On Tuesday, Uber began piloting a program to subsidize on-the-job personal injury insurance for drivers in eight states. Riders will pay $0.05 more per mile to cover the optional insurance in Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and West Virginia, BuzzFeed News reports. Drivers can also keep the extra income if they opt out of the coverage, which will only apply to injuries sustained while logged into the Uber app as an available driver. The insurance purportedly covers work-related medical expenses up to $1 million, up to half of a driver's average weekly earnings, and a maximum of $150,000 in survivor benefits.
Since Uber's drivers are considered independent contractors, the ride-share giant is not required to offer the worker's compensation and disability insurance guaranteed to more traditional employees, and, prior to this new, limited program, it has failed to do so in the United States. The new program mirrors a similar insurance option recently implemented in the United Kingdom.