Lyft and Uber drivers may need additional insurance coverage


– The cold of St. Paul is no match for the puny single mother, Kelly Muñoz, who observes deflated airbags, a flat front tire and significant damage to the front of her 2018 Jeep.

"It's not exactly," she explained.

The entire SUV is parked in her friend's garage picking up dust.

"It's so devastating," Muñoz said.

The frustration of the full-time social worker and part-time driver Lyft is still palpable two months after being struck by David Acosta-Rosario, 23, of St. Paul Park. Acosta-Rosario was later charged with speeding, uninsured driving and revoked driving after an impact that was not without injury.

"I got a concussion, back and neck pain, and I'm always treated for the lower back," Muñoz said, "I see a physical therapist and a chiropractor whom I have to see three times a week."

Adding insult to injury, Muñoz is forced to rely on his own cover for the $ 28,000 that she owes to the Jeep.

"I fought back and forth with both insurances," she said.

Although Lyft agreed to cover Muñoz's medical expenses, she did not learn until after the accident that she was not completely covered. At the time of the accident, Munoz was connected to the Lyft pilot's application, but she had no passenger with her and had not yet been matched with one. Nor did she have a "car pooling guarantee" in her plan through American Family Insurance. Without passengers and riders, neither company will accept its car claim.

"Despite the fact that American Family Insurance is one of the 10 largest insurance companies in the country, it does not even offer this solution to Minftota Lyft drivers," said Muñoz's lawyer Howard. Sussman.

"I think Lyft has the most responsibility because they were obliged to explain to Kelly in great detail the writing and training of their pilots, including Kelly, in order to make sure that There were no gaps in coverage, "Sussman said.

Nevertheless, some would say that it is up to the driver to know exactly how much insurance he needs.

In a statement to FOX 9, Campbell Matthews, spokesman for Lyft, writes:

"Safety is Lyft's top priority and we recognize that it was scary and unfortunate." After learning of the incident, Lyft contacted the driver to support him, investigate the incident and an expert on claims was in contact to explain and explain our hedging policy. "

At the same time, the spokesperson of the American family, Janet Matthews, says:

«This endorsement [rideshare insurance] is not yet available at American Family in Minnesota. Again, even though we really sympathize with Ms. Muñoz … and her situation, a personal auto insurance policy does not provide coverage when the car is used for commercial purposes, such as driving for a transportation network company like Lyft.

"It's completely unfair," Muñoz said, shaking his head.

And she is not the only carpool driver to have been caught off guard by the news.

"I was not aware of carpooling insurance, we never talked about it with Lyft [or Uber]. They just needed to see that I had insurance on my vehicle and I assumed that they had accepted it, I was covered, "said Natalie Beecham, chauffeuse. Lyft and Lyft.

Beecham only takes passengers to earn extra money, but when she heard Muñoz's story, it made her reconsider her decision.

"I stopped driving," said Beecham. "The responsibility that this leaves you, I do not know if it's worth changing, if you do not do it like your full-time job," Beecham said.

As Muñoz has learned to his cost, uninformed risk far outweighs the reward.

Without further recourse, Muñoz launched a GoFundMe Page to help her pay for her jeep so that she can get into a new car. Until then, she stopped driving for Lyft and borrowed a friend's car to get to work full time and take her son, Hank, to school.

"I also hope that by telling my story, I will be able to educate other Uber and Lyft drivers who find themselves in situations similar to those of mine, convinced that they are not not covered by their insurance, "said Muñoz.