Insurance and The Gig Economy

Insurance & The Gig EconomyThough the name has been hotly contested, there’s no debate that the gig economy, or the private-citizen-to-private-citizen trade of goods and services, is alive and thriving. From cars to dwellings to clothes to furniture to even friends, app developers have helped facilitate the expansion of a market that lets regular people sell or rent their stuff or labor to strangers online. On the whole, the results have been wonderful. Sellers are finding new, creative ways to bring in extra income, and buyers are happy to spend extra money for a better, more personal experience.

Some dubious scenarios surrounding accident and theft coverage for the sellers in these situations, specifically regarding who’s on the hook for costs, have arisen. One woman publicized a horror story of an AirBNB gone bad when she rented her beautiful condo and returned to find her house trashed, her stuff ransacked, and her memories scattered all over. A man who took odd jobs on Airtasker discovered while he was on a gardening job that the house where he was worked had asbestos. These incidents and more beg the question: Who’s on the hook for insurance in the gig economy?

Insurance agencies got hip to Uber quickly and discontinue the policy whenever a driver has the app open, although Uber allows a small amount of coverage while they’re on the app. AirBNB used to offer nearly no protection whatsoever, but now offers some protection from rare vandalism and theft. Airtasker offers a little insurance to its workers as well, but its policy has a lot of caveats as to which tasks it will offer worker’s compensation for; for example, the business will not offer insurance coverage to building jobs, fitness training, taxi driving, and other “risky” jobs.

The classic argument that the apps offer in court when they’re sued for insurance liability is that the people who use the app do so willingly knowing full well that the coverage is minimal. Furthermore, if a person were doing handiwork for a neighbor without the facilitation of the app, the worker would not expect any sort of compensation in the event of an accident.

Still, there’s a clear void in the market for who’s responsible for accidents that are incurred in the gig economy. Welcome Bunker, an insurance agency that handles the leg-work for freelancers, independent contractors, and other who don’t have employers to cover their risks. Put most simply, Bunker allows contractors and employers to get on the same page regarding required insurance and proof of coverage. While it doesn’t necessarily offer insurance, it does ensure that the employee is covered enough to prevent suits on either side. While the site is still rather young, it’s starting to help fill the coverage void for non-traditional workers.

As the gig economy grows and diversifies, insurance will continue to play catch-up, but if you’re participating in the gig economy either as a buyer or seller, you need to know what you’re covered for on your personal policy and the company’s policy.

Questions to Ask Before Buying Auto-Insurance

If you’re thinking about purchasing auto insurance, which we highly recommend you do, there are many factors that determine the price and what you are getting. Here are 5 questions you should always ask yourself before you decide on auto insurance, that may actually help lower the insurance rate:

How much do you drive each week?

This plays an important role in deciphering whether or not you should be taking public transportation to work or wherever you go on a consistent basis. Taking public transportation often helps lower your car insurance.

Can you offer a higher deductible?

Often times, if a person can pay a higher deductible, he or she will pay a lower price each month, which can end up saving you a lot of money in the long-run.

Do you have a good credit score?

This one probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you – bad credit often means you will be charged at a higher rate. This is mostly because auto insurance companies predict that if someone has bad credit, they will probably file a claim after an accident.

How old is your car?

Older cars will generally have higher insurance costs due to safety reasons. If you drive a car that is over 15-20 years old, you might want to think about dropping collision coverage because the monthly premium will most likely be more than the replacement value.

Do you work for a professional group or organization?

Check to see if your company has insurance discounts to offer you – this can save you a lot of money. Most companies will have some sort of employee benefits that you might be able to use for auto insurance. Always double check.