An insurance policy is much like a life preserver; you pay for it and just kind of “hangs out.” You hope you never have to use it, but when you do, you’re really, really glad you have it.
North Carolina law requires that anyone driving for business – with or without passengers – must carry commercial auto insurance.
In the passenger transport industry, this is called “livery insurance.” There are different types of livery insurance depending on the nature of the business, including rideshare insurance, taxi insurance, and black car or limousine insurance.
Commercial auto insurance is expensive. Premiums are affected by such variables as fleet vehicles, number/ages/records of drivers, coverage limits, and deductibles.
You might ask, “Why should I care about my driver’s insurance?“
The most important reason this should matter to you is that any driver who has not secured an appropriate commercial policy is, in effect, driving uninsured. The consequence is that, if you are injured in an accident while traveling in their vehicle, you’ll need to pursue an alternative strategy – most likely a lawsuit – to get reimbursed for your medical bills, the nightmare of which is detailed in this article.
(Note: Even among insured drivers, the minimum coverage limits in North Carolina ($30k/$60k) may fall short of covering a passenger’s medical costs in the event of an accident, which is why WNC Shuttle luxury car service carries high limit insurance ($1.5M/$1M))
Passengers should be aware that there are many drivers who don’t know that their personal auto policies won’t cover them while they transport passengers.
Others, including drivers who work for ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, must navigate a maze of insurance requirements, as detailed in this article.
Finally, due to the high premiums, some drivers simply ignore the requirement altogether believing “it’ll never happen to me.”
What can you do to protect yourself?
When you’re planning your ride, look for clues that a driver may not be insured.
- High insurance premiums make it difficult for someone to “dabble” in professional driving. If the driver you’re considering holds a full-time day job, but occasionally drives people to the airport for a fee, it’s highly unlikely they carry commercial insurance.
- If you are quoted a rate that’s way out of line with competing services, it’s very possible they can only do so at a profit because they are not burdened with the expense of a commercial policy.
- Is the company new? Because the driving business is easy to get into, some new drivers jump in without researching their insurance requirements.
Even after you’ve identified what you believe or know to be a reputable private car company, ask them about their insurance coverage. Don’t simply ask IF they’re covered, but also ask about their coverage limits. It doesn’t take very long to accrue $30,000 in medical expenses.
Finally, feel free to ask to see a copy of the company’s certificate of coverage. While this may not be a common request, it’s easy to produce and there’s no reason it cannot be shared. WNC Shuttle is always happy to provide evidence of insurance upon request.
WNC Shuttle luxury private car service provides our clients with a consistently positive transportation experience that’s rooted in safety, dependability, and convenience.