Ride-sharing. Ever hear of it? It has become big business for tech companies such as Lyft and Uber. In case you don’t already know, these companies have created a service in which an app connects people needing rides with private drivers. Of course this isn’t free, and the fare collected by the driver is then split with the company. People have apparently signed up in droves to become drivers, lured by the promise of easy money and great pay.
Remember when mom told you that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is? Before you start envisioning yourself living the high life, picking and choosing when you work and commanding a fleet of ride-share vehicles, there are a few things you should consider.
The work environment is probably not going to be stress-free. Not surprisingly, taxi companies haven’t welcomed this service with open arms. Additionally, Uber, the recognized leader in this market (with a valuation of $18 Billion by the way), has had a rocky road so far, including drivers facing sting operations and vehicle impoundment on one hand, and driver protests and allegations of exploitation on the other.
The most important question for anyone considering this employment path however, is “what happens if I get in an accident while transporting a fare”? If your vehicle is insured with ICBC for pleasure use, you may be surprised. What started out as a way to make some easy money could end up costing you. A lot.
Section 75 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act sets out when ICBC may deny your accident claim on the basis that you have breached your contract of insurance. This includes violating a term or condition of the insurance agreement.
Section 55 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act Regulation sets out the conditions constituting a breach. Section 55(2)(a) requires that you do not use the vehicle contrary to the use declared in the application for insurance.
If you are in an accident and found in breach of your insurance, you will not only lose your right to indemnity from ICBC, but will have to repay ICBC for all insurance claims resulting from that accident. Depending on how serious the accident is, that amount could potentially be in the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars.
The important thing to take from this article is this: confirm you have properly insured your car. Taking the short view to save a few bucks by insuring your business vehicle for pleasure use or knowingly misrepresenting the Principal Operator for your teenager’s car will be of little consolation if ICBC finds you in breach after an accident. Depending on the circumstances, you could even be charged under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act for misrepresentation, or the Criminal Code for fraud.
Avoid The Breach. You buy insurance for a reason. Take the long view to ensure it will be there for you if you need it.
Einfeld Law is a highly knowledgeable and experienced BC personal injury law firm specializing in motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other negligence claims involving bodily injury. We have successfully litigated many ICBC and other insurance claims, including out of province, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury, whiplash, soft tissue injury, and all other bodily injury claims. We have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We never act for ICBC or other insurance companies.