, drivers and passengers. It does not cover drivers when the app is turned off, in those cases the vehicle owner's policy applies. The drivers don’t need to do anything or be Intact customers to get the coverage. It came into effect on July 7, 2016.
Other ride sharing platforms like KangaRide or LaZooz are not part of the blanket coverage. FSCO has advised that people using those apps may not be covered for certain damages or losses in the case of accident or injury. They strongly urge all ride share drivers to inform their personal insurers to advise them of the activity. Insurers are neither required to provide insurance for personal vehicles that carry paid passengers, nor are they required to renew policies for people that do.
If you are an Uber driver you should talk to Uber and Intact to determine exactly what coverages you will have, and what further coverage you may wish to carry. Drivers have been approved to use an electronic insurance card, the pink slip, in order to show proof of insurance when driving for Uber. It will be activated when the driver logs in to the Uber app.
Passengers of an Uber car involved in a crash should get all the details of the accident including a copy of the driver’s insurance slip, licence plate and any other relevant information. You should contact your own car insurance company as well for advice.