March 31, 2015 by Canadian Underwriter
Ontario’s financial regulator has released an infographic to its website warning about the insurance risks related to ride-sharing programs.
Ride-sharing services use an online app to connect passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles. The infographic, released last week by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), noted that “the services may signicantly impact your insurance coverage.”
The infographic noted that standard auto insurance policy excludes coverage when the vehicle is used to carry paying passengers or used as a taxi.
“You may not be protected against certain damages, losses and liabilities,” the infographic warns. “Know if you’re covered – ask your driver.”
The FSCO recommends that “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. It’s also a good idea to seek independent legal advice before you sign on.” [click image below to enlarge]
Ride-sharing programs have gained national attention recently, as companies like Uber have expanded, or proposed expanding, into cities across Canada. For example, last November, undercover agents in British Columbia with the authority to hand out fines of up to $5,000 announced that they would look for operators of unlicensed, alternative taxi services in the province.
Last October, bylaw officers in Ottawa conducted a sting and fined two UberX drivers, and the city said at the time that more charges were expected. The City of Toronto also issued a statement saying that UberX violated municipal bylaws and “may pose a serious safety risk.”