In today’s world of ridesharing, rules and regulations have progressed from virtually none to a complicated list that many drivers may not understand. And in New York City, this proves to be the most true.
Unlike many other cities who don’t require drivers to hold special insurance to drive for rideshare companies, New York City requires private transportation drivers to have TLC insurance. Whether you’re operating a limo, a taxi, or driving for Uber, Lyft, and Via, you must have TLC insurance to earn money using a vehicle in this city.
What does TLC mean?
TLC are the initials of the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission. When referring to insurance coverage, many drivers will abbreviate and use the phrase “NY TLC”.
Formed in 1971, this authority regulates and licenses all taxis that operate in the NYC area. To transport fare paying passengers inside city limits, vehicles and drivers must have a TLC license. This is a legal requirement, but it’s also a feel-good thing, as it lets passengers know they’re travelling with a certified driver and they can expect a positive passenger experience.
How important is TLC Insurance?
In a word – essential. You cannot legally operate a taxi or For Hire Vehicle (FHV) in NYC without it. The TLC requires that all certified drivers carry a minimum level of liability insurance, as standard personal car insurance does not cover accidents when the vehicle is being used commercially.
It’s worth noting that minimum TLC Insurance covers other people and their property, it does not cover damage to your own car. If you do not have extra collision insurance to cover your own vehicle, then you’ll be stuck paying repairs out of pocket. That could leave your car off the road for a while, which eats into earnings.
On top of this, failure to maintain minimum liability coverage puts you at risk of having your car’s TLC registration revoked for a month. That can be expensive.
What exactly does TLC Insurance cover?
Minimum requirements are liability coverage, (known as PD – property damage), personal injury protection (PIP), and uninsured motorist coverage (UM). These are referred to as ‘third party protection’ because they give you financial protection if you harm someone else or their property. (The ‘third party’). PD takes care of injuries or damages caused to persons or property by the insured driver. (Such as the other guy’s car).
PIP covers any medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs caused by an accident. PIP is a ‘no-fault’ coverage, meaning that no matter which driver was at fault, the insured driver is always covered. UM will protect you if you’re in a fender-bender with an at-fault driver who has no liability insurance.
What does TLC demand?
Vehicles licensed by the TLC are subject to minimum insurance coverage requirements that vary by class and seating capacity.
Most classes of vehicles are subject to liability coverage of $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident, $200,000 personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage. You can also opt for collision coverage in combination with liability to create a “full coverage” package. Note that collision coverage is optional, whereas liability is mandatory.
Is full coverage a good idea? That depends on what you’re prepared to pay and what you’ll risk. Keep in mind that without this cover, you’ll be paying for any damages to your own vehicle out of your own pocket.
Where do you need TLC Insurance?
No matter if you’re driving for a traditional FHV company or with Uber or Lyft, TLC Insurance is mandatory if you want to pickup FHV passengers inside New York City limits.
What does TLC Insurance cost?
There is no ‘one-price fits all’. Premium costs are based on everyone’s unique driving and auto history. How many years you’ve been on the road as a taxi driver, your claims record, police or citation records and your vehicle details are all taken into consideration.
Generally, the younger you are or the worse your history is, the more it will cost. Keeping your license clean and driving safe is therefore important – it pays dividends. (In most cases, you can also bring your insurance premium down by about 9.5% with the installation of a dashcam).
As an example of NYC pricing, see the chart for the typical premium on a 2015 Toyota Camry. This is driven by someone with zero accidents or points over multiple years of driving. The driver also has TLC driving experience. (Drivers under the age of 25 are typically subject to a 20% increase in the price of PD).
Getting a quote.
There are two ways you can get a free quote for TLC Insurance.
The first is the old way. This means visiting a brokers’ offices in person, contacting them by phone or using their website. They will ask you to provide a heap of personal and auto information.
You will then wait while they calculate a quote and email (or mail) it to you. It can be a slow process, often taking a few days or even a couple of weeks.
Alternatively, the new way of getting a free quote is to use the INSHUR app. This can get you on the road sooner and making money faster.
It’s totally digital, so you do the whole thing right from your cell-phone. There’s no need to visit anyone, no need to make calls. It’s a streamlined process that requires less info from you and you usually get your policy in minutes, not just a quote.
Which way you go is a personal choice. If you like talking on the phone or sitting across a desk, then the first route is for you. If you prefer to get things done now and then get on with your day, the INSHUR app is the option to choose.
What info is needed to get a TLC insurance quote?
At minimum, you’ll need the following: Your name, address and age. TLC license/plate. Driving history (accident history, points, years on the road). Vehicle information, (age, make, model, mileage, value, VIN #). Vehicle title or bill of sale. TLC base card.
What if I’m a new driver?
If you’re new to the FHV industry and you intend to operate in New York, you’ll need to obtain your TLC license and vehicle plate prior to applying for insurance. TLC has minimum eligibility driver requirements- see the FAQ guide below for details. You can also find out more by reading the step by step guide to getting your TLC license on the Uber website at: https://www.uber.com/drive/new-york/get-a-license/
What else is needed?
As well as insurance, TLC has certain minimum vehicle requirements for NYC. These state that FHV operators must drive a four-door car or minivan, model 2006 or newer. It must be in good condition with no cosmetic damage, have no commercial branding and has passed an emissions test and can show valid certification. Drivers are also advised that vehicles should be kept clean inside and out and always be well maintained.
Applying for TLC insurance.
If you’re going to get your coverage the old way, by visiting a broker, phone-calling or filling in a website application, see the section above ‘What info is needed to get a TLC insurance quote?’ You’ll need it all to get the process started.
If you’re going to get your coverage the fast and convenient way using the INSHUR app, you simply follow these steps on your cell-phone.
- Download the INSHUR app for free. (Get it at the Google Play Store or Apple Store).
- Open the app and complete your basic contact/account info- first name, email, and password.
- TLC license- Take a pic of the front and the barcode on the back. This lets the INSHUR app find any vehicle associated with you in TLC and DMV database.
- Get your quote – choose between three different coverage options (silver, gold, platinum.)
- Select your policy and decide a start date and type of payment plan you want to take on.
- Enter your cell-phone number.
- If you have one, enter your referral code in order to get whoever referred you a reward.
- Review the policy and digitally sign to confirm.
- Enter your payment method.
That’s it. You’re covered. You can now get on the road and start making money.
Check out the video for a walkthrough to using the INSHUR app – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDW-Tpe-yU8&t=7s
Can you rent a car with TLC insurance?
Yes, you can rent TLC certified cars if you are a TLC licensed driver without your own vehicle. You can rent on a weekly basis with a price that includes insurance.
How do I register a TLC vehicle?
- Gather required information- TLC base, vehicle information, SSN, payment method, personal info.
- Base affirmation.
- Submit application, payment, and required info above.
- DMV will email your ‘TC’ plate letter once the TLC approves your application.
- Take the plate letter to the DMV to get a plate and registration.
- Submit your plate notification to TLC.
- Get your vehicle inspected by TLC.
TLC driver license requirements
- Background check- SSN & driving history (points on your license).
- Documentation- Copy of license, proof of defensive driving course, medical exam, if you work for NYPD provide a document from commanding officer, if you’re in military or you’re a veteran, provide proof of active service or discharge.
- Fee of $252.
- Additional requirements- Drug test, fingerprints & photo, sex trafficking awareness training, passenger assistance & wheelchair accessible vehicle training, TLC driver education course, TLC driver license exam, pay any outstanding tickets.
What is a TLC base?
A TLC base can be a Black Car or Car Service Livery dispatch base. Bases have various requirements and are responsible for pre-arranging rides for TLC FHV vehicles. TNC apps such as Uber and Lyft typically fall under the TLC Black Car Base designation. A TLC/FHV vehicle must be affiliated with a base prior to conducting business.
What is a TLC or FHV vehicle?
A For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) is a commercial vehicle affiliated with either a TLC Black Car or Car Service Livery base. Passenger pickups must always be pre-arranged, unless the vehicle is a Street Hail Livery (SHL) also known as Green/Outer Borough taxi. SHL taxis must only hail passengers in designated areas. Medallion taxis / yellow taxis are another class of TLC licensed vehicle that are permitted to hail passengers from the street anywhere in the city. TNC apps such as Uber and Lyft typically fall under the TLC Black Car designation.
Is the INSHUR app free?
Yes. Download it to your cell-phone from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. There are no service charges for use.