Modern ride share platforms like Lyft and Uber have made it easier than ever to get around. But the big, messy challenge has been figuring out who, exactly, is responsible for accidents when they happen.
With rider safety being paramount to the long-term health of its business, Lyft today announced it is expanding its insurance coverage to cover drivers even when they don't have a passenger with them. Previously, drivers were only covered if they were actively transporting a Lyft customer, for up to $1 million, but not necessarily when they were, say, on their way to pick someone up. A Lyft representative said in a statement, "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.
Uber announced similar news today. The platform, which recently instituted a rule requiring new drivers to undergo federal background checks, has been feeling the heat after one of its drivers in San Francisco struck and killed a 6-year-old girl while off duty. Now, Uber X--which, like Lyft, allows pre-screened citizens to become drivers--will provide coverage up to $100,000 as long as the Uber driver had the app open and was available for ride requests. "We’re going to make sure those rides are covered," Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick told the New York Times, "so that that gap goes away."