TNC Insurance for Southeastern MA & South Coast MA Residents
Whether you’re already a driver in the rideshare industry or just now considering joining this fast-growing market for some additional income, there is no way you’ve avoided the constant news and publicity around Transportation Network Companies (TNCs).
Most of the news is focused on the safety of Massachusetts citizens who are increasingly hailing rides through TNCs like Uber, Lyft, Fasten, Safr, WULEEB, and, the way this industry is growing, probably soon-to-be many others.
You may also be aware that, at the end of 2016, some of the strongest state legislation in our nation was put in place here in the Commonwealth and it is aimed at both increasing consumer protection and ensuring that the TNC industry is transparent and accountable.
There is now a list of strict requirements for current and future TNC drivers like you, including:
- You must be at least 21 years old
- You need to complete a rigorous background check successfully
- You have to obtain the proper auto insurance coverage
We can all agree that protection for passengers is essential, but what about safeguarding drivers like you and the personal vehicles they are using to provide rides? “That’s not a problem,” you may be thinking, because, of course, you have personal auto insurance coverage through Morse, or another local, reliable insurance agent.
Well, your car insurance is just fine if all you are doing is using your car for personal reasons, such as driving your kids to school, going with your friends to the movies, or taking a summer road trip. However, it is nowhere near the complete coverage you need for the business role that your vehicle now plays shuttling business people to early morning flights at Logan Airport, providing passionate New England fans safer rides to the big game, and helping car-less individuals get to work, appointments, and run errands.
Why Your Personal Auto Insurance Policy Is Not Enough Protection For TNC Drivers
The TNC model is truly ingenious. Through mobile technology, these rideshare companies connect passengers to drivers who want to earn extra income in one of the simplest ways possible – using their personal vehicles to transport people. Because drivers like you use your own car, you are distinct from limousine or taxi drivers, who have a livery driver’s license, use a commercial vehicle and already have commercial auto insurance coverage. Whereas most, if not all, TNC drivers do not have a livery license and their cars are neither registered nor insured as a commercial vehicle.
This situation has made insurance carriers very uneasy because your personal auto insurance policy is not designed, underwritten or priced for commercial ridesharing; in fact, these policies typically exclude “livery services.” The assumptions underlying your current car insurance policy generally are that:
- You are driving yourself, family members and friends around
- You average annual travel of 12,000 miles
- You never earn money for these private trips
These facts are accurate most of the time, but the moment you log into a TNC ridesourcing app, even if you haven’t yet been matched with a passenger, your personal vehicle transitions to a commercial one and, as such, requires commercial insurance coverages – just like a taxi or livery car.
If you are planning to become a rideshare driver the National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends you ask the following questions of any TNC you plan to do business through:
- How much liability insurance do you provide while I’m transporting a passenger? Do I need more?
- Will I be charged a deductible and what is it?
- Is the commercial liability insurance coverage my main source of coverage, or is it contingent on denial by my personal auto policy?
- How do I report a claim?
The TNC’s commercial policy can get complicated, and it’s important to try to understand whether or not their coverage would be in effect for any of the following circumstances:
- You are available for hire (logged into your ridesharing app) but have not accepted a ride request.
- You are logged into your ridesharing app and are on your way to pick up a passenger.
- You are logged into the ridesharing app and transporting a passenger.
- You are unavailable for hire (not logged into your ridesharing app) and not transporting a passenger.
- You have turned off the app while still available for hire.
- You accept a street hail.
Even if a TNC company does offer coverage for some or all these periods, it is generally pretty minimal. In the event of an accident, TNC drivers like you could be left with insufficient liability coverage, personal injury coverage, and coverage for damage to your vehicle. In addition, no matter what the TNC’s own insurance policy will cover, the state of Massachusetts requires you, the ride-share driver, to notify your insurer of your decision to use your vehicle for transportation network services and maintain minimum liability limits. Failure to take either of these steps can result in you losing your license or being subject to fines.
Morse, Of Course, Can Help You Figure Out TNC Insurance
There are several insurance carriers in Massachusetts who have begun to offer TNC insurance products, specifically designed for drivers like you, that can fill the coverage gaps between your personal auto insurance and the TNC’s commercial policy. The premiums, type of coverage and limits available vary by insurer. Some policies only cover the period when you’re logged into a TNC app but have not accepted a ride request; others provide commercial auto coverage and apply regardless of whether you’re working or not.
How are you going to sort through all of this? With Morse by your side, of course. As your local independent insurance agent, we can make sure that you have the proper information on all available TNC insurance carriers in the state, what they are offering in terms of coverage, and how best to keep you, your passengers, and your vehicle protected in case of an accident no matter where you are in the ridesharing cycle.
The TNC industry is rapidly expanding and becoming increasingly regulated. This can be extremely positive for both passengers and drivers and could make transportation network services safer for everybody. Another key step to protecting yourself as a driver is to partner with a local, experienced insurance agent who will always be here for you with friendly, knowledgeable customer service and who will provide you with the optimal TNC insurance offerings in Massachusetts. That’s Morse, Of Course!
Please contact us today at 508-238-0056 for assistance with finding the right TNC Insurance gap coverage.
Morse Insurance has partnered with top national insurance carriers to deliver TNC drivers specialized TNC insurance offerings that may provide gap coverage for:
- Personal Injury Protection
- Damage to someone else’s property
- Medical Payments
- Insured/Underinsured Motorist