Action 9

Accidents involving ride-share drivers can be tough road to navigate

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Brevard county man is dealing with what he calls an insurance nightmare after his car was struck by an Uber driver.

Paul Rosarius drives a BMW 745e, a car he saved for a long time to purchase.

“We love the car. So, it’s a beautiful car and real good on gas being a hybrid,” Rosarius said.

That’s why it was a big disappointment when it was struck in December by an Uber driver as his wife was picking up their granddaughter in Oviedo.

Rosarius said, “The police came and took the report and he was at fault. He just totally turned into her.”

Records show the other driver was cited for careless driving. But his personal insurance rejected Rosarius’ insurance claim to fix the damage because it determined the driver was on the job for Uber at the time of the crash.

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Rosarius told Action 9 Uber’s insurance carrier Progressive Insurance then fought him for a month before finally taking responsibility for the damage.

“I finally could take it to the shop and get it fixed that they told me to take it to the shop with my choice, Rosarius said.

But when he took it to a certified BMW repair shop in Orlando it got even worse. He claims at first, Progressive wouldn’t cover damaged aluminum on the car and said he’d have to pay more than a thousand dollars out of pocket. Later his body shop informed him Progressive wouldn’t cover around $200 for the paint work.

“They said that Progressive is not paying the full bill and that I would have to be pay some of it and I said, ‘That’s not right. We weren’t at fault at all.’”

Insurance expert Tom Cotton told Action 9 as soon as ride share drivers go on the clock, the ride share company insurance kicks in at a lower coverage amount. Then once a rideshare passenger is engaged the liability coverage jumps to a million dollars. In this case, there was an Uber passenger in the car.

“Once you’re logged on, you’re technically on the ride share’s insurance,” Cotton said.

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But Cotton added it does muddy the waters for other drivers if they have to try figure out the at-fault driver was on the clock for Uber at the time of a crash.

Rosarius said he spent hours dealing with it before he learned the driver was on the job.

Rosarius said, “Uber should have more responsibility and not just not just let us chase it down. Maybe the guy should have told us, ‘I’m driving for Uber. Here’s the insurance right up front.’”

As for the coverage for the paint, Cotton said typically insurance carriers must restore the vehicle with “like kind and quality.”

He said, “If it was one of my clients, we would we would have a come to Jesus meeting with the insurance company that they need to do the right thing.”

For Rosarius, the whole process has soured him on Progressive and even Uber for using Progressive for its coverage.

“It gives me a very bitter taste about Uber. I probably won’t be using Uber anytime soon,” he said.

Since the claims process is still ongoing, Uber didn’t want to comment on this case, but said the company provides insurance as required by state law.

Action 9 reached out to Progressive by email and phone three days in a row, but the company hasn’t responded. As of now, it is covering the aluminum damage, but still refusing to cover full cost to paint the car at the BMW certified shop.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.