E-hailing Driver Insurance Needs

Your guide to e-hailing in South Africa with the right cover!

When global e-hailing giant Uber launched in South Africa in 2013, it changed the face of the local taxi industry. Three years later, Bolt entered the scene and others followed, making e-hailing a part of everyday life in SA and a source of income for several thousand people. If you’re looking to tap into this opportunity and become an e-hailing driver, you’ll need to understand how the insurance works.

E-hailing 101

An e-hailing platform like Uber or Bolt connects passengers and drivers via a mobile app. It's more convenient than traditional transport options as passengers can control their routes and select specific destinations. It's also usually safer. Typically, payment is facilitated through the app, although some platforms do allow cash payments for trips.

How to become an e-hailing driver?

You'll need a public operating licence. This is a permit that grants you permission to transport people for commercial reasons. To apply for this licence, start with...

  • RSA ID or passport
  • RSA Professional Driving Permit (PrDP)
  • Proof of address
  • Tax clearance certificate and Compliance PIN
  • Double disc (roadworthy certificate)
  • Certificate of registration

Bear in mind that e-hailing platforms have their own requirements over and above the public operating licence. You'll need to be familiar with these when applying to join any particular platform.

What about e-hailing insurance?

While there isn't such a specific product yet, as an e-hailing driver you should think of yourself as an entrepreneur who is running a business. Every business has risks that it needs to manage, and it's no different if you're a Bolt or Uber driver. Some of these risks include injury, disability and death, as well as vehicle damage, theft, protest action and third-party incidents.

Business Insurance will cover all the bumps along the journey, from the potential costs of a crash to liability claims from injured passengers. Business Car Insurance is another must, as is Passenger Liability Cover.

Passenger Liability Cover will provide for the death and injury of passengers who are in the vehicle at the time of an accident. This can also include cover for secondary trauma or the emotional shock experienced when witnessing an accident.

Some e-hailing platforms offer cover to drivers and passengers, so you need to consider this when deciding which platform to work with. Once you've made a choice, then think about your holistic insurance needs and what gaps still need to be taken care of.

Other types of insurance to consider

Car Insurance can be a financial lifesaver in the event of accident. It will help you cover the costs of repairing (or replacing) your car or the vehicles of other parties that were damaged as a result of your actions. As an e-hailing driver, you'll be using your car for business reasons, so it's important that you insure it with appropriate Business Car Insurance cover. Personal Car Insurance will not be valid.

Third-Party Liability Cover is worth having as it can assist you in the event of accidental death, injury to third parties or damage to third-party property.

Add-ons and benefits for e-hailing

When taking out insurance, it's good to have certain add-ons that will make it possible for your business to stay on the road. For example, a car hire benefit (or Loss of Use option) will enable you to keep transporting passengers using a rental car if yours is not operational after an accident or is stolen.

Other add-ons or benefits could include Roadside Assistance, Emergency Medical Assistance, Business Concierge (which allows your insurer to procure goods such as tyres for your business vehicle, often at a discounted price) and Business All Risk Insurance, which covers the cellphone and GPS equipment you use to pick up and drop off passengers.

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Please note that the information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.