As a personal injury attorney in Florida, I am surprised on how many people use for-hire transportation without knowing if their driver has auto insurance or how much auto insurance.
We start with the traditional Taxi
Before Uber and Lyft arrived on to the scene, consumers were forced to use taxis as for-hire transportation. In Florida and pursuant to Florida Statute 627.733, taxi drivers are required to maintain a minimum amount of $125,000.00 in bodily injury (“BI”) insurance per person as well as $250,000.00 BI insurance for each accident.
As a result, if you are injured as a result of a taxi driver’s negligence, bodily injury coverage should be available to compensate you for medical bills and pain and suffering.
It should be noted, however, that taxi companies (at least in South Florida) oftentimes purchase insurance with Ascendant Commercial Insurance (“Ascendant”).
In our experience, Ascendent will look for ways to deny your claim usually by claiming that the at-fault taxi driver was not a listed insured on their policy and/or was an independent contractor.
If Ascendant denies the claim, the taxi driver will not be collectable and you will be out of luck.
Although I’m not sure why anyone would choose to travel by taxi as opposed to Uber or Lyft, do not travel by taxi unless you have ample uninsured motorist (“UM”) insurance. In the event that an at-fault driver has no BI insurance (or has insufficient BI insurance), your UM insurance “stands in the place” of the at-fault party and provides coverage to compensate you for your injuries.
I recommend that you MAX out your UM insurance to equal your BI insurance. At least $100,000.00 or $250,000.00 in coverage is recommended.
Here comes Uber to change the game
As opposed to taxis, you ARE protected if you’re traveling by Uber assuming the App is activated (“i.e. online”). While you are riding in an Uber and if the Uber driver is at fault, Uber provides up to $1,000,000 in BI coverage.
While you are riding in an Uber and if the Uber driver is NOT at fault, Uber provides up to $1,000,000 in UM coverage, if the at-fault driver has no BI insurance (or insufficient BI insurance).
Uber also provides up to a $1,000,000.00 in UM coverage if you’re involved in a hit-and-run.
Introducing the competition Lyft
Similar to Uber, you are protected if you’re traveling by Lyft assuming the APP is activated. While you are riding in an Lyft and if the Lyft driver is at fault, Lyft provides up to $1,000,000 in BI coverage.
While you are riding in an Lyft and if the Lyft driver is NOT at fault, Lyft provides up to $1,000,000 in UM coverage, if the at-fault driver has no BI insurance (or insufficient BI insurance).
Lyft also provides up to a $1,000,000.00 in UM coverage if you’re involved in a hit-and-run.
So the bottom-line with Uber, Lyft & Insurance
Notwithstanding that it is a better service, Uber and Lyft provide substantially more protection then a taxi in the event you are involved in an accident. If you are in involved in an auto accident, please call one of our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation.