Hybrid word for Uber, Lyft drivers is on a way

  • Drivers for services including Lyft, identified by a pinkish mustache, would be means to squeeze an amendment to their policies that would cover a time they are watchful to be summoned by a rider, as compulsory by a new state law. Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / 2014 Getty Images


Drivers for Lyft, Uber and Sidecar shortly should have some new hybrid personal-commercial automobile policies to overpass a much-discussed “insurance gap.”

At slightest 5 companies are exploring new products for ride-service drivers, according Chris Shultz, emissary commissioner of a California Department of Insurance. On Thursday, a dialect pronounced it’s prepared to accept applications to emanate policies to cover drivers when they spin on a smartphone app indicating they’re accessible to accept riders though haven’t nonetheless perceived a request, a time called Period 1 in a industry.

The word opening happens given a float services’ $1 million policies don’t flog in until a motorist is en lane to collect adult a newcomer (although some offer reduce Period 1 coverage), while personal policies customarily exclude to cover for-hire driving. A new California law, AB2293, that will take outcome Jul 1, sets out smallest coverage for Period 1.

“We’ve non-stop a window (for applications) early to try to get a word in place earlier so a drivers and everybody else will be protected,” Shultz said.

Regulators wish any process will ask to all a float companies, given many drivers record into dual or some-more services to boost their chances of removing a discerning compare to a float request.

“If there’s difficulty about who’s responsible, it would mystify each fender-bender,” Shultz said. “We’re perplexing to equivocate that by ensuring drivers can buy an publicity that covers mixed services, and isn’t only disdainful with Uber, Lyft or Sidecar.”

The float services already have copiousness of intensity for word disputes given coverage toggles on and off during a several segments of a trip. A scandalous instance occurred New Year’s Eve when an UberX motorist strike and killed a immature lady in San Francisco — reportedly when he was logged in though hadn’t perceived a float request, definition Uber can theoretically avoid word responsibility. Her family is suing Uber over a case. A deadly Lyft collision outward Sacramento this month occurred during a paid ride, and Lyft pronounced a word will cover a incident.

Commercial policies for livery/taxis/limos can cost $3,000 to $10,000 a year, Shultz said, many times some-more than personal coverage. New coverage would substantially supplement an publicity — a agreement amendment — to existent personal policies, observant that ride-service activity is covered. But what it would cost and how insurers would heed between someone who drives for sinecure full time contra a few hours a week sojourn unclear.

Some insurers already have accurate mileage programs, in that they put a device in a policyholder’s automobile or get information from Carfax or Jiffy Lube to lane mileage, Shultz said.

The 5 insurers meddlesome in rebellious a emanate are a brew of domicile names and tiny enterprises. “Three of them have TV commercials; dual I’ve never listened of,” Shultz said. One obvious association is MetLife Auto Home, that in May announced that it is operative on coverage for Lyft drivers.

AB2293, by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, requires Period 1 coverage of $50,000 for repairs to one person, $100,000 for mixed persons, and $30,000 for skill damage.

Carolyn Said is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: csaid@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @csaid

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