Driving for Uber and insurance

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If you drive for Uber, make sure you have the right insurance in place.

Over the past few years Uber has entered the public consciousness in a large way, whether you have become an active user or because of one of many controversies surrounding the San Francisco-based taxi alternative to have hit the headlines.

Indeed, in September this year, Transport for London (TfL) decided not to renew Uber’s licence to operate in the city, meaning that it would have to cease all operations immediately. Though Uber has filed an appeal, meaning its drivers are free to pick up punters for the indefinite future, it seems that their business will become more regulated and brought in line with the city’s famous black cabs.

On the other hand, Uber provides not only a valuable source of employment for many thousands of drivers but also an invaluable service to customers, who appreciate the convenience and cheaper price of the platform’s rides. As a result, becoming an Uber driver is an attractive career move for many looking to get into the taxi business, whether as an addition to an existing income or as a complete career replacement.

Getting some things straight

For those who are hoping to start driving for Uber, there are a few complicated parts of driving for the sharing-economy service. Foremost among these considerations is the fact that Uber describes its drivers as independent contractors, meaning that the company itself takes no responsibility for checking on the conduct of drivers or the condition of their vehicles, as opposed to traditional private and public taxi operators.

This fundamentally means that drivers are responsible for their own insurance arrangements, unlike those working for private or public taxi firms, who will often provide coverage for their employees. You also need a private hire vehicle licence, available from either a local authority or TfL depending on where you are located.

Drivers need their own coverage and insurers will require that they have the appropriate taxi insurance: private car or van policies will be invalidated as soon as your vehicle is carrying paying passengers, even if usually covered for your private driving.

Getting the best coverage

In most cases this means that private hire vehicle insurance is the most appropriate policy to go for, particularly those that offer hire and reward coverage. Public liability insurance is also an important aspect to include, which will cover a driver from any claims made arising from loss or injuries incurred by the general public – including passengers.

Uber does have an insurance policy that covers its drivers – but this will only pay out in the event of an accident and where a driver’s insurance has refused to pay out. So be warned.

As Uber is an emerging service in many parts of the world, it’s advisable to speak to an insurance provider or broker directly in order to ensure that you are getting the right coverage. Do not be confused by Uber’s guidelines for drivers in the USA – there, the firm offers insurance for the private hire journey, with drivers only requiring coverage for their private rides.

In the UK, however, you need at least full commercial vehicle coverage. The requirements on Uber drivers’ insurance do differ from one local authority to the next, too, with some insisting on full private hire policies with an extra £5 million worth of public liability and £10 million worth of employers’ liability insurance.

There are a few ways of cutting down costs. The most obvious one is if you already have a private hire licence, and have worked as a cab driver for some time. Most insurers will take this into account and could charge a reduced premium as a result.

Where to go

There are a range of private hire taxi insurance providers around there, but how do you know you are getting the best deal?

For one, it’s a good idea to shop around and compare prices and coverage offered. Many policies will differ in the exact extra coverage given, how insurers will transfer no claims bonuses, etc., so the best way to get the best deal is to compare many providers at once.

From your point of view, some insurance providers will also have a track record of providing coverage to taxi firms, and will already know all the ins and outs of covering that particular industry. Seeking these insurers out can mean that you are dealing with a company which immediately understands what driving an Uber is all around, which can be invaluable in the long run.

The best way to make sure that you are both comparing as many different policies and providers at the same time, and getting exactly the right insurance product, is to use a broker like ChoiceQuote. We can compare a range of different policies at once and, by tailoring your search to your exact needs, make sure you are covered as fully as you need – all the while keeping premiums as low as possible.

Call 01625 400201 to discuss insuring your taxi today.