30 Jan, 2024

Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work in a Bloomington Rideshare Accident?

Author Todd A. Strong

What Is the Popularity of Rideshare Services in Bloomington, IL?

Uber, which was founded in 2009, has become one of the largest companies globally, with almost 100 million people using the app each month. The company first launched in Illinois in 2011 and has since expanded significantly across the state. As of 2023, Uber operates in major metro areas, mid-sized cities, and suburbs. According to recent estimates, Illinois is one of the company's largest markets, with over 50,000 active Uber drivers.

Lyft is another company offering rideshare services, and together with Uber, they make up 99% of the ridesharing market in the United States. The number of road hours for both companies has steadily increased over the years, with about 25% of the entire US population using ride-sharing services at least once a month.

What Is the Insurance Coverage in the Event of a Rideshare Accident?

Most drivers have personal auto insurance policies that cover them in case of a car accident. If you are involved in a car accident, you can make a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance policy, and get reimbursed for your medical expenses and other damages.

However, personal auto insurance policies usually contain a business-use exclusion, which means the coverage doesn't apply if you use your vehicle for business purposes. As a result, when a rideshare driver picks up a customer, he or she may have no liability insurance and no collision insurance under their personal auto insurance policy.

However, both Uber and Lyft claim to provide $1 million in liability coverage for their drivers, which depends on the period the driver is in.

  • When ride-hail drivers are not signed in to their Uber or Lyft app, they are not covered by the app's insurance policy. Their personal auto insurance may apply in case of an accident.
  • If the driver is logged in to the app but has not yet accepted a ride request, Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage for accidents caused by the driver up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 total liability per accident.
  • Once the driver has accepted a ride and is en route to pick up the passenger, liability coverage increases to $1 million.
  • When the passenger is in the car, liability coverage of up to $1 million applies, along with limited coverage for damage to the driver's car and uninsured motorist coverage.

In the event of a wreck, as a passenger, it benefits you to understand how the rideshare service’s insurance policies work.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Illinois

Auto insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company to protect you from financial loss due to specified losses, damages, or injuries. In case of an accident, your insurance company pays a specified amount of coverage to cover the damages. There are two types of claims: first-party claims and third-party claims. First-party claims are made with your own insurance company, while third-party claims are made to the driver's insurance company who caused the accident.

Illinois law requires drivers to have a minimum liability insurance of $25,000 for one person and $50,000 for two or more people injured or killed per car accident, as well as $20,000 for property damage per accident. If a driver who causes an accident doesn't have insurance coverage, you won't be able to claim compensation from his or her insurance company. You will have to make a first-party claim for compensation from your own insurance company. Illinois law mandates that liability insurance policies automatically include uninsured motorist coverage.

How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Applies to Rideshare Accidents

Illinois rideshare drivers must meet two different sets of insurance requirements. When drivers are using the ridesharing app, but do not have any passengers, they must have liability insurance that covers at least $50,000 for death and personal injury per person, $100,000 for death and personal injury per incident and $25,000 for property damage.

Under Illinois law, ridesharing companies must also maintain this coverage in case the driver's insurance policy does not meet these requirements.

When a rideshare driver has passengers, the driver must have insurance coverage of at least $1 million for personal injury, death, and property damage. Additionally, he or she must have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage of at least $50,000. These coverage requirements can be met by the driver, the ridesharing company, or a combination of their policies.

In case of an accident caused by another driver while you are in a rideshare vehicle, the liable driver may be held responsible for compensating you for your injuries. However, if the driver does not have insurance, you may file an uninsured accident claim with the insurance provided by the rideshare company you are using.

What Are the Legal Requirements for Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

After an accident, if the responsible driver doesn’t have insurance, you can make an uninsured motorist claim. Such coverage compensates you as if the other driver had liability insurance. With uninsured motorist coverage, you make a first-party claim with your own insurance company.

In Illinois, uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory, and the minimum limits are the same as those required for liability insurance. As a driver in Illinois, you are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage for at least $20,000 for one person injured per accident and $50,000 for two or more people injured per accident. You are not obligated to get coverage for property damage, but your insurance company may offer it to you for a higher monthly premium.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Rideshare Passengers

Can Rideshare Passengers Utilize Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

In the event of an accident that isn't caused by the ride-sharing driver, you will have to file a claim against the insurance company of the at-fault party or file a personal injury lawsuit against them.

If the other driver involved in the accident flees the scene, does not have vehicle insurance, or has insurance coverage that is insufficient to compensate you for your damages, the ride-sharing company's uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage will take over. This policy covers passengers from the moment they get into the vehicle until they exit.

What is the difference between uninsured and underinsured? Uninsured motorist coverage compensates you if you are hit by a driver who doesn't have auto insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage provides protection if you are hit by a driver who has insurance, but the coverage is not enough to pay for your damages or injuries.

What Is the Claims Process for Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Bloomington, IL?

Typically, an uninsured or underinsured driver claim follows the same procedure as a regular car insurance claim. The only difference is that the claim is filed with the insurance company of the rideshare service. The process for an uninsured motorist claim typically includes the following steps:

Collect Documentation

Start by gathering all necessary documentation and evidence, such as witness statements, photos of the accident scene, and medical records related to your injuries.

File a Claim

After an accident involving an uninsured motorist, contact the insurance company to file a claim. To do this, you usually have to provide a written notice of the accident, including your name, the names and addresses of all persons involved, the time and location of the accident, and the names and addresses of any witnesses. You should also know how long you have to report a car accident, to be sure to report it within the required timeframe.

Investigation by the Claims Adjuster

A claims adjuster investigates insurance claims, verifies insurance policies, gathers evidence, consults with specialists, compiles reports, quantifies your economic damages, negotiates car accident settlements, and authorizes payments. It is essential to provide all the documentation that you have gathered to support both the merit of your case and your damages.

Negotiate

After the insurance company investigates your claim, they may offer you a settlement. It's common for the initial offer to be less than what you requested. You can use this as a chance to negotiate a fair settlement that covers all your accident-related damages and losses.

If you feel that the negotiations with your insurance company after a car accident have not been productive or if their offer is too low considering the extent of your damage or injuries, speak with a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can help you negotiate for a fair settlement or take legal action on your behalf if uninsured motorist coverage is denied or will not adequately cover your injury-associated losses.

About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.