Commercial Auto Insurance For Rideshare Drivers – Is Your “Side Hustle” Properly Insured?: A summary of Colorado insurance requirements and considerations for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing/transportation network company drivers and insurers.
Drivers of all ages, shapes, sizes and trades flock to the opportunity for quick cash and flexible schedules that the ride-sharing industry promises. The ease and benefits of a “secondary preface” are definitely attractive: there’s no need for a degree; without strong investments; all you need is access to a car and free time, so go. But before jumping in and logging in, rideshare drivers in Colorado would be wise to read the fine print and state law. The fruits of your side hobby can quickly turn rotten if drivers don’t meet the special insurance requirements that Colorado has implemented in the wake of this bustling industry.
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Likewise, auto insurers writing policies in Colorado are well advised to understand the new laws, which have established a new type of mandatory insurance coverage that has not been underwritten before. While it may present an opportunity to sell new products, insurers must also consider the implications of the law and its nuances on underwriting, claims and insurance investigations. Below is a brief summary of the insurance requirements affected by this legislation and considerations for both ridesharing drivers and insurers who wish to take advantage of the opportunities that ridesharing offers.
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Over the past five or six years, Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies have entered the Colorado transportation market and greatly expanded the means for Colorado citizens to get from point A to point B. They have marketed new technologies and apps that they make it easy for citizens to both find rides and make money by providing rides to others. In addition to bringing innovation and economic growth to the state, these new business models have presented challenges to existing legal, regulatory and insurance paradigms for traditional means of personal and public transportation. With the advent and rapid growth of these ride-sharing companies, called “Transportation Network Companies” (“TNCs”), the Colorado Legislature led the pack in 2015 by creating new legislation to regulate this unique category of business.
To understand the provisions of the new laws governing transnational corporations, you should also be aware of the existing laws governing Colorado auto insurance. Below are some of the key statutes that set the stage for understanding auto insurance requirements under the new TNC statute.
The Colorado Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act (C.R.S. § 42-7-101 et seq.) establishes financial responsibility requirements for drivers on Colorado roads. Colorado law also mandates mandatory liability insurance coverage for motor vehicles on public roads. Sections 10-4-619 and 620 of the Colorado Revised Statutes require motor vehicle owners to carry a minimum liability insurance of “twenty-five thousand dollars for any person in an accident and fifty thousand dollars for all people in an accident and for property damage”. arising from the use of the motor vehicle up to a limit, exclusive of interest and costs, of fifteen thousand dollars in each accident.” C.R.S. § 10-4-619 – 20.
The law also sets limitations on the conditions and exclusions allowed for mandatory coverages: “The coverage described in section 10-4-620 may be subject to conditions and exclusions not inconsistent with the requirements of this part 6.” C.R.S. § 10-4-623 (1).
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(10) “Policy” means an automobile insurance policy that covers all or any of the following: collision liability, comprehensive bodily injury liability, property damage liability, medical payments, and uninsured motorist coverage, or a policy combined motor vehicle that provides bodily harm. liability, property damage liability, medical payments, uninsured motorist and personal injury coverage, delivered or issued for delivery in this state, insuring a single person, or husband and wife, or family members residing in the same domicile, according to the designated insured, and by virtue of which the insured vehicles designated therein are only of the following types:
(a) A motor vehicle of the private passenger type or pickup truck that is not used as a means of public or non-passenger transportation or leased to others under the terms of a motor vehicle rental agreement[.]
When drivers and companies are engaged in the transportation of passengers (“carriers”), they are subject to different insurance obligations as well as additional rules and regulations. Colorado has separate and extensive laws and regulations for taxis, shuttles, and limousines. These obligations impose significant financial and compliance burdens.
Around 2013-2014, a new and different category emerged for drivers and companies that facilitate ride sharing by using technology and software (apps) to arrange trips between drivers and riders. With the advent and rapid growth of these ride-sharing technology companies like Uber and Lyft, the Colorado legislature recognized the need to create a new law to address these companies and drivers as distinct from private motor vehicle operators and carriers. These ride-sharing technology companies have been given the title of “Transportation Network Companies” (“TNCs”), and the Colorado Legislature recently enacted a legal framework that facilitates and regulates the operation of TNCs in the state. They worked to create a law that would balance public safety with a free market and the public’s desire for easier access to employment opportunities.
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This legislation began in 2014 and since 2014 additional rules and additions and statutory amendments have been enacted to regulate TNCs. Colorado is at the forefront of states enacting such legislation. Accordingly, the laws and regulations are still fairly new, with little or no case law interpreting and applying these statutes.
Among the recently enacted legislation, C.R.S. § 40-10.1-604 is most relevant to the insurance obligations of ETNs. The statute is entitled “Registration – financial responsibility of transport network companies – insurance”. As the title suggests, this statute defines the financial responsibilities of TNCs (and TNC drivers) in Colorado and their insurance obligations. The statute recognizes three distinct periods in which TNCs and/or drivers have different insurance responsibilities: When a driver is not connected to the TNC at all (“no connection”); when a driver is registered in a TNC digital network but does not participate in a pre-arranged ride (“in-app”), and when a driver participates in a pre-arranged ride (“in-ride”).
When a driver is offline, the TNC is not required to provide insurance. During this time period, the driver is responsible for complying with Colorado financial responsibility and mandatory insurance prescribed by C.R.S. §§ 42-7-101 et seq., 10-4-619 and 10-4-620 (requiring minimum $25,000/$50,000/$15,000 liability coverage). In other words, an out-of-line driver is simply a typical everyday driver whose personal auto liability policy would provide the primary coverage in the event of an accident.
When a driver is on the app, the driver has logged into the TNC’s digital network in anticipation of getting a prearranged trip for compensation (but has not accepted a trip). A driver who signs in to the Uber Driver App will be considered integrated into the app. During this time period, C.R.S. § 40-10.1-604(3) requires the driver, or the TNC on the driver’s behalf, to maintain a primary automobile insurance policy that:
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(I) Acknowledges that the driver is a carrier network company driver and covers the driver’s provision of carrier network company services while the driver is connected to the carrier network company’s digital network;
(II) Meets at least minimum coverage of at least fifty thousand dollars for any person in an accident, one hundred thousand dollars for all persons in an accident, and for property damage resulting from the use of the motor vehicle for a limit, exclusive of interest and costs, of thirty thousand dollars in any accident; e
(B) An insurance broker or endorser of the driver’s personal automobile insurance policy required by the “Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act,” section 7 of title 42, C.R.S.; or
(C) A liability insurance policy purchased by the transportation network company that provides primary coverage for the period of time a driver is connected to the digital network.
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Thus, during the period of time a driver is on the application, they must have purchased (or the TNC must have purchased on their behalf) either a full-time policy, an insurance policy with a personal policy, or a corporate liability policy . , what
And with a cap of $50,000/$100,000/$30,000. These minimum liability amounts are double Colorado’s minimum financial responsibility and mandatory insurance requirements.
When a driver is in motion, the driver is on a “pre-arranged trip.” The law is defined as the “period of time that begins when a driver accepts a ride requested via a digital network, continues while the driver is transporting the rider in a personal vehicle, and ends when the driver exits the personal vehicle.” C.R.S. § 40-10.1-602. During this time period, the TNC or driver must provide primary liability insurance coverage in the amount of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence. C.R.S. § 40-10.1-604(2). Below is a chart summarizing the insurance requirements for the three relevant time periods.
The TNC has an important responsibility to demonstrate to the commission that the company or the driver has obtained the required insurance.
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C.R.S. § 40-10.1-604(2) and (3)(d). Although the responsibility of purchasing this insurance is on either of you