Accidents happen. It’s not a matter of if but of when. So, when the accident happens, you need to know how to handle the insurance process. Since there are more ride-share friendly policies and since ride-share is now a part of the social fabric, dealing with claims is easier, but it is still an issue and can be a bureaucratic nightmare. Being prepared is always the best option.
Before an Accident
To understand the process its wise to know a bit about the insurance process.
There are two sides to any claim, Yours and Theirs, sometimes (most times) one side is at fault, although sometimes there is no fault or the fault is hazy. We’ll keep it simple and just review faulted issues:
Your Fault (not so good)
Liability: This covers property damage property damage means car damage and damage to property other than the car as well as to passengers that were in your car and are not direct family members.
Collison: This covers car damage only and is a direct result of a collision. Most collision clauses have a deductible fee which varies between policies.
Medical: This covers all medical costs up to the value placed in the policy on al injured parties in the car, yourself and passengers, and is paid irrelevant of fault.
Their Fault (Also not so good, but better for you)
Liability: Irrelevant since you are not at fault.
Collison: Is paid in part until your insurance company gets paid by the other sued the insurance company. There is a deductible which is recovered once the other insurance company pays up.
Uninsured: This covers you if the other driver is either uninsured or under-insured.
Medical: This is paid until the other insurance company pays up.
It’s important to know that the insurance company and broker deal with all inter-insurance issues, they have your legal mandate to get the money from the other insurance company. You just have to supply all the necessary proof and paperwork that they demand.
Documentation, Evidence, and Proof
When you are involved in an accident, if you are uninjured, or injured lightly (if you are seriously injured you won’t need to deal with this since this becomes police jurisdiction) you will need to gather the following:
License Plate: Write down or photograph.
Insurance Card: Write down or photograph
Drivers License: Write down or photograph
Dashcam recording; Store for the insurance claim or defense (if you are at fault)
Witnesses (Passengers and pedestrians): Ask for statements, or names if possible. Witnesses are very important, the more witnesses you can find them easier, it will be to prove your claim or help in your defense.
Police: Call them if necessary, that means in case of a serious accident. You don’t need police for a case of whiplash or fender bender since a rear end collision is always the fault of the other driver.
Maintain your cool at all times, even if the other driver is a total jerk.
Listen and note all the details you can get from people that saw the accident.
Never admit fault, even if it is obvious.
Provide your rideshare insurance coverage, not your personal one.
After the accident, check your Uber insurance by going to the Waybill option in the driver app menu. At the bottom of the waybill screen, you will see all the Uber insurance information.
Report the accident
You must contact Uber or your ride-share company and report the accident. Once you have reported it, they will begin to process the information and assist your claims with James River (the Uber rideshare insurance company). James River will only become active if you are at fault or if the car damage is higher than the policy deductible charge. If James river gets involved, they will ask you to estimate the damages, but then the process is simple if not, you have to manage it alone.
Remember, will deactivate you after an accident until you can prove your car is fit for driving.
The only time it gets complicated for you is when you are not at fault, and the deductible is more than the damage.
Things to have ready at all times
As a rideshare driver, you will need to make sure you have these items and options ready at all times. They will make handling an insurance situation much easier.
Deductible savings: Make sure you have the deductible amount saved at any given moment. You don’t want to start scrabbling for money when an accident happens.
Income sources: Once you are deactivated you will have to find another source of income. If you have a job, then that’s fine, if you are only a rideshare driver than think of the downtime issues.
Know how to report: Just make sure you have ample knowledge or access to the accident reporting methods. You must also know which insurance company to report the accident and claim.
Involve your Broker: Most of us have a personal agent or broker. Get them involved; they prove to be highly useful. Your agent also knows about the so-called Labor rates, be prepared to combat this issue, insurance companies try to lowball claims, while body repair shops know how to raise prices to counter the issue.
Persistence and Diligence: Don’t drop the ball and read everything twice, have someone else read it too, be sure of every detail and be prepared for weird phone calls and visits from the other sides insurance intelligence unit.
Patience and respect: Always be patient no matter how frustrating the situation is, and always show deference and respect when dealing with insurance representatives. For the last resort, you can choose to have legal representation.