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Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft allow a user to call a car that takes them to a specified destination with a few simple clicks. Thanks to this convenience, ride sharing apps are an increasingly popular way for Americans to get from point A to point B. Thirty-six percent of U.S. adults have used a ride-hailing service, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
You may wonder: Is Uber safe? Is Lyft safe? Uber and Lyft are statistically safe services — and may be a wise alternative to driving. Calling a rideshare instead of driving when you’ve had a few drinks, for instance, is likely a wise choice. But before setting out on your Uber or Lyft trip, you may want to make sure you’re aware of the potential risks and have a game plan for dealing with any issues that may arise.
Ridesharing facts and statistics
- 36% of Americans used a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft as of 2019, compared to half that proportion in 2015. (Pew Research Center)
- 61% of Americans have heard of, but not used, a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. (Pew Research Center)
- 3% of Americans have not heard of ridesharing services. (Pew Research Center)
- Rideshare adoption rates vary by age. 51% of Americans between ages 18 and 29 have used a rideshare service. (Pew Research Center)
- 24% of Americans age 50 and older have used a rideshare service. (Pew Research Center)
- Americans who make $75,000 a year are twice as likely as those earning less than $30,000 per year to have used ridesharing services. (Pew Research Center)
- 55% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree have used ride-hailing services, compared with 20% of those with a high school diploma or less. (Pew Research Center)
- In 2019 and 2020, 20 total fatalities and 3,824 sexual assaults were reported in Uber trips. (Uber U.S. Safety Report)
- 99.9% of Uber trips end without a safety incident. (Uber U.S. Safety Report)
- Between 2017 and 2019, Lyft received 10 reports of fatal physical assaults and 1,096 reports of sexual assault. (Lyft Community Safety Report)
- Between 2017 and 2019, more than 99% of Lyft trips ended without a safety incident reported. (Lyft Community Safety Report)
- Average Uber prices soared by 92% from 2018 to 2021. (New York Times)
Ridesharing safety tips
The vast majority of ride share trips — 99.9% of Uber, and more than 99% of Lyft trips — are completed without a critical safety issue reported. The tips below are meant to help both riders and drivers stay as safe as possible throughout the ridesharing experience.
- Wait for your ride inside. Stay indoors while requesting your ride — especially at night.
- Verify your ride. Confirm your ride by using the PIN verification service, which requires drivers to enter your preset PIN number before beginning the trip, and confirm the car’s license plate number before entering the vehicle.
- Wear a seatbelt. Sit in the backseat of the car, and make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened.
- Share your plans. Let family or friends know you’re planning to take an Uber or Lyft and share your trip details and ETA with them through the app.
- Inform your driver. Tell your driver that you’re sharing the trip details with someone; criminals are less likely to act if they know there’s a high likelihood of getting caught.
- Plan for the worst. Come up with a plan – and a signal – for yourself and your family members to quickly communicate and remove yourselves from any potentially unsafe situation.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe for any reason, ask the driver to pull over and end the ride. You can also press the emergency button on the Uber app to call for help.
- Plan ahead. Prepare for different potential passenger scenarios by writing down a plan for how you will handle each one.
- Screen passengers. Uber and Lyft allow you to see passenger ratings before deciding whether or not to accept a fare. Don’t be afraid to pass if the requesting rider’s rating is low. Many rideshare drivers consider ratings lower than 4.6 to be low.
- Provide ratings. If you encounter a passenger who acts poorly or makes you uncomfortable, you may want to give them a low rating to send a signal to other drivers. You can also reach out to your rideshare company and let them know. .
- Listen to your gut. If a passenger is making you feel unsafe, pull over in a safe, populated location and end the ride.
- Evaluate behavior. Pay attention to how your passengers act. This can help you get out of a dangerous situation.
- Make sure you’re insured. Most insurance companies offer special coverage called rideshare insurance for drivers associated with ride-hailing services. Drivers on the road can be unpredictable, so you may want to make sure that you’re properly prepared with the best car insurance available.
When thinking about safety — don’t forget about car insurance. Having the best car insurance available could help you prepare before hitting the road. And if you are a driver for a ridesharing service, you’ll need to ensure that you have the proper rideshare insurance to protect your finances.
Most personal car insurance policies do not cover you when you’re using your vehicle for business purposes. Uber and Lyft offer commercial insurance, but this coverage does not extend through the entire rideshare trip. For this reason, the commercial insurance provided through your rideshare employer may not be enough protection to give you peace of mind.
Lyft and Uber ride sharing services offer coverage only during specified times. Coverage windows are split up as follows:
- Offline: You are not covered by commercial insurance.
- Period 1 — Waiting for a request: You are not covered by commercial insurance.
- Period 2 — On the way to pick up a rider: You are covered by commercial insurance.
- Period 3 — Ride in progress: You are covered by commercial insurance.
What is rideshare insurance?
Rideshare insurance is a special type of car insurance that fills the coverage gap between the commercial policy provided by your rideshare employer and the coverage provided through your personal car insurance policy. Your liability insurance typically won’t be valid during the “app on” period of rideshare driving. During this time, your rideshare insurance can step in to cover certain damages.
If you fail to notify your car insurance provider that you drive for Uber or Lyft and neglect to purchase rideshare coverage, your insurer may choose to cancel or non-renew your policy.
If you’re unsure whether you need rideshare insurance, ask yourself: Do I receive payment for taking riders from one place to another? If so, you may be financially liable in the event of certain accidents. Your rideshare company may have a collision policy that can pay out to help repair your vehicle, but typically, these policies come with a high deductible.
Who and what does rideshare insurance cover?
Rideshare insurance provides coverage for you and your vehicle to fill the gap between what your personal car insurance policy covers and what your employer’s commercial policy covers. The good news is that rideshare insurance is typically fairly cheap — usually between $5 and $20 per month, according to Bankrate data.
How can I get rideshare insurance?
Some insurance providers don’t offer rideshare coverage or limit rideshare coverage to a select number of states. You can switch your car insurance to a company that does offer rideshare driving. Or, you could consider a commercial auto policy — but since these policies are designed to cover fleets, they are typically much more expensive than rideshare coverage.
You may want to compare car insurance quotes from a few different companies before deciding where to purchase a policy.
Statistically, rideshare apps are safe. Nearly 100% of Uber trips end without a safety incident. At the same time, staying vigilant is always important. Safety in your rideshare should be a top priority — whether you’re the driver or the rider. Luckily, taking a few simple precautions can help you get to your destination safely. Riders can increase their safety by checking their driver’s license plate and asking them to input your PIN number. Drivers can stay safe by staying vigilant and having the right rideshare insurance.