Ridesharing is the term used to describe when, for a fee, a person drives someone in their automobile. The rides are arranged through an on-line application which is created by a Transportation Network Company (TNC). Currently the major TNCs are Lyft, Sidecar and Uber.
Most automobile policies do not provide coverage when a driver accepts payment to drive others (this is different than carpooling.) Typically, you will need to purchace a commercial policy to have the appropriate coverage. Some TNCs offer limited coverage. If you do not have coverage, you may be personally responsible for payment for medical expenses for anyone injured and any automobiles that are damaged in an accident that is your fault.
If you are considering becoming a TNC driver you should do the following:
1. Ask your insurance company if your current policy provides coverage, and, if not, does your company sell that coverage;
2. If you are making payments on your automobile, check with your lender or lessor to see if they permit you to drive for a TNC under your loan or lease agreement;
3. Before you sign the TNC agreement review it carefully to find out what it covers and whether the coverage differs based on when the accident occurs (for example, when you have a passenger in the vehicle versus when you are going to pick up a passenger). Also, make sure you know what the deductible is and what the maximum is it will pay.
Before you enter into a TNC agreement, it is essential that you understand your exposure.
If you have any questions about the requirements to become a TNC driver, contact the Public Service Commission at (800) 492-0474 or visit their website at www.psc.state.md.us.
200 St. Paul Place, Suite 2700, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-468-2000 | 1-800-492-6116 (toll free) | 1-800-735-2258 (TTY)