Uber Driver and Ride Sharing Liability Insurance Concerns in BC – What You Need to Know (so far)

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Uber Driver Ride Sharing Liability Insurance BC

Proponents for the introduction of ride-sharing (or ride-hailing) services such as Uber in Vancouver and BC got a big win this month. An all-party committee in the legislature unanimously supported a plan for such services throughout the province. The committee’s report detailed a 32-point list of recommendations to introduce and regulate ride-sharing in British Columbia. Long story short, Uber and Lyft will be pulling up to the curb near you sometime soon.

There are many local drivers who have their sights set on becoming a successful Uberpreneur, and it most certainly can be lucrative, but things get complicated when you consider liability insurance coverage and related concerns. While the verdict is still out on what exactly ride-share drivers will have to purchase when it comes to a policy, there are some important updates that you need to know about today, so that you’re prepared to hit the road with your service in the months to come.

What Drivers Need to Know Before Becoming an Uber, Lyft, or Ride-Share Service Provider in British Columbia

ICBC Stated License Requirements

Currently, ICBC states that if you want to use your vehicle to drive passengers for payment, for a service such as Uber or Lyft, you will need a Class 4 (restricted) commercial driver’s license. This will allow you to transport up to 10 passengers. Here is a list of additional ICBC mandated requirements:

  • As the owner of the vehicle, you must declare how you plan to use your vehicle so that insurance can be properly assigned an appropriate rate class. Currently, this would fall under a traditional taxi or limousine category, but it may change (more on this below).
  • You must carry a licence approved by the province’s Passenger Transportation Board.
  • You will need in your possession, a National Safety Code Safety Certificate.
  • Your vehicle must pass a semi-annual commercial vehicle inspection.
  • Clear any additional requirements with your local municipality.

Any failure to accommodate the above can land you in hot water if you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident. You could be required to repay the entire value of all claims that arise and forfeit coverage for your own injuries and any damage to your vehicle. This is one of the reasons why authorities are cracking down on those who currently operate ride-sharing services (through Craigslist, etc.) illegally in BC.

Key Propositions in the Transportation Network Companies (TNC) Ride-Share Report

The committee report on the future of ride-sharing in British Columbia laid out some important recommendations to ensure the interests of drivers, passengers, and impacted public are protected.

Below we have highlighted some of their recommendations as they apply to insurance and liability concerns:

  • ICBC is to be directed to create or provide access to specific and mandatory insurance products for ride-share service drivers, prescribing minimum insurance levels that reflect the risks associated with using an automobile for mixed personal and commercial purposes.
  • Given that studies show that the average Uber driver, “is likely to earn at least as much per hour, and probably more, than the average taxi driver and chauffeur”, existing labour laws allow workers to contribute on their own behalf to employment insurance, CPP, and worker’s compensation benefits. Ride-share drivers may need to be afforded the same opportunity.
  • Drivers should be required to have a Class 5 driver’s license.
  • Drivers should be required to have a medical exam.
  • Drivers may be required to submit a driver’s abstract, a national criminal record check, and vulnerable sector check via a third-party on an annual basis. Disclosure of this information should be provided, inside and on the outside of the vehicle, with a decal to indicate they are associated with an approved ride-share service that meets TNC requirements.
  • Tracking data must be provided to the provincial government for every trip, so appropriate regulations with respect to pricing and accessibility can be made and maintained.

Around the same time last year, the public was given every indication that ride-share legislation would be passed and that they could expect to see the arrival of Uber, Lyft, and other app-powered services by the end of 2017. While that didn’t happen, it now seems that we’re closer to fruition than ever before. Stay tuned for updates as ride-sharing (and corresponding insurance concerns) in BC becomes a reality.

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