Everything You Need to Know About Ride-Sharing and Insurance in Calgary
It's tempting. You could make lots of extra cash by signing up to drive for a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service. But it could also land you in financial trouble.
Back in November, the City of Calgary changed its regulations allowing ride-sharing services like Uber (and Uber X) and Lyft. They and several others have been hiring drivers with the lure of a chance to earn big money.
Taxi drivers aren't happy, of course, but Calgary has just fallen into line with other big cities like Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec (the city and the province) and Edmonton, allowing owner-drivers to carry fare-paying passengers. Hundreds of cities across North America have done the same.
If you're already a ride-sharing driver or thinking about becoming one, here are a few things you have to know:
- You'll be self-employed. You're not employed by a ride-hailing company. So be sure to look after your own interests.
- You'll have to sign a contract. Make sure you read it fully so you can spot their get-out clauses.
- It's also a good idea to talk to any other drivers you know to pick up tips on working hours and any difficulties.
- Your existing auto insurance probably won't cover you for driving for hire. Your existing policy could even be canceled because you broke the terms. You must check this with your insurer or broker.
- Some but not all of the ride-hailing companies provide insurance to pay for passenger liability claims while you're working for them, but they may not pay for any damage to your car or for driver injury costs.
- The level of their coverage varies depending on whether you just have the smartphone app that people use to hail a ride switched on or whether you're actually carrying passengers
- This insurance doesn't protect you when you're actually not working for them, that is, when you're not signed into the app.
- Think of this insurance as "supplemental" to your existing insurance. The ride-sharing companies will insist you have your own personal of commercial policy before theirs will kick in.
- Liability claims can run into tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it's a good idea to buy the most insurance your budget will allow.
- Some ride-sharing firms (and some cities) require drivers to have a full commercial driver's licence. That may depend on whether it's considered a full-time job or not.
Complicated? You bet. But, fortunately, with the growth of ride-sharing and ride-hailing services, some insurers have now drawn up special policies for these drivers.
This can often be added to an existing policy (which is cheaper) or issued as standalone commercial or ride-sharing insurance (which costs more but covers more and has higher limits).
The important point is that it's absolutely critical to talk to a ride-sharing insurance expert.
They can review your existing auto policy and tell you what it covers and where the gaps are. If they're good, they'll also have links to the big insurers who are already providing car-hailing insurance coverage.
They're also plugged into local regulations and other licensing issues, which you may not be able to find out about online.
We Can Help
In Calgary and beyond, Del Fisher Insurance are the people with this ride-sharing insurance expertise.
As Calgary's premier insurance broker, we've been serving citizens for 35 years and we already have in place the knowledge and the connections to secure the best ride-hailing insurance in Alberta.
We'll review your existing auto insurance policy, explain the essentials and the options, the risks and the costs, and tell you how to get the electronic insurance information you'll need to show service providers and passengers.
If you'd like to know how we can help and make your ride-sharing insurance a cinch -- and that won't cost you a cent -- please get in touch.