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Uber to Increase Rates in 8 States to Help Fund Driver Insurance

* Uber will charge passengers an extra five cents per mile in eight U.S. states
The rate increase helps provide drivers with better insurance options
* Drivers have the choice to opt-in for coverage or keep the extra cash

Calling the relationship between Uber execs and its drivers “tense” would be an understatement. Over the past few years, drivers have staged protests, strikes and have even filed various lawsuits over shady business practices. Now, in an attempt to help bridge the gap between management and employees, Uber has announced a new program that aims to give drivers more insurance options.

By charging an extra five cents per mile in eight U.S. states (Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and West Virginia), Uber will provide drivers with insurance options that will now cover any and all injuries sustained on the job.

Drivers will have the choice to opt into this new coverage by choosing to pay an extra 3.75 cents per mile. If they chose not to participate, then they’re able to keep the extra five cent increase themselves. There are no deductibles, copays or other upfront payments required. In fact, Uber’s new employee insurance plan will cover all work-related expenses up to $1 million.

While insurance plans in the U.S. are usually covered by employers, Uber has been able to forgo employee coverage because their drivers are listed as independent contractors. With this new plan, Uber hopes to shift public sentiment and help improve employer-employee relations.

Uber claims this is a better, more cost-effective way for drivers to enroll in coverage. According to Uber’s Head of Safety and Insurance Gus Fuldner, “We believe drivers should have a low-cost option to protect themselves and their families against rare and unforeseen accidents that prevent them from working.”

Passengers in these states should start seeing slight increases in fares as early as this week.