In the words of one very experienced lawyer who represents consumers against insurance companies, ride-hailing service drivers "are risking everything by not purchasing a commercial use endorsement" to add to their own personal auto insurance policies.
That's because, despite recent improvements to PIP coverage, Oregon did not change the exclusion of personal vehicles used for commercial purposes from collision or liability insurance coverage under the driver’s own personal insurance policy. The typical exclusion reads
“There is no coverage for an insured for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a vehicle while it is:
- Made available; or
- Being used to carry persons for a charge.
Anyone who drives for any of these companies in their own car IS NOT COVERED for liability (or collision) insurance benefits. Insurance coverage through the ride-hailing company's liability insurance coverage can be as low as $50,000 during certain periods of operation. A wreck, for which the Uber or Lyft driver is responsible, can result in no financial compensation for them for the loss of their vehicle plus they may be on the hook for damages to the other people or vehicle(s) and its occupants that exceeds the $50,000 minimum coverage.
The only way around this coverage exclusion is for the driver to purchase a separate commercial use endorsement for their vehicle.
The reality is the insurance companies are not educating their insureds about this exclusion and are not ‘offering’ this endorsement to their customers. For them, silence is golden (as in free $$$$$ for them as they keep enjoying your personal insurance premiums but deny claims for any losses arising while you were driving for pay).
(Side note: If you are an Uber or Lyft driver, this reminder is probably a good time to re-evaluate driving for these companies at all. When you look at the costs of the insurance and the wear and tear on your own vehicle and your own time, these companies are robbing you blind. The only way they make money on any particular ride is by underpaying you, the driver, who basically eats all the costs of the ride. And as a whole, these ride-hailing companies are dead losers, because their business model makes no sense and only serves to add traffic congestion. There's a tiny sliver of the business that might be profitable to serve, but only if there's about 99% fewer drivers competing to serve that business.)