Much has been spoken about Uber, the drive sharing service, over the last few months, but rarely has the perspective been looked at from a driver’s point of view. The regulation (or lack thereof) surrounding the company and the unclear auto insurance implications of driving for the UberX service have been oft mentioned, but for the first time a potential Uber driver has spoken.
Potential is the keyword because Calgary based Wesley Gould wants to work for UberX but his journey so far has saw him confronted with Uber’s shaky auto insurance rules. Mr. Gould says he signed up for the UberX service to become a driver, but was alerted to the company’s murky insurance policies, which we have discussed numerous times on ShopInsuranceCanada.
Drivers wanting to work for the UberX service sign up with the company’s terms of service stating clearly that they need suitable commercial auto insurance coverage to work for Uber. However, the company still allows drivers using their own personal auto insurance policies to sign up and indeed work as an UberX operative. Many drivers are unclear of the rules and are left without coverage from their insurer, or indeed Uber’s own $5 million liability coverage.
Mr. Gould saw the warning signs however, his time as a taxi driver and co-owner of a cab company means he has experience in the industry. He said he wanted to work for Uber to add some extra income from additional hours per week, but was soon faced with the insurance conundrum.
"I have a brand new car, and I just want to make sure I'm covered for this car," Gould said. "I'd like to see what the exclusions are, limitations are, I'd like to understand them a little better, so I'm more informed…for some reason I feel that they are beating the bush a little bit."
Uber has continuously defended its insurance rules, basically putting the onus on drivers to make sure they are not covered, essentially washing their hands of the situation. The company responded to Gould’s problem:
"Drivers sign up in different ways. We share (insurance information) with them in person, we have blog posts that describe this in very clear detail… And it's important that when drivers have questions they can ask support, email in to the ops team, and we're happy to provide them with support," said Xavier Van Chau of Uber Canada.
"Edmonton and Calgary are looking for an insurance solution and you know I think as we continue to work with Intact and regulators we are trying to bring solutions that are specific to ridesharing to market," said Chau. "Currently we have…. we have shared our insurance."