This new coverage will provide drivers with insurance that will bridge the gap between their personal auto insurance and the coverage provided by their TNC, according to Mercury.
In the past, ride-hailing drivers have been left without coverage by their insurance companies if they got into an accident while their ride-hailing app was on but they hadn't accepted a ride. This new coverage will close that gap and provide drivers with access to coverage throughout the entire ride cycle, says Mercury. Previously, drivers were only covered by TNC commercial insurance once they accepted a ride.
"Many Californians enjoy driving for companies like Uber and Lyft as a great way to earn a living or make extra cash because they can set their own hours, be their own bosses and meet new people," said Jim Reeves, Mercury's research and development group manager. "Many of them are unknowingly putting themselves and other drivers at risk, however, because they don't have adequate insurance coverage in the event they get into an accident when their app is on, but they haven't accepted a ride."
"Mercury wants to ensure these individuals are able to earn an honest living without having to worry about paying costly repair or medical bills out-of-pocket — and we'll be able to offer this peace of mind for as little as 20 cents a day," added Reeves.
Ride-hailing is divided into three phases:
• Phase one: Drivers have turned on the ride-hailing app but haven't accepted a fare.
• Phase two: Drivers have accepted a fare and are on their way to pick up the passenger(s).
• Phase three: Drivers are transporting passengers to their destinations.
Mercury's ride-hailing insurance will cover drivers during the first phase of their trip. This coverage is not provided by personal auto policies, and the TNCs provide limited coverage during this phase, too, according to Mercury. This means that if drivers get into an accident during phase one, they will have to pay to repair any damages to their vehicles — the TNC liability coverage is capped at $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for injury to others.
Mercury's ride-hailing insurance will provide additional coverage beyond the TNC coverage, and it will also fix the insured's vehicle in a covered loss if those coverages had been purchased from Mercury, says the company.
"Mercury has been protecting drivers for more than 50 years. It's what we do,” said Reeves. “So, we're very excited to be one of the first companies to extend the coverage to ride-hailing drivers and protect not only them, but the drivers and families with which they come in contact on the road."
Currently, Mercury's ride-hailing insurance is only available to California ride-share drivers. For more information, visit www.mercuryinsurance.com/ride-hailing-insurance/california.html.