The use of rideshare applications has exploded in the past decade — and not just for personal use. Employees at companies of all types and sizes, including nonprofits, often use ridesharing to travel to the office, conferences, galas and other events. The market for business and personal rideshare use is projected to grow another 17% to $185.1 billion by 2026.1

However, the use of rideshares presents dangers to riders that could expose nonprofit organizations to workers’ compensation and liability claims. Rideshare drivers could be intoxicated, tired from long hours on the road or distracted by their phones, resulting in accidents and injuries. Passengers relying on such services could be assaulted by drivers — a situation that has occurred in numerous cities around the country. And many rideshare apps also allow strangers to share a ride, posing another potential threat.

5 ways to be smart about rideshares

Nonprofit organizations that authorize and pay for their personnel to use rideshares could face workers’ compensation claims by employees who are injured during the course and scope of employment, or liability lawsuits by volunteers involved in accidents while actively serving the organization. While it is impossible to control every unknown, nonprofits can employ best practices to help prevent incidents when it comes to rideshare use.

Organizations should:

  1. Establish a standardized plan on rideshare usage. First and foremost, maintain a policy related to rideshare use by employees and volunteers. The policy should include emergency action procedures if something goes wrong during a ride (e.g., first call 911, then alert the individual’s manager, etc.) and require employees to choose higher-quality vehicles (e.g., Uber Black) or refrain from riding with strangers to reduce risk.
  1. Implement a policy on transporting valuables in rideshares. Set limits on the value of property that may be transported via rideshare — such as big-ticket donations for a charity auction — and consider requiring a certificate of insurance (COI) on valuables above that threshold. If a valuable item is compromised during a rideshare, you want to confirm that item is protected.
  1. Ensure employees follow best practices during rideshare use. Nonprofits should sensitize their employees to best practices for rideshare safety. Having general situational awareness is important, and employees and volunteers should make sure the information on their rideshare app matches the vehicle before getting into the car. Does the driver’s picture on the app resemble the person driving the car? Does the license plate match? Once in the car, employees might also consider sharing the trip details with someone — an option available in many rideshare apps.
  1. Ask riders to refrain from oversharing information with drivers. As a safety precaution, urge employees and volunteers not to share personal or company information with the driver or speak about the valuables they may be carrying.
  1. Protect your volunteers. An organization’s biggest rideshare-related risk exposure is to workers’ compensation claims by employees, but you should confirm that coverage exists elsewhere within your portfolio for rideshare-related incidents experienced by non-employees and volunteers serving the nonprofit. Although the standard general liability policy usually covers medical payments to volunteers, it excludes occurrences associated with vehicular use, including loading and unloading. The best remedy may be a separate volunteer accident policy.

Contact HUB International’s nonprofit insurance experts to learn more about protecting your organization from liability.

1 Gitnux, “Ride Share 2023: Insights into the Industry’s Latest Statistics,” March 15, 2023.