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Ride-Share Drivers Face New Insurance Requirements

Jeff  Chiu / AP

In this Jan. 4, 2013 photo, Lyft driver Nancy Tcheou uses her phone to accept a ride from a passenger in San Francisco.

Jeff Chiu / AP

Insurance requirements are now higher for California ride-share drivers under a new state law that kicks in this month.

Drivers for “transportation network companies” like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar must now carry additional insurance from the moment they turn their ride-sharing apps on.

The higher limits are required even when a driver hasn’t been matched with a passenger yet.

“During that period, either the company or the driver must provide insurance,“ says Chris Shultz in the California Insurance Commissioner’s office, “and it’s a higher insurance limit than the rest of us are required to have. It’s $50,000 for injury to one person, $100,000 for injury to more than one person and $30,000 in property damage.”

Shultz says two insurance companies currently offer such policy "riders" specifically for TNC drivers. Other companies are expected to offer the coverage soon.

The law by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year after intense debate in the California Legislature.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio