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Maybe it's new to you or maybe it's not... but there is a new phenomenon of drivers using ridesharing apps, like Uber and Lyft. They are basically an on-demand taxi service connected to your smart phone. There are exposures that not only the drivers, but also the patrons should be aware of. The smart phone app connects drivers for hire with customers in need of a driving service.

Although Uber's website tells drivers that they must have a "Personal Auto Policy" to be a part of the organization, the "Personal Auto Policy" insurance form on many insurance companies explicitly excludes coverage for anyone involved with a Transportation Network Company (TNC), which is a fancy name for ridesharing programs. What that means for the ridesharing driver is that if an accident did occur where a passenger is hurt, damaged property, or even killed, the driver's personal policy may not pay for the damages or injuries. That would leave the driver being in the hot spot for a lawsuit and the passenger or driver on the hook for paying for injuries or damages.

According to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance's Commissioner, Julie McPeak, "The Department wants Tennesseans to know that most standard auto insurance policies contain exclusions for livery or driving for hire." She continues, "These gaps can leave individuals in insurance limbo without the coverage needed to protect their vehicle and passengers in the event of an accident." The personal auto policy is not developed or priced to properly cover the exposure of a ride sharing application. These ridesharing apps put the driver, passengers, and the vehicle in a greater rate exposures than is typically associated with a standard personal auto policy.  

Since this is new territory for insurance companies, there might be changes to the policy language over the next few years. Plus, there are many legulations in other states that are up in the air and may affect how Tennessee views ridesharing, but right now, it's a shaky ground to drive on.
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