Be a Rideshare Pro: Tips for Success, Safety, and Insurance

Uber and Lyft cartoon

With the growth percentage of the rideshare industry in the double digits, services such as Uber and Lyft are always looking for drivers. But it takes much more than just a driver’s license, a reliable vehicle, and an Android or smartphone to snag those top earnings.

Before you jump into the popular rideshare game, learn the ins and outs of doing it successfully and safely.

Being a rideshare pro also includes having the right insurance on your vehicle. Find out if car insurance covers Uber, the most popular ridesharing service, as well as Lyft, the second-largest ride-sharing app.

Tips for Rideshare Success

Whether you’ve joined the ranks of rideshare drivers as a full-time gig or just a side hustle to help cover emergency costs, you want to be successful at it. Here are several pointers to do just that.

Rideshare Customer Service

The more of a people person you are, the better a rideshare driver you will be. Excellent customer service that will get you good ratings and garner more money include: 

    Go where the passengers are. Instead of driving around aimlessly, be aware of busy spots. You’ll waste less gas, get more business, and have clients who have to wait less for you.

    Be friendly and greet each passenger with a smile.

    Be presentable.

    Keep your car clean.

    Use your emotional intelligence to “read” your passengers. If they want to converse, by all means, get chatty. But if they’re non-communicative or look busy, cut the chatter but stay pleasant.

    Master the art of staying calm and focused under pressure.

    Provide that extra level of customer service with a good phone charger.

    Become familiar with what to do and how to do it quickly when a customer is unsatisfied. Your finesse and speed in problem-solving will help your ratings and your earnings.

Rideshare Driver Care

Providing great customer service while dealing with driving can be stressful, so don’t make it harder on yourself: 

   Take advantage of the job’s flexibility. As an independent contractor, you can choose when you work, how long you work, and even what pickups you do. So keep yourself in the best state of mind so you get the best ratings from customers — which leads to better earnings. 

Know your limits, and don’t push them. Working longer and harder without taking proper eye breaks and stretch breaks may end up causing all kinds of complications, from generating less-than-stellar reviews for being tired and grouchy to, much worse, engaging in drowsy driving that could result in an auto accident.  

    Keep snacks and water handy. Keep yourself well fed and hydrated so you don’t waste time and money on takeout. 

    Know where the bathrooms are. Not to be indelicate, but all that hydrating will lead to this essential knowledge. Scope out public restrooms with free parking. You can’t be a peak rideshare driver if you’re stressing about your personal hygiene. 

   Know your surroundings. This means knowing the most congested traffic times as well as what construction is going on. Paying attention to both of these items can help you avoid them and lower your stress. 

    Get a reliable GPS. You can use Waze or Google Maps while driving for Uber or Lyft. But if you want the best car GPS, The Rideshare Guy polled Uber drivers, whose top three are Garmin DriveSmart 51 NA LMT-S, TomTom GO 520, and Garmin Drive 50 USA LM. Mount your phone where you can easily see it to help reduce dangerous distractions. 

Also, look into the possibility of having photo-enforced locations on your driving app. This is a free map of red light cameras, speed cameras, traffic cameras, and toll road cameras for your phone. 

While the quicker you get your customer and get them to their destination, the more money you make, being mindful of traffic cams will help remind you not to drive recklessly, including speeding, and get pulled over.

Tips for Rideshare Safety

Uber masks 

Go the extra mile for you and your clients when it comes to safety.

Rideshare Safety Protocols

Keeping your car clean has been of even greater importance this past year, as both Uber and Lyft instituted health protocols to assuage passenger skittishness in the wake of the pandemic. 

Make sure you comply with the safety protocols — not only to make your passengers feel better but also to protect yourself. 

If driving for Uber, stay stocked up on the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes the company provides so your passenger can get a notification in the app before their ride. They can ask you for so they can wipe down potential “hotspots” like seat belt buckles, door handles, and window buttons. 

If driving for Lyft, install the vehicle partition the company provides. 

With both services, wear your mask, request that riders wear a mask, don’t touch your face, wash your hands frequently, open windows for additional airflow, and pause pooled and shared rides.

Personal Safety for Rideshare Drivers and Passengers

Keep risk to you and your clients as low as possible with these tips: 

    Park as close to your client as possible.

    Stop at an area in which your client has a clear path to your vehicle. Look out for possible slip, trip, and fall hazards.

    Stay in well-lit areas: Park under a street light, if possible.

    Keep a flashlight handy in case a client needs assistance at night.

    Verify your rider by asking them to confirm your name before entering your vehicle.

    Encourage back-seat riders.

    Always wear your seat belt, and ask your passengers to do the same.

    Don’t share personal information, such as your contact information, last name, or social media handles.

Tips for Rideshare Insurance

Most personal car insurance doesn’t cover rideshare services. If you’re getting paid for using your car, then your vehicle is no longer just for personal use. 

Reaching out to your insurance carrier when you’re looking into becoming a rideshare driver should be mandatory. 

Not only could your insurer cancel your policy if they find out you haven’t disclosed that you drive your car for money, but they can provide you with the information you need to be fully covered on the job. 

For example, Uber and Lyft do provide insurance, but there are coverage gaps since this insurance doesn’t apply the entire time you’re on the job. 

You can purchase rideshare insurance if it’s available where you live. This is a hybrid policy that includes coverage for personal auto use and for the times drivers are signed in to a ridesharing app but not covered by the insurance Uber or Lyft provides. Some rideshare policies will also provide coverage on top of what Uber and Lyft offer. 

If rideshare insurance isn’t available, then you would need a commercial insurance policy to be fully insured and avoid being dropped by your carrier.

Uber and Lyft Rideshare Coverage

The Uber and Lyft insurance coverage gaps to which we’re referring are during what’s known as Period 1. This is when you’re online and waiting for a request. 

During this period, the only insurance provided is liability “when necessary,” meaning they will maintain $50,000 for injury, $100,000 for total liability, and $25,000 for property damage if you don’t have applicable insurance of at least that amount. 

So you have no collision coverage from Uber or Lyft and much lower liability limits. And your personal insurer likely won’t cover you during this time, either. 

Uber and Lyft will cover you during Periods 2 and 3. Period 2 starts when you accept a ride request and are en route to your passenger. Period 3 starts once your passenger enters your vehicle and continues until the passenger exits. 

That coverage features $1 million in liability, the same amount for uninsured/underinsured motorist injury, and contingent collision and comprehensive up to the actual cash value. Uber has a $1,000 collision deductible and Lyft has a $2,500 collision deductible.

Where to Get the Best Insurance for Rideshare Drivers

Rideshare insurance is the optimal type of insurance coverage for rideshare drivers since the additional cost for it is much lower than for additional types of coverage, ranging from only $20 a year up to 20% of your premium. 

Many top-tier and second-tier insurance companies offer rideshare insurance: The highest recommended ones are Allstate, Geico, Farmers, State Farm, and USAA. 

Also look for ridesharing insurance from Bristol West, Erie, Liberty Mutual, Mercury, Quoteasy, and Safeco. 

A commercial car insurance policy would cost more since it has higher liability limits than typical policies. Look to spend on average from $1,200 to $2,400 annually for this type of policy. The best commercial policy insurers are Farmers, Nationwide, and Progressive. 

The point is to compare multiple companies, whether you need ridesharing or commercial car insurance or even usage-based car insurance. You’ll be surprised by the difference that each company will quote you on a rate. 

So factor that in, along with researching business ratings and customer reviews, to find the best rideshare-related insurance for you. 

Karen Condor is an insurance expert who writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, Karen specializes in rideshare driver insurance coverage and related savings.