Alberta Warns Uber Drivers to Get Extra Insurance, Passengers “Are at Risk”

If you’re an UberX driver in Alberta, the province’s superintendent of insurance, Mark Prefontaine, is warning drivers Uber’s insurance policy is inadequate if they get into an accident. UberX is company’s low cost option, where drivers pick up passengers with their own private vehicles, all coordinated via smartphones such as with the Uber iOS app.

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Prefontaine read Uber’s insurance policies—normally a closely guarded secret—after they were handed over to Edmonton officials a few weeks ago. After further examination, he said they are not enough, and urges passengers to ask drivers to see proof of commercial insurance, reports CBC News:

“A good part of it is because of the reliance that is put upon the driver’s own policy with their own insurer,” Prefontaine said.

“So unless that driver has contacted their insurance company…then any passenger that gets into that vehicle is going to be at risk just as will the driver and a bystander.”

Prefontaine, whose office is part of the Treasury Board and Finance department, told the Edmonton Journal “If you’re using Uber, you are at risk. That doesn’t mean in every circumstance a claim will not be paid, but that risk is high.”

All insurers in Alberta can cancel contracts and deny coverage, if drivers have been driving for hire, but fail to inform insurance companies they have been doing so.

Uber spokesman Xavier Van Chau responded by saying each driver has insurance, but did not clarify further, only to say “The bottom line is this: every ride on Uber is insured,” while adding “We look forward to continuing our conversation with governments in Alberta to find long term solutions to enhance public safety and offer more affordable transportation options.”

Transportation Minister Brian Mason said “We are prepared to work with Uber on resolving these issues,” noting how an inter-departmental working group has been setup to come up with a regulatory framework for companies like Uber to operate safely in the province.

Back in April, Uber was victorious in Edmonton as a judge struck down the city’s injunction on the ridesharing service. The injunction was sought in the first place as city officials questioned insurance coverage for passengers.

Despite these concerns raised in Alberta, will you continue to use Uber?