Posted on August 25, 2014
If you have a vehicle and some extra time, signing up for a ride-sharing service to earn some extra cash sounds like an easy gig – but before you buckle that seat belt there are a few things you should know about ride-sharing services and your car insurance.
With hints of popular ride-sharing services, making their way into Iowa, there have been many opinions voiced on the topic. Some would welcome the service as a much needed convenience, while there are others who question the safety of the program. Setting these two arguments aside, there is one important factor that anyone considering participating in a ride-sharing program should know – and it has to do with your auto insurance.
Ride-sharing services such as Uber allow people to use their own vehicle to offer rides to others in a community car-pooling service. Those looking for a ride can locate and request a driver from a mobile app. Like a taxi, ride-sharing drivers are compensated for their service.
Iowa’s Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart warns any drivers in Iowa that their personal auto coverage may not cover them if they use their vehicle for this service. “Programs such as Uber, Lyft, VRBO and Airbnb may offer consumers great service and convenience, but as a regulator, I want potential providers and users to be aware of the very real problems they could face without knowing about these restrictions,” Gerhart said in a statement.
Depending on your current auto policy, you may be required to seek commercial insurance coverage for your vehicle to cover any damages while performing a ride-sharing service. Even if the service company states they offer commercial coverage for their ride-sharers, it’s important to review your coverage with your agent to make sure you’re protected.
Cities in Iowa have yet to allow ride-sharing services to set up shop, but Uber has already started advertising for drivers in Des Moines and Iowa City prompting this warning from the Iowa Insurance Division: “If you are considering becoming a driver/ride provider, the Iowa Insurance Division suggests that you visit with your insurance company or insurance agent before you sign up for car-sharing or ride-sharing,” the statement read.
For more information on your coverage, contact your AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance agent at (319) 887-3700.
Posted on April 18, 2014
‘Tis the season for vacations and that means rental cars for many people flying to their destinations. But before you hop in that car, make sure you take steps to ensure that you’re covered if any problems arise. Don’t Breeze Through the Pre-Inspection You’ve just landed and you’re already tired from the flight and just want to get to your hotel, but before you drive that car off the rental lot, take a few minutes for your vehicle pre-inspection. You may not think that little paint scratch on the door is a big deal now, but that could come back to haunt you when your vacation is over. If the company you’re renting from does not offer the pre-inspection make sure you ask for it. Most credible car rental agencies will have you fill one out before they let you drive off the lot. Sure you’re anxious to get on with your day, but taking the extra time to look over your vehicle and noting any damage or defects now could save you a future headache. If you have the opportunity, consider taking photos of the vehicle before and after your rental contract. Having extra documentation could help if any issues come up. Rental Car Insurance – Do I need to buy it? The best time to make the decision about whether you will need extra rental car insurance is before you’re standing at the car rental counter. It’s not uncommon for rental car agencies to offer you the opportunity to purchase additional auto coverages, but do you need them?
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), relieves you of financial responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. If you have comprehensive and collision on your own car, you most likely do not need to purchase CDW from the rental car agency.
Additionally, your credit card company may include some collision and theft protection if the rental car is paid for with your card. This includes coverage for “loss of use,” which refers to the amount of money a rental car company can stand to lose while a car is being repaired. If your credit card doesn’t offer coverage for loss of use, you may want to consider purchasing CDW from the rental agency.
- Liability insurance provides excess liability coverage of up to $1 million for the time you rent a car. Rental companies are required by law to provide the minimum level of liability insurance required by your state. Generally, this does not offer enough protection in a serious accident. If you have adequate liability coverage on your car or an umbrella policy on your home/auto, you may consider forgoing this additional insurance.
If you don’t have comprehensive and collision coverage on your own car, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or damaged. It is also important to check that your coverage level is enough to cover the complete cost of the replacement value of the car you are renting – especially if you plan to rent a luxury vehicle or a substantially newer vehicle than yours. If you have questions about your current auto coverage and how it would apply to a rental vehicle, talk to your AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance agent! We can review your coverage limits to make sure you have the right level of coverage in place.