It comes as no surprise to all of us who live in and around the national capital region that car sharing continues to be a growing trend. Inviting those you don't know into your vehicle to take advantage of high occupancy vehicle (HOV) conveniences offers clear rewards, but it introduces risk as well. The risks associated with participating in ride-sharing services are multiple but the most glaring risk is associated with the potential for gaps in insurance coverage in the unfortunate event of an accident or injury. Let's discuss the potential effects upon your private auto insurance policy when you ride share in VA, DC, or MD.
Some auto insurers are considering revising their policies to address car sharing. While every personal auto insurance policy differs, most contain exclusions when a person uses their vehicle for non-personal uses. Believe it or not, beating beltway traffic by sharing your vehicle may or may not be considered personal use of your vehicle from the insurance industry's perspective. Several insurers have developed products to fill gaps in coverage created by commercial ride-sharing and the common use of livery exclusions in personal auto insurance.
Before you agree to care share, consider this:
1) If you ride share, it is commonly accepted that you carry a minimum of $100,000 in bodily injury, $300,000 per accident, and property damage up to $100,000. In this sue-happy age that we live in, high net-worth individuals should carry higher limits.
2)State minimums vary and liability requirements can be as low as $10,000 per injury per person; $20,000 for all injuries and $10,000 for property damage per accident. Don't fall for that as it is not enough to cover your ride sharing risk.
3) If you have dropped collision and comprehensive coverage from your policy on an older car to save money, that may or may not add risk to you as a ride sharing driver. We point that out here to remind you that should you ever rent a car, you'll need to purchase additional insurance coverage when you rent a car to be covered in the event the car is lost or stolen.
4) Parents of teens and young adults who allow them to ride share within your vehicle puts you at unique risk. Placing the lives of others in the hands of your inexperienced child driver is only asking for trouble.
We're not advising you to forgo the undeniable conveniences of sharing your vehicle with others. We do, however, recommend that you be fully informed about the risks involved and to assess whether or not you are adequately protected against the unthinkable. Your independent insurance agents at TriState Business Insurance can help you assess that. Give us a call!