As Florida continues to be a popular vacation destination for millions of visitors each year, the congestion on Florida’s highways also continues to clog. Given the heavy traffic, it makes sense that the state is embracing ride share options as a legitimate form of travel. It’s an enormous shift from the adage of “don’t get into cars with strangers” that so many grew up with.
Despite the growing popularity, the reality is that most passengers won’t have access to more information about a driver than their name, and the make and model of their vehicle. As some passengers are learning, more information is needed in some situations. For instance, what happens if the driver gets in a wreck? What is the best way to identify their insurance company?
To address these growing questions, Florida passed a new statute outlining new car insurance requirements for rideshare companies. The new law requires up to $1 million in coverage for ride share collisions. The statute also limits an insurer’s ability to coordinate benefits or subrogate a claim based on the driver’s workers compensation policy. It also raises the possibility that for some drivers the new coverage requirements will exceed the existing insurance coverage provided by the ride share companies.
It’s worth noting the statute also requires minimum coverage levels for most ride share companies. The new law also sets out a mandate that any ride share coverage is considered primary and may not be dependent on any coverage the driver carries.
Florida is a no-fault state. That means Florida law requires every driver to carry personal injury protection, otherwise known as PIP. The new statute alters that requirement for carriers insuring ride share drivers. The statute allows insurance companies the option to deny coverage of PIP claims on their personal insurance while driving for the ride share company. This change gives the individual’s insurer the ability to decline coverage on an accident without canceling the policy entirely.
The wording of the statute appears to absolve a driver’s personal insurance carrier of any responsibility for a PIP claim while driving on the clock. However, some of the language in the statute is ambiguous. It is recommended that insurers add endorsements or adjust policy language to clear up any statutory ambiguity.
Given the potential risk of a denial of coverage complicated with ambiguous statutory language, it’s highly recommended that insurers obtain legal counsel to review their policy language. It’s possible their current policy language could open them up to additional claims and litigation over coverage issues.