Delivery driver blindsided by 'ride-share' insurance policy, on the hook for $25K repair bill
DENHAM SPRINGS - One woman is in a tough spot after her accident claim was denied by her car insurance carrier. The company tells her it's because of what she was doing while the accident happened.
The front of Karen Soileau's SUV is unrecognizable. The impact of her hitting the car in front of her was so hard the airbag deployed.
"I'm okay but the car's damaged really bad," Soileau said.
For the past two years, Soileau has been working as an Uber Eats delivery driver. She was driving to another part of town waiting for a delivery request to come through when she rear-ended someone.
After the accident she contacted Uber and called her insurance company, Progressive, to file a claim.
"Progressive calls me and says, 'your claim has been denied.' I said, 'why?'" Soileau explained. "She told me because I didn't have ride-share insurance."
It's a piece of information that really stumped Soileau since she delivers food, not people.
"I do not ride-share, I do Uber Eats food delivery," she said.
She thought she was doing everything by the book by paying her $400 monthly premium and doing her job. Thinking she'd be covered if anything happened while she was using her car. All along she wasn't covered. Now, it's going to cost her about $25,000 to fix the damage.
"I've paid collision over the years, always had comp. and collision on every vehicle I had," Soileau said.
She says she hasn't heard from Uber, but 2 On Your Side has. Uber requested to be "off the record" for the call. Brittany Weiss asked for a written statement about Uber's definition of ride-share but what they sent doesn't provide that definition.
Ride-share is something the dictionary says is "travel in a private vehicle by its owner, free or for a fee, especially as part of an arrangement made using a website or app."
Uber did say that insurers might cover rides and delivery, some just rides, but the driver's insurance carrier is the best resource for information on what's covered and what's required. It might vary by state or carrier.
Tuesday, 2 On Your Side contacted Progressive Customer Service and an agent said over the phone that in Louisiana delivery drivers using their personal car must have ride-share included in their policy, even if they are just delivering food.
"They're not willing to do anything further with my car. It'll just sit here," Soileau said.
It's all because she was active on the Uber Eats app when she crashed into the car in front of her.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance says that auto insurance companies stipulate whether they will cover "food delivery" or "ride-share" activities and, if so, what the driver must disclose and other criteria they must meet to be eligible for that coverage.