New Rideshare Legislation Aims to Close Insurance Gap in Georgia

Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have revolutionized transportation in car-dominated cities like Atlanta. In fact, these companies and their competitors are becoming ubiquitous throughout many American cities. These rideshare services offer the communities they serve a terrific resource; however, they are not impervious to the accidents and other traffic-related issues that other Georgia drivers also face.

The success of these rideshare companies has gotten plenty of media attention, but did you know that some sources, including CNN Money, are saying that Uber is now more valuable than Ford, Honda, and GM? Outside of the auto industry, CNN Money is also saying that Uber has surpassed the values of Costco, Lockheed Martin, Lowes, and Morgan Stanley. While ridesharing companies are highly valued on the open market, their relative newness has left legislators throughout the country struggling with how exactly to address many of the new issues presently faced by the users of these services. Recently new Georgia legislation was passed with the aim of doing exactly that.

Georgia Lawmakers Address Rideshare Companies

It’s clear that rideshare companies are more than a passing craze. In 2015, Governor Nathan Deal and the Georgia State Assembly enacted legislation governing the way these companies do business in the state of Georgia. Most importantly for customers, these new laws expanded the insurance requirements for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft.

Prior to the enactment of the new legislation, an insurance gap existed during the time in which drivers had their rideshare apps open but did not have passengers in their vehicles. Coinciding with this, the drivers’ personal insurance often did not apply when they were involved in for profit activity. Meanwhile, the transportation network companies were only providing coverage when the drivers had passengers. As a result, when a driver was looking for fares or driving to a customer’s pick-up location it was possible that no insurance coverage was in place in the event of an accident.

Closing the Insurance Gap

Since House Bill 190 took effect on January 1st, 2016, transportation network companies in Georgia became required to provide coverage beginning the moment a rideshare driver opens an app for the purpose of finding fares. When a driver is between fares they must cover a minimum of $100,000 for personal injury and $50,000 for property damage. Once a driver accepts a ride request, the minimum coverage increases significantly. Companies must provide coverage of at least $1,000,000.00 for injuries and $1,000,000.00 for property damage for the time between acceptance of a ride request and the end of the ride. Functionally, the new laws close the insurance gap and help ensure adequate protection for passengers.

Ramifications for Passengers and the Public

If you ride with Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company in Georgia, you can now do so with confidence that the driver is adequately insured. It’s not just passengers that benefit either. Any driver on Georgia roads stands to benefit from rideshare drivers being adequately insured. If you are involved in an accident with a rideshare vehicle, take our four steps to protect yourself. It’s important that you consult an attorney to help you navigate this recently emerging area of the law. Contact The Rhine Law Firm, LLC for help protecting your rights, including the recovery of any money you may be entitled to following an accident.

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