With the advent of new enterprises that rely on cutting-edge technology, the landscape of insurance coverage is getting shaken up. In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature passed a new subdivision of the No-Fault Act to deal with issue of ride-sharing and the “who’s on first” question regarding priority of the coverage for no-fault benefits. See Minn. Stat. § 65B.472.
As many people know, once you click the button on the app that converts you into a ride-share driver, your insurance coverage changes for purposes of liability (and uninsured/underinsured motorist) coverage. However, most people do NOT appreciate or understand that what determines which company (yours or the Ride-share company’s) insurance governs no-fault coverage is determined ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY on WHAT or WHOM you are transporting.
In Minn. Stat. § 65B.472, “ride-sharing” is known as a “transportation network company.” According to the law, the “transportation network company” provides coverage for all benefits while “in the business of transporting persons”. In other words, once the button is on, the ride-share company carries the water. The problem lies in this little distinction: are you carrying a “what” or a “whom”?
According to the language plastered all over the statute and particular the definition section, “A ‘transportation network company’ means a corporation…that is operating in Minnesota that uses a digital network to connect transportation network company riders to transportation network company drivers who provide prearranged rides.” Note the word “RIDERS”: This matters because the law allows the driver’s personal policy to EXCLUDE from coverage claims made “while a driver is logged on to a transportation network company's digital network or while a driver provides a prearranged ride”. See subd 4.
So, this means if you are transporting anything OTHER THAN a person or persons, it is your OWN insurance that controls and is responsible for handling your claim for no-fault benefits.