Private limousine services like Uber and Grab are the new way to get around. Affordable and accessible at almost any time of the day, they allow us to travel in comfort without breaking the bank. Unlike other countries around the region, Singapore has welcomed these private limousine services, however disruptive they may be. Latest estimates put the number of private-hire drivers in Singapore between 6,000 to 8,000 drivers. That means that 20% of passenger vehicles for hire on the road in Singapore today are private limousines like Uber and Grab.
Road accidents happen often, especially if you spend long hours on the road. The average Uber driver spends at least four times more time on the road weekly then the average motorist. This puts private-hire drivers at a much higher risk of being involved in an accident. The roads can be a harsh environment to ply your trade, and it can be hard to protect yourself from its many dangers.
Even so, there are here are some useful tips to live by in order to stay safe while you drive:
Have an Insurance plan that really protects you
Reading the fine print is never fun, but knowing exactly what you are insured against can potentially save you a lot of money should you get into an accident on the road. Does your insurance plan fully cover third party liability? What about your personal injuries sustained?
Most commercial insurance plans from Uber or Grab do cover third-party liability (Passengers, that still means you should buckle up if you’re Grab-bing or Uber-ing).
All insurance plans will have a detailed breakdown of what you’re insured for and the extent of coverage. Should you have questions regarding your insurance, always clarify your doubts with the insurance company before committing to an insurance plan.
Make sure your sub driver is registered.
Sub-drivers, like relief drivers, allow two (or more) private-hire drivers to share one vehicle. Generally sub-drivers are great as working as a team helps you to get the most of your mileage, especially if you’re driving a rented car.
Car rental companies like Lion City Rentals require sub drivers to register with them. As a rule Uber requires all sub drivers to register with them before they’re allowed on the road, and for good measure. In the event that your sub driver gets into an accident and they are not a registered uber driver, you will be held liable for the accident. So unless you want to be staring down the barrel of huge financial costs for an accident you did not commit, register your sub driver before they hit the road!
Know what to do in an accident.
Familiarizing yourself with your car rental company’s accident protocol might prevent you from being taken advantage of. This is especially important since Uber doesn’t have an accident protocol. Here’s what you can do if you’re involved in an accident:
- Exchange particulars with the other party — Keeping a level head in the moments after being involved in an accident is tough. Exchanging particulars with the other party ensures that you have whatever you need to proceed with insurance claims should you choose to do so. Always do this first.
- Always do a thorough examination of the extent of damage done to both vehicles — Use your smartphone or camera to take pictures of the vehicle AND the scene of the accident. Having photographic evidence of the scene of the accident and the extent of damage from both vehicles helps to keep track of the state of both the vehicles after the accident. This is especially important in preventing various forms of insurance fraud, such as an unfair appraisal by the other party’s insurance company. Taking pictures of the scene helps ensure that the other party only makes insurance claims for damage that was sustained during the accident and not from anywhere else.
- Do not engage in dealings with unauthorised tow truck dealers or workshops before agreeing on the next course of action with the other party. The dangers of engaging with unauthorized tow trucks are familiar to most motorists on the road. Always call your insurance company’s hotline to request a tow truck. While some plans do not place restrictions on which car workshop you are able to send your car for repairs, most insurance plans will have their preferred workshops that you have to go to in order to enjoy the benefits of your plan. It is useful therefore to remember these workshops in the event of an accident.
- Contact your car rental company if you are driving a rented car — Your car rental company may provide additional important information about what you need to do. Be sure not to overlook this step. Your car rental company would also be able to tell you which workshop to send your car to.
- Contact your insurance company within 24 hours of the accident — It is common practice to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. If you do not do so after 24 hours, your insurance company may refuse to accept any claims resulting from the accident.
Get a Lawyer to make sure your all your bases are covered.
Engaging a Lawyer to assist you in post-accident processes can save you time and unnecessary worrying. Having someone who can manage your personal medical or vehicle damage claims gives you a peace of mind. If you don’t know a lawyer and don’t have time to find one, you can talk to our panel of experienced lawyers over the phone with our Quick Consult service. It takes minutes to set up and only costs S$49.
This article is written by Ong Kheng Hian from Asia Law Network.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.