Car sharing and ridesharing services have changed the way people get around. In fact, these services have gained popularity in recent years—especially in urban areas. For example, many people who live in areas like D.C. only need a car once in a while and for only a few hours at a time. In fact, most of the time they aren’t even driving far. Because car sharing services like Zipcar and Car2go allow people to rent their cars by the hour and provide more flexibility than tradition rental cars, many people are choosing to postpone purchasing a vehicle and opt for renting a car every now and then.
Understanding How Car Sharing Services Work
With the use of smartphone applications, people are able to rent cars in their area, even dropping them off in other convenient locations around the city. This allows people to rent cars for short periods at a time, usually paying minimal fees.
Most car sharing services charge a registration fee of around $15, plus a monthly membership fee of $5 to $7. Once approved and a member, a person will have the ability to view cars available to rent in their location via the company’s app. People can rent a car for around $8 an hour. When they are done, they park it per the company’s requirements and lock it up. These vehicles can also be used for longer trips as well, but they have to be returned to certain areas in specified cities.
Are There Problems With Car Sharing Services?
Although these car sharing services are a great alternative to a normal rental car, there are some problems with these services in the case of a crash. And because more and more people are using car sharing services, as well as ride sharing services, it is predicted that the number of injury accidents involving these vehicles will be on the rise. This is why it is important that people understand accident liability coverage before renting one of these cars.
Because insurance is included when renting a car with these services, many people assume that their injuries and damages will be covered in the case of a crash; however, the coverage may not be enough—especially in the event of a traumatic accident involving serious injuries.
Most of the time, these car sharing services offer personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which will cover the costs of medical expenses for the driver but only to the state’s minimum limits. This means that in D.C., PIP benefits are $25,000 per person or $50,000 max per accident. Unfortunately, if injuries are serious, this money is only a fraction of what the costs will be—causing the driver a huge financial problem.
Understanding Insurance Coverage for People in Accidents Involving Car Sharing Vehicles
For a person hurt by a driver of a car sharing vehicle, the insurance policy limit provided by the car sharing service will probably not be enough to cover the other driver’s injuries, medical bills, property damages, and other trauma such as lost wages, mental anguish and future medical care and income loss. Consequently, a driver of another vehicle may have to turn to his or her own vehicle’s insurance for coverage and hope they have the right policy or right coverage limits to cover their losses, or else it could end up costing them big.
For a driver of a car sharing vehicle injured in an accident by a negligent driver, the same situation can also be true. If the negligent driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the cost of one’s injuries, medical bills, lost income, and other damages, a driver may be on the hook if the car sharing services insurance policy isn’t adequate.
When the Insurance Isn’t Enough to Cover Injuries
When a crash occurs, medical bills can add up fast, not to mention the possible need for future medical care and lost wages. And if several cars are involved in a crash—resulting in catastrophic injuries—the insurance coverage on the car sharing vehicle won’t go far. Even if it seems like there is enough insurance coverage provided, there will always be situations where insurance companies will try to settle claims for as little money as they can.
If you don’t own a vehicle and are occasionally renting cars, you should consider purchasing non-owner’s insurance to cover yourself when you get behind the wheel. This is because most car sharing services have limitations on their policies and do not provide enough liability, medical, and uninsured motorist coverage, which can leave you in a financial mess. And if you are injured in an accident with a ride sharing or car sharing company, contact an attorney who has experience understanding insurance coverage. We are constantly amazed at how insurance companies use unfair tactics to attempt to settle their cases for pennies on the dollar, and we will not allow them to take advantage of you.