Canadian Underwriter

Canadian Taxi Association warns would-be drivers in Niagara, Ont. of Uber insurance risks

November 9, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Canadian Taxi Association (CTA) is warning anyone who is living in the Niagara, Ont. region and thinking of driving for Uber to think twice.

Personal auto insurance does not cover the elevated risks of vehicle damage or personal injury involved in providing commercial car for hire services

“Canadian insurance companies are cracking down on customers who drive for Uber without proper commercial coverage,” said CTA president Marc Andre Way in a press release on Friday. “Errant drivers are having their policies voided and could be left completely uninsured.”

The CTA noted that last week, Aviva Canada “cracked down on four Ottawa-based customers who are Uber drivers after having received information from the CTA.” Off-duty taxi drivers have been taking Uber rides to collect licence plate numbers and driver information and providing it to insurance companies, the CTA reported.

Personal auto insurance does not cover the elevated risks of vehicle damage or personal injury involved in providing commercial car for hire services. Any claims being made by Uber drivers or their passengers would be denied under personal insurance policies, the release said.

The CTA issued the warning after saying that “Uber continues to recruit Niagara area drivers even though the company cannot legally operate and its application is still only under consideration.”

Andre Way noted that regulated taxis are held to higher standards than “illegal” car-for-hire services. “We are properly insured, our cars meet all safely checks and our service is accessible to everyone,” he said.

The CTA is not the only association or jurisdiction warning of the risks associated with ridesharing companies. Last month, the City of Calgary urged caution after being advised that private for-hire vehicle company UberX intends to commerce offering its service in the city in breach of a bylaw.

Related: FSCO issues warning on ride-sharing programs

“The City advises citizens that there are risks associated with participating in private for-hire vehicle services such as Uber,” the city said in a statement on Oct. 15. “These risks include the fact that the vehicles are not inspected by the City and the drivers are not licenced by the City. There is also a risk that drivers, passengers and any third party involved in an accident with one of these vehicles may not receive insurance coverage or may receive only limited coverage.”

And earlier this year, in March, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) released an infographic on its website warning about the insurance risks related to ride-sharing programs, noting that “the services may significantly impact your insurance coverage.” The infographic pointed, like the CTA, that standard auto insurance policy excludes coverage when the vehicle is used to carry paying passengers or used as a taxi.

“If you are intending to participate in a ride-sharing service as a driver, you should check with your auto insurance representative to ensure you have proper insurance that protects the driver, passenger and others,” the FSCO said. “It’s also a good idea to seek independent legal advice before you sign on.”

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