Insurance requirements may be on the way for ride-sharing companies in Florida
A measure by Florida Sen. David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) that would create insurance requirements for ride-sharing companies is being met with opposition from marketplace leaders Uber and Lyft—and the proposal hasn’t even been heard in the House yet.
According to The Palm Beach Post, SB 1298 would establish coverage requirements for when a customer is in a vehicle and during an “on call” period—the time between when a driver is notified about a customer to pick up and the time the passenger gets in the vehicle—often cosidered a coverage gap.
Lobbyists for Uber and Lyft are arguing that the “on call” period is not a gap. “We believe that is an individual driving their own personal vehicle with the insurance required by state law,” Uber representative Cesar Fernandez told The Post. The lobbyists also contend that adding “on call” coverage will require ride-sharing companies to increase costs, which can alter their draw as a low-cost ride option.
Under the proposal, ride-sharing drivers would be required to have liability coverage of at least $125,000 for death and bodily injury, at least $50,000 for property damage, and at least $250,000 in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, says The Post. Coverage for when there is a passenger in the vehicle would need to be $1 million for death, bodily injury and property damage, and $1 million in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
By comparison, limosines and taxis in the state are required to maintain motor-vehicle liability policies with minimum limits of $125,000 per person for bodily injury, up to $250,000 per incident for bodily injury and $50,000 for property damage.
Currently all drivers in Florida are required to have the state minimum of personal-injury protection insurance, which covers the medical expenses of drivers injured in crashes up to $10,000 ($2,500 for non-emergency treatments) and requires them to seek treatment within 14 days.
Simmons says his proposal is necessary to protect people who might be harmed by drivers on the way to collect fares, says The Post. He argues the state’s minimum PIP protection would not be enough to cover ride-sharing incidents.
The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee backed the proposal this week. It must still clear two additional committees before being heard in the House.