Rideshare companies such as Uber and Bolt have revolutionised the way people move around South Africa, providing a convenient and affordable alternative to traditional taxi services. But driving for these companies also comes with its own set of risks, including liability for accidents, theft of your vehicle, and more. In this article, we will discuss the top five risks facing rideshare drivers and how to address each one to protect yourself and your personal car.
7 Top Risks for Uber and Bolt Drivers in South Africa
Uber drivers and other e-hailing drivers face many risks. To make sure you get the most out of your work, it is important to get protection and reduce your risks wherever possible. That way, you can walk away with actual cash in your pocket when you drive for ride-hailing apps. These are some of the greatest risks e-hailing drivers in South Africa face, including physical and mental health concerns, and what you can do to reduce each risk. By applying these tips, you can keep yourself and your passengers safer, while reducing financial risks in the long run.
One of the biggest risks facing rideshare drivers is the potential for accidents while on a ride request. A personal auto insurance policy usually does not cover you in the event of an accident that occurs while you are using your vehicle for commercial purposes. That means if you are in an accident while offering an SA Bolt or Uber service, the accident won’t be covered.
Many drivers working for a Rideshare app do not own a personal policy for car insurance, instead depending solely on whatever cover the app may provide. Uber, for example, offers a low cover option for their drivers. Unfortunately, it often can’t cover all the risks they face or pay out to the level needed to cover the costs of an accident or injury.
To protect yourself, it’s important to get a rideshare insurance policy that provides the necessary coverage for accidents that occur while driving for a rideshare company. The rideshare insurance policy you choose should offer comprehensive coverage for accidents, including collision coverage and bodily injury coverage. It should also allow for using your vehicle for work, unlike a personal car insurance policy.
2. Vehicle Theft
South Africa is one of the crime capitals of the world, and every year we experience many thousands of vehicle thefts. This is another risk that rideshare drivers face. Whether it’s from a passenger or from someone else, the loss of your vehicle can be a significant financial blow.
The best ways to address the risk of theft are firstly to install a vehicle tracking system. Secondly, you can get Uber Insurance from a reliable insurance company. Lastly, you can increase the security of your vehicle with things like an ai-powered dashcam and alerts for theft attempts with more sophisticated tracking devices.
3. Physical Injury to Passengers or Yourself
Driving for a rideshare company exposes you to the risk of physical injury, either to yourself or to passengers in your vehicle. In the event of an accident, you may be responsible for covering medical expenses and other related costs. To protect yourself, it’s important to have adequate liability coverage, including bodily injury coverage, as part of your rideshare insurance policy.
4. Health Issues for Rideshare Drivers
In addition, drivers should be aware of other health concerns that come with the job, including back, leg, and knee pain from sitting for long hours. Many drivers point to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, and limited access to bathrooms as further challenges that can affect their health.
It’s important to find strategies to address each of these challenges, for example, by packing healthy lunches prepared before you start your day, scheduling gym sessions in before or after your shift, and taking frequent breaks to stretch your legs. It has been noted in some studies that drivers tend to ignore these health concerns in order to earn enough to make ends meet.
To stay healthy, it is important to prioritise self-care. This protects you, as a rideshare driver, in the long run, because you will stay healthy and able to work longer. A rested and alert driver is also much less likely to end up in an accident.
5. Stress Levels
Driving for a rideshare company can also lead to elevated levels of mental and physical stress for drivers. Considering the many challenges they face, it’s no wonder many drivers experience mental health challenges, too. Mentally, drivers can feel overwhelmed by passenger demands and navigating potentially dangerous situations, including verbal or physical abuse from passengers or rides to unfamiliar parts of the city at night.
To reduce the risk of mental and physical stress for rideshare drivers, it’s important to prioritise self-care. This can include taking regular breaks, practicing healthy habits such as eating nutritious food and staying hydrated, and finding ways to manage stress and deal with difficult passengers.
Many rideshare companies also offer resources and support to help drivers manage their well-being while on the job. Consider reaching out to your company or seeking out support from organisations designed to help rideshare drivers cope with the demands of the job.
6. Low Earnings
Some people have accused e-hailing services of intentionally creating a work environment that delivers too little pay for the amount of work they need to put in, putting drivers into a precarious situation. Drivers often lack job security and may be forced to work longer hours to make ends meet. Fuel prices, predetermined standard service fees, pocket expenses, maintenance costs of their personal vehicles, and the costs of an adequate insurance premium can mean the money drivers make is too little.
Before signing up to become a driver, it is important to count the cost. Companies may claim you can make a certain amount of profit, but remember to count your costs before you celebrate. Consider fuel, wear and tear on your vehicle, insurance, your working hours, and fees you may need to pay to the rideshare company. Another way to address this risk is to look at what other ride-hailing drivers get from their companies and make a move to a different company if you get better benefits.
7. Coverage Gaps in Your Personal Car Insurance Policy
Finally, rideshare drivers face the risk of coverage gaps in their personal auto policy. An underinsured motorist is exposed to many more financial risks, and since you are on the road for long periods of time daily, the risk is greater for you than the average driver. If, for example, the average South African is at a 10% risk for experiencing an accident, your risk will be much greater.
This means that it is more likely for you to have a claim for theft or an accident at some point, and your personal auto policy may not cover it if you have any insurance. You may then be left to pay the expenses out of pocket.
To address this risk, you can consider purchasing a rideshare insurance policy that provides comprehensive coverage, including protection for theft, collision, and bodily injury.
Where to Get Started with Rideshare Insurance in South Africa?
So, how do you get the right rideshare insurance coverage to protect yourself as a rideshare driver? One option is to purchase a rideshare endorsement to your personal auto policy. This type of policy provides the additional coverage you need while driving for a rideshare company.
However, not all insurance providers offer rideshare endorsements, so you may need to look for a separate policy specifically for rideshare drivers. This is sometimes called Uber insurance or rideshare insurance.
You can purchase a standalone rideshare insurance policy like this, since it is a commercial policy specifically designed for rideshare drivers. This type of policy provides the necessary coverage for accidents, theft, and other incidents that may occur while driving for a rideshare company. Keep in mind that a standalone policy may cost more than a rideshare endorsement.
Insurance.co.za provides insurance quotes from a variety of insurance providers, making it easy to compare rates and coverage options to find the best policy for you. Let us help you find the right coverage to protect yourself as a rideshare driver today. You can start by filling in the form on this page.
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