The bottom line is that you should be skeptical of new business models like Uber. The geeks who think them up have a bad habit of not thinking about things like insurance until the summons server comes knocking on their door.
The total value of auto insurance premiums issued in the United States in the third quarter of 2013 was $40.9 billion. That was an increase of a little over $1 billion from the same period in 2012 when the industry had $39.1 billion worth of premiums.
The insurer can raise the premium of or even cancel one of the policies without affecting the other. A person with a bundled car and home policy might see her auto insurance payment go up after an accident, while her homeowner’s premium stays the same.
If you are riding one on the public road and a car swerves to avoid you and gets into an accident you could be held liable. If you don’t have insurance the driver or her insurance company could come after your salary, your property or your bank accounts.
The reason the grid could go down is that the transformers and power lines in many residential neighborhoods are simply not built nor designed to handle the massive amounts of electricity vehicles require.
It is hard for some people to believe, but you may still have to buy car insurance, even if you don’t own a vehicle. The reason for this is that a driver can be held liable for an accident, even if he or she doesn’t own the vehicle he or she is driving. That means you can be sued over an accident you get into driving a car you don’t own.
So some insurance companies are awash in cash and are making money. Insurance is actually a very good business. Much of Warren Buffett’s fortune was built on the money generated by insurance companies. Basically, Warren used the money policyholders invested in his company to buy other companies and get financing for acquisitions.
The best way to think of an insurance broker is as a matchmaker who tries to arrange a relationship between a customer and an insurance company. The broker does not work for the company or represent it, although he or she does receive a commission from the insurer for referring a customer to it.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the insurance coverage provided by Uber or Lyft only pays for medical costs for passengers or persons injured in an accident, such as another driver. The driver of the Lyft car might end up having to pay his or her own medical costs if he or she is injured.
Some insurers may offer a discount if you set up an automated payment. This also reduces the chance of cancelled premiums. The drawback is that you may have no control over when the payment goes out.