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Every instance of the word "livery" in my insurance policy's exceptions list is followed by an exemption for "share-the-expense" car pools (i.e. the policy is conventional in that it does cover accidents that occur during so-called "share-the-expense" carpooling.)

I know there's a broad precedent already in-place for what this sort of carpool definition may encompass. But has Waze Carpool per se been tried, and, if so, found lacking in this?

Several Reddit threads ([CA] /r/wazecarpool, [CA] /r/Insurance) have put forth the idea that it'd qualify, but nobody's actually confirmed it.

Waze Carpool considers itself “…a fresh way to share the road and the cost of commuting”, emphasizing that it's a way to Share the cost of gas and tolls”… but do insurance companies agree?


PART B - MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE

Exclusions

We do not provide Medical Payments Coverage for any "insured" for "bodily injury:"

  1. Sustained while "occupying" "your covered auto" when it is being used as a public or livery conveyance. This exclusion (2.) does not apply to a share-the-expense car pool.

PART C - UNINSURED MOTORISTS COVERAGE

EXCLUSIONS

B. We do not provide Uninsured Motorists Coverage for "bodily injury" sustained by any "insured:"

  1. While "occupying" "your covered auto" when it is being used as a public or livery conveyance. This exclusion (B.2.) does not apply to a share-the-expense car pool.

PART D - COVERAGE FOR DAMAGE TO YOUR AUTO

Exclusions

We will not pay for:

  1. Loss to "your covered auto" or any "non-owned auto" which occurs while it is being used as a public or livery conveyance. This exclusion (1.) does not apply to a share-the-expense car pool.
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  • (This is a separate question from one asking after services such as Uber and Lyft, which are, essentially, taxi services whose drivers happen to be independent contractors; these companies furnish their own insurance for such decidedly commercial use of the vehicles.) Dec 17, 2020 at 0:06
  • Does the policy define anywhere what a "share-the-expense car pool" is?
    – Ryan M
    Dec 23, 2020 at 4:10
  • @RyanM It, interestingly, does not contain any definitions for share-the-expense car pool. (I would have included them in the post if it had.) For some reason, that's been left for the courts to hammer out the details. Dec 23, 2020 at 23:35

2 Answers 2

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It is hard to say, because Waze Carpool has some of the elements of a "for hire" arrangement while generally being like a conventional car pool. It is the same as Lyft / Uber in that you contact a central facility ad libitum to get a ride from a semi-random driver. Waze Carpool is more like a public conveyance, where the vehicle is used indiscriminately to transport the public, not limited to certain persons or occasions, so might be excluded on those grounds. But obviously, Waze Carpool is not exactly the same as Lyft: the question is whether the similarity is crucial to the rational behind the exclusion. Waze is different in that the driver was probably going that way anyway, and they aren't doing it for profit. The rationale for non-coverage of ride-for-hire is that the practice significantly increases the insurance company's risk, hence the special rate for Lyft drivers. The rationale for the car-pool exclusion is in part that such use does not increase the insurance companies exposure due to extra driving or driving in worse conditions. It is most likely that Waze Carpool would not be considered a ridesharing enterprise, but an insurance company might decide to make law with a test case. So far, insurance companies haven't announced a Waze exclusion.

The contract clause is potentially open to two interpretations.

While "occupying" "your covered auto" when it is being used as a public or livery conveyance. This exclusion (B.2.) does not apply to a share-the-expense car pool

could be read as meaning "this exclusion does not apply to a public conveyance which is also a share-the-expense car pool; or it could mean "public conveyances are not covered; share-the-expense car pools are not 'public conveyances'". It is bedrock certain that livery and public conveyance vehicles are not covered. The second reading is the most natural and the first reading is rather contorted reasoning. (Technically, this the the difference between a restrictive and a non-restrictive modifier, where the former describes a subset of public conveyances). The purpose of that final sentence is to say explicitly that carpools are not "public conveyances", if you were in doubt.

Under the second reading, the insurance-company favoring position is that Waze is not a carpool (the name assigned by Waze being irrelevant), it is simply a novel form of public conveyance. That is, the insurance company would not just say "Well, since Waze calls it a "carpool", it's a carpool", instead they would find those essential properties that make it look like a public conveyance, and then say "Because of this, it's not a carpool".

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  • It's undisputed that Waze Carpool is a public conveyance, however: that exclusion is overridden iff it's [also] judged a share-the-expense car pool. The question is over the applicability of the latter label, not the former. Dec 17, 2020 at 1:33
  • “So far, insurance companies haven't announced a Waze exclusion.” — actually, see my answer: it seems they HAVE: personal vehicle sharing programs. Dec 17, 2020 at 1:38
  • What person with legal standing has (dispositively) stipulated this? In a lawsuit, it would be insurance company v. insured, so are you saying that you've found a relevant case over Waze? I see how you're interpreting the exclusion clause, but I think that is the wrong reading. I'll elaborate later.
    – user6726
    Dec 17, 2020 at 1:44
  • I have not yet found any cases where this has been judged or disputed either way, but the following definition seems tailored precisely to Waze, IMO: a legal entity qualified to do “business” in this state and engaged in the “business” of facilitating the sharing of private passenger motor vehicles for noncommercial use by individuals …I, personally, don't see any room for ambiguity here (especially given the contrast with "ridesharing enterprises" / TNPs such as Uber or Lyft), but would be very interested to see your reading/elaboration. Dec 17, 2020 at 2:03
  • There is the further issue of Contra Proferentem. Dec 17, 2020 at 3:44
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Check your policy's endorsements for a personal vehicle sharing program exclusion.

In essence, if you were linked up with your fellow carpoolers by any “legal entity” that links carpoolers up (e.g. Waze — owned by Google, which is a legal entity), and your fellow riders aren't willing to pretend otherwise, you might be driving uninsured if your policy has a PVSP exclusion.

(IMO, this seems to be nothing less than a "Waze/Scoop Exclusion".)

Given that Waze is just a facilitator of cost-sharing carpools, and does not provide the insurance that transportation network platforms such as Uber and Lyft do for their drivers, the best path forward would be contacting your insurance agent and asking after a rider to remove this exclusion.


AUTOMOBILE AMENDATORY ENDORSEMENT

I. DEFINITIONS

C. The following definitions are added:

  • “Personal vehicle sharing program” means a legal entity qualified to do “business” in this state and engaged in the “business” of facilitating the sharing of private passenger motor vehicles for noncommercial use by individuals within this state. Private passenger motor vehicle as it relates to “personal vehicle sharing program” means a four wheel passenger or station wagon type motor vehicle insured under an automobile liability insurance policy covering anyindividuals residing in your household.
  • “Transportation network platform” means an online-enabled application or digital network used to connect passengers with drivers using vehicles for the purpose of providing prearranged transportation services for compensation.

IV. PART D - COVERAGE FOR DAMAGE TO YOUR AUTO

EXCLUSIONS

The following Exclusions are added:

  1. Loss to “your covered auto” or “non-owned auto” while being used in a “personal vehicle sharing program.”

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