Q. Is my car covered if I use it to provide taxi-like services? I could supplement my income by giving people rides on my schedule, with the convenience of using my own vehicle. But will my insurance cover me?
A. With the emergence of transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, this question has become increasingly common.
The short answer is, no, not with a standard policy ... but yes, there's coverage available through an endorsement we introduced in June 2017.
Your standard unendorsed PEMCO policy does not cover this type of usage. In fact, by default, virtually all personal lines auto policies exclude coverage for a vehicle "while it’s being used to transport persons or deliver property for compensation of any kind."
That language has been in the contract since well before these companies were founded, because the model for their business already exists: taxis. There's no doubt that the platforms created by companies like Uber and Lyft make it easier and more efficient for drivers and passengers to coordinate the ride. But the core use of the vehicle – getting from point A to point B with a paying passenger inside – really isn't much different from a traditional taxi.
However, now there's good news if driving-for-hire appeals to you. PEMCO was born and raised in a region where technology and everyday life converge, so we've devised a way to help cover you in this emerging market. For our Washington customers, we offer the Optional Rideshare Coverage Endorsement, which is intended to fill gaps during periods of rideshare where coverage is normally excluded by your PEMCO contract but is not adequately provided by the rideshare company. Our Oregon customers will need to hang tight just a little bit longer – we'll offer this endorsement in the Beaver State on Sept. 1, 2017.
If you want to jump into the evolving world of modern-day taxi services, I suggest you contact your local agent or PEMCO Customer Service to discuss adding the Optional Rideshare Coverage Endorsement.