Despite new regulations approved at the state level for commercial rideshare companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, how users of such services should be insured remains an open question. A recent fatal crash involving an Uber driver highlights this thorny issue. Worse yet, an announcement from the state Department of Insurance warned that insured drivers are not covered if they provide rides for a cost, and no collision coverage is required under the new regulations. In response, Lyft will add coverage for underinsured drivers, though no health coverage will be given to crash victims. Uber has provided similar coverage options since last December, while Sidecar has yet to offer such.
You know you’re in trouble when you anger comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s wife over a $415 car ride. Similar stories took center stage during the freak snowstorm that hindered transportation in the Northeast, where Uber users were charged exorbitant amounts for even brief trips across town. The ridesharing service relies on a pricing model that is directly correlated to supply and demand, keeping in tune with the libertarian ideals of the service’s chief executive Travis Kalanick. However, it has been noted that similar pricing models tend to break down during extreme events and emergencies, where people with less income are at an even greater disadvantage than wealthier counterparts. Critics also take exception to the fact that the service remains largely unregulated (except in California, where lawmakers recently enacted regulations for Uber and similar services).