A recent decision involving insurance coverage for a rideshare driver explains the temporal aspect of rideshare policies, which insure drivers during certain phases of the rideshare process. Here a driver sought uninsured motorist coverage under policies issued by James River Insurance Company, an insurer for transportation network company Uber, for injuries she sustained after dropping off a passenger.

James River issued two business auto policies that insured drivers during different stages of the ridesharing process. The “100 policy” insured drivers en route to pick up passengers and while transporting passengers to their destinations, as well as when engaged in different phases of the rideshare process while at airports. The “200 policy” insured drivers not at airports while logged on the Uber platform but before they accepted ride requests. Only the 100 policy provided uninsured motorist coverage.

The driver sought coverage under the 100 policy’s coverage that applied when a driver had logged and recorded acceptance of a ride request and was either en route to pick up passengers or traveling to a passenger’s final destination. The plaintiff rideshare driver was not engaged in either activity. She had dropped off a passenger when she was injured by an object ejected by an oncoming tractor-trailer; the truck did not stop and was never identified, hence leading to the uninsured motorist claim. The 200 policy would have provided coverage if the driver was logged on the Uber platform and available to receive ride requests off of airport premises, but the coverage grants did not include uninsured motorist coverage.

As this opinion illustrates, rideshare insurance policies typically tie insurance coverage to particular stages of the rideshare process. Unlike other business auto policies, which may insure a fleet of autos at all times, these insurance policies insure autos during certain stages of the rideshare process, and do not cover all claims involving a rideshare auto. To avoid needless disputes, insureds and insurers alike should carefully consider the scope of coverage offered in these types of policies when assessing coverage for an auto claim.