A common question from drivers relates to rideshare insurance. Is it needed? Doesn't the rideshare company have comprehensive cover for the drivers?
To answer this properly it is imperative that the driver understands the 3 phases of the rideshare journey, and more importantly to understand when lack of insurance leaves them most vulnerable.
This graphic illustrates the phases:
Rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft, only provide insurance that covers phases 2 and 3. This means that prior to accepting a passenger request you are not covered.
So what? Your personal insurance carrier will cover that, right? The short answer is No. However, most insurance companies will provide rideshare coverage for that gap, at pretty reasonable rates. And, if any of you have tried to file a claim with an insurance company, you will have no doubt that their investigators will find any reason not to pay out... that could include examining your phone logs to see if you were texting, and while they are looking at that they may just peak to see if you were logged into a rideshare app at the time you are filing the claim for.
When I started driving, it was out of a need to pay some
bills. I was worried, however, that I could not have a sustainable side gig if
I was only driving an hour or two each day. Ultimately I decided that the only
way to find out was to jump in and start learning.
The first thing that I wanted to do was to lay out a
structure to my driving… would it be evenings or mornings? What areas would I
start my driving from?
I read many articles about all things Uber and ultimately
decided on the following structure:
I read that showing a commute prior to first
passenger pick up was a good thing to have on a driver log. So I decided that
my start position would be 1 mile up the road at a local gas station – here I
could fill the tank up, wash the windshield and vacuum the seats with better
visibility that on my driveway.
I am an early rider, so I started driving at 6am
to see what business was about.
The airport is close to my regular job, so that
seemed like a logical end point for the morning’s drive.
What I discovered was that the gas station was an ideal
staging area – not only could I make sure my vehicle was gassed and clean, but
I could also get a coffee, mints etc for the morning.
I started driving at 6am and found that there were a lot of
drivers in the area, so I changed my start time to 5:30…. I kept doing this
until I found my sweet spot; the time that gives me a competitive advantage,
and isn’t too painful. This will be different for everyone, but for me 4:45am
is perfect. 95% of the time I receive a request within 2 minutes of turning on
the app. For the majority of these early bird passengers the trip is to the
airport (a $15 base fare). That is a nice way to start the day!
Now, this means I am at the airport at about 5:20ish… which
is far too early to sign off and head into my normal job. So, the next question
is what to do once I drop off at the airport? The first passenger flights
arrive at 6ish, so there won’t be any pick-ups for at least 30 minutes after
that. This means I needed a strategy to keep driving. I kept in mind that I
needed to minimize ‘dead miles’ and increase profitability, so the choice came
down to the following:
Head to the closest airport-convenient hotels
and stage there.
Head to the resort hotels that I started near.
Drive without a plan, hoping to catch random
I tried each method and found that option one was fairly
successful – I could make 2 or 3 trips back to the airport, but the fares rarely
exceeded $5. Option 3 was by far the worst strategy… sometimes I would add 30
miles without a passenger to my driving; miles that I was not earning, that I
was incurring expense for gas and wear and tear etc. Option 2 seemed to work –
I drive from the airport to the main road that heads back to my starting point.
This road passes multiple hotels and I usually get multiple fares that range
from $5 to $15. Often I will find a passenger in a hotel near the airport, who
is attending a business meeting further towards my initial start position, so I
can drive back and forth, picking up passengers in each direction.
As a result, my average day nets me about $50 for a drive
time of 4:45 till 7:00. That is a $20/hr average.
I do this Monday to Friday each week, so my income is
boosted by about $13,000 each year. So, my side-gig is profitable, enjoyable
and does not take away time from my family… plus I rarely have to worry about