Since 2014, ride-sharing has become a great way to supplement your income or to create a full-time job for yourself according to your own schedule. Uber has become a well-known ride-sharing service that, in many Canadian cities, competes with taxi companies and black car services. If you are considering this as an option for either a side hustle or full-time employment in the New Year, you may be wondering “Do I need Uber insurance in order to be an Uber driver in Ontario?”
In 2016, Ontario’s insurance regulator announced that it approved policies regarding ride-sharing for all Uber drivers. Since then, the insurance industry has developed its own solutions to meet the growing demand for ride-sharing services by providing ride-sharing or Uber insurance in Ontario. But do you need two types of insurance; one for personal use and one for ride-sharing, or can one policy offer you enough coverage? Let’s take a deeper look.
How to become an Uber driver in Ontario
According to CarLoans Canada, Ontario has by far the most access to Uber of any of the provinces and is accessible across almost the entire Greater Toronto Area.
To become a driver for Uber in Ontario (and most provinces,) you must:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Hold a valid G driver’s licence
- Have proof of eligibility to work in the province
- Have a personal auto insurance policy
- Provide valid vehicle registration
- Depending on the city in which you plan to drive for, you may be required to do additional background screening
Once you have provided Uber with the necessary documentation/information you will be issued with a Safety Standards Certificate.
With the exception of Toronto, all drivers must be using a vehicle that doesn’t exceed 10 years of age. In Toronto, the maximum age of your vehicle is limited to seven years. It should be noted that only vehicles that are in good condition will be permitted.
Which companies provide Uber insurance in Ontario?
When it comes to insurance companies that offer ride-sharing insurance, you have a number of options to choose from, like Aviva Insurance and Economical Insurance. Additional insurers are also planning to come to market with Uber insurance. Let’s examine these two companies that provide commercial coverage for Uber, and some of the benefits/limitations they have:
Aviva offers ride-sharing insurance for individuals who work as part-time drivers and use their own vehicles. Your vehicle can only carry a maximum of eight people (including the driver) and cannot be used for commercial services, such as food delivery. You also cannot be registered as a taxi or limousine.
As of September 2020, Economical entered a partnership with Uber Canada to offer insurance in Ontario. Drivers will automatically receive commercial insurance when using the app. This commercial auto insurance partnership between Uber and Economical helps protect you while you are performing ride-sharing and delivery services with Uber.
Let’s take a closer look at the ride-sharing industry and their specifications for drivers.
Economical & Uber Insurance
According to Uber.com, ride-sharing services are provided by Economical Insurance and includes the following protection in case a covered accident occurs between accepting a trip and reaching the rider’s destination:
$2 million of liability coverage
Covers your liability to third-parties from the moment you accept an Uber trip until its conclusion. This policy takes precedence over your personal auto coverage.
$2 million of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Protects vehicle occupants who are injured in an accident by a hit-and-run driver, an uninsured driver or a driver without sufficient insurance.
Contingent collision and comprehensive coverage
Covers loss or physical damage to your vehicle up to the actual cash value of the vehicle with a $1,000 deductible. This coverage only applies if the vehicle is also insured for collision and comprehensive coverage on your personal auto policy.
Statutory Ontario Accident Benefits
This coverage pays for expenses related to car accident injury costs not covered by OHIP or the government. It helps you to recover from injuries, and offers assistance with income-related expenses.
Uber Insurance coverage between trips
Uber also maintains commercial auto insurance on your behalf during the time that you are available through the Uber app but have not yet accepted a trip. If needed, the insurance provides $1 million of third-party liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, along with all of the other coverages listed above. The certificate of insurance and link to the policy itself can be found here.
Uber Insurance is offered in four stages
During each stage, different levels of coverage is in play, and the Uber commercial auto insurance does not kick-in until the app is turned on and the driver is ready to engage in ride sharing. Third-party liability (TPL) varies with each stage:
- Phase 0: Driver using vehicle for personal use, therefore uses personal policy.
- Phase 1: Driver is logged into the app and is available to accept rides. ($1 million TPL and standard accident benefits.)
- Phase 2: Driver accepts ride request and is on the way to pick up a passenger. ($2 million TPL and standard accident benefits.)
- Phase 3: Driver is transporting passenger to their destination. ($2 million TPL and standard accident benefits.)
The commercial auto insurance policy issued by Economical Insurance covers you from the moment you make yourself available to accept a ride or delivery in the Uber app to the moment the request is completed. When providing ride-sharing, this coverage also helps protect your passengers from the moment you pick them up to the moment they exit your vehicle.
You can access an electronic certificate of insurance through the Uber app. If you’re involved in an accident while you’re driving with Uber, you’ll need to refer to this electronic document.
It is important to note, however, in certain regions Uber does include Comprehensive and Collision coverage for physical damage to your vehicle if you already have this coverage on your personal insurance policy (subject to a $1,000 deductible). Check with your isure broker for more details.
Aviva Insurance & ride-sharing
Aviva Uber insurance
Aviva Uber insurance is an add-on or an endorsement that goes above and beyond your standard insurance. Existing policy holders can add the extra protection for a small charge that is based on your current annual Aviva auto premium and the number of ride-sharing hours you perform weekly. Greg Somerville, CEO of Aviva Canada says, “We’re excited to offer a simple and affordable solution within a driver’s existing personal auto policy, thereby providing drivers and passengers with absolute peace of mind that they are properly insured while ride-sharing.”
To be covered by Aviva ride-sharing insurance, drivers have to meet these conditions:
- A G2 driver’s license or higher
- You can ride share for a maximum of 20 hours a week
- You are contracted with a transportation network or ride sharing company
- Must be licensed for a minimum of six years in the US or Canada
- You can carry up to seven passengers
- Your vehicle is not used for commercial use, including delivery services
- You can’t be registered as a taxi or limousine
It is important to note that at this time, Uber only provides third-party liability for its drivers. This amount of insurance does not meet Ontario’s minimum auto insurance requirements. It is popular because it is a more affordable option than your traditional cab service.
Aviva & Lyft ride-sharing insurance
A California-based ride sharing company, Lyft provides commercial insurance policies (at no extra cost to the drivers) through Aviva Insurance. At this time, Lyft is only available in select cities in British Columbia and Ontario.
Lyft segments their covered periods the following way:
- Period 1 — Personal use: Driver mode is off.
- Period 2 — Pre-acceptance: Driver mode is on, but a ride has not been accepted.
- Period 3 — Post-acceptance: From the point the ride request is accepted until the end of the ride.
What types of Uber services are there?
Uber X is one of the most popular Uber ride-sharing services. It is the least expensive service, and allows for seating of up to four passengers. Uber X allows for the use of smaller vehicles, such as a Honda Accord or Civic, Toyota Prius or Volkswagen Jetta. These vehicles must be a 2001 model or newer. Other Uber service options are:
- UberXL: Usually SUV’s (seats up to six passengers).
- Uber Select: Luxury car service (BMWs, Mercedes and other luxury cars, seats up to four people).
- UberHop: Perfect for those that want to “car pool” and share a ride during peak times along popular routes.
- UberPool: Ride-sharing with other people to share the costs of the trip.
How does your Lyft insurance work in Ontario?
- Personal coverage: When the app is off, your personal car insurance coverage is in effect.
- Third-Party Liability: This coverage kicks in during Period 3, after a driver has accepted a ride. During this period, liability coverage is limited to $1 million per accident. Once a driver picks up a rider, however, this amount increases to $2 million per accident.
- Accident Benefits: This policy kicks in during Period 2 and provides the accident benefits you are entitled to if you are injured in an accident, regardless of who causes it.
- Direct compensation and property damage: This policy kicks in during Period 2, and provides the actual cash value or the cost of repair of the property damaged, depending on how responsible you were for the incident.
- Comprehensive and collision coverage: This policy kicks in during Period 2 and covers the actual cash value or cost of repair of the vehicle subject to a $1,000 deductible. In order to be eligible for this policy, you must have obtained these coverages on your personal auto insurance policy.
While coverage provided by Uber and Lyft has improved since their arrival in Ontario, it is best to talk to your isure broker to ensure you and your vehicle are properly insured.
How much does Uber Insurance cost?
All Canadian drivers must have liability and comprehensive coverage, by law. As we’ve discussed before, your premium depends on a number of factors including age, your location, the type of car you drive and your driving record. When you add ride-sharing into the mix, you should tell your personal auto insurance provider, because now your personal vehicle is being used for commercial reasons some of the time.
If you currently participate in ride-sharing or plan to become an Uber driver, it is important to remember the responsibility you have to ensure both you and your passengers will be covered in case of an accident. Let your isure broker know of this change, and we will then advise your insurer about your intentions to ensure you are protected. Feel free to contact us today with any Uber insurance questions you may have.