Marie-Claude Dulac

By Marie-Claude Dulac

February 24, 2016

Car

Uber drivers: Are you covered under your auto insurance policy?

Article revised on 13 June 2017

The sharing economy comes with its share of advantages and disadvantages. Uber is a voluntary taxi platform. Its arrival in our cities raises questions with regard to automobile insurance. Are you thinking of joining the ranks of drivers of this increasingly popular ride-sharing service?

A word to the wise: Check first to see if you are actually covered by your insurance. Don’t wait until something comes up to find out!

What is Uber?

The Uber platform offers paid transportation services by means of a web app that is installed on a mobile device. It connects passengers as registered members in contact with drivers who work for the company, either individuals (through Uber) or taxi drivers (through UberTaxi). The platform allows customers to see the nearest drivers in real time, use the app to request a ride and make their payment electronically.

What does the law say?

In Quebec, you must hold a taxi driver’s permit in order to legally provide transportation services of this type. The law stipulates that any person who provides taxi services for remuneration without a proper permit is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of $350 to $1,050. The vehicle may also be seized.

What does the automobile insurance contract provide with regard to this type of activity?

The basic automobile insurance contract, which is the same for all automobile insurers in Quebec, does not cover for-pay rides given to passengers. In this regard, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) suggests that consumers contact their insurer before giving people rides for payment.

Actually, if a loss were to occur while you were providing transportation in the same way as a taxi, your insurer could deny you compensation for physical injuries due to an accident and for damage to your vehicle.

In summary…

If you are interested in offering transportation services through Uber, you should know that:

  • You could incur a stiff fine if you do not hold a taxi driver’s permit.
  • The basic automobile insurance contract does not cover you for this type of activity.
  • You should notify your insurer, to give it an opportunity to evaluate the risks associated with this activity and determine whether there is any way of covering you and, if so, under what terms and conditions.

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