TLC Insurance for Taxis, Limos, and Black Cars

Meet Gino, a seasoned livery driver operating town cars across New York City. He owns his vehicle and coordinates rides through a car service. Clients make ride reservations, and Gino is alerted via his smartphone by a dispatcher. Similar to Yellow Cabs, some black car drivers use radio dispatch for their bookings.

One stormy night, Gino finds himself in a significant accident while transporting a passenger to the airport. Fortunately, nobody is injured, and the passenger makes it to the airport as planned. However, Gino’s car requires $20,000 in repairs, and there’s an additional $40,000 of property damage to the other vehicle involved.

Thankfully, Gino has commercial auto insurance that covers the incident and additional damages, saving him from financial distress. But accidents can be unpredictable. Future incidents could involve injuries or significant property damage, making adequate insurance coverage crucial.

Like all public livery drivers in New York City, Gino needs to have TLC insurance, mandated by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission. Operating a taxi, limousine, or town car (also known as a For-Hire Vehicle or FHV) legally in New York City requires obtaining a license from the commission and appropriate insurance coverage.

Understanding TLC Insurance

Those considering driving taxis, limousines, or black cars in New York City must secure the right kind of insurance. A standard personal auto insurance policy won’t suffice; you need a specialized commercial auto insurance that allows for paid passenger transport, known as TLC insurance.

While commercial auto insurance is tailored for business-related driving activities—such as an insurance adjuster traveling to a site, a delivery driver, or a contractor driving to a lumberyard—TLC insurance specifically includes passenger coverage. This type of policy is obligatory even for ride-sharing drivers from platforms like Uber and Lyft.

The Taxi & Limousine Commission oversees the regulations for livery drivers in New York City’s five boroughs. All drivers are required to have TLC license plates and a TLC driver’s license, commonly known as a hack license. Upon acquiring this license, you’ll be eligible for TLC plates. Insurance liability limits of at least $100,000 per individual for bodily injury, $300,000 per accident, and another $100,000 for property damage are required.

In essence, TLC insurance, as stipulated by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, comprises:

  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • A specialized endorsement for passenger transportation
  • Optional Physical Damage Coverage for your vehicle

Physical Damage Coverage

Note that TLC requirements primarily focus on liability (coverage for others) and don’t include coverage for your own vehicle. You can, however, purchase additional physical damage coverage, which comes in two components: comprehensive and collision. Consult your insurance advisor about adding this optional coverage, especially if your vehicle is leased or financed.

Key Requirements

A valid hack license and TLC plates are essential. Be informed that certain driving restrictions apply to black cars and yellow cabs. For instance, black car drivers must schedule rides via a dispatcher, using either a radio or smartphone. Unlike yellow cabs, they can’t simply roam the streets picking up passengers, as that could lead to license revocation.

Who Requires TLC Insurance?

If you operate a taxi, limousine, or black car—or own a company that employs drivers for these services—TLC insurance is a must. It’s more cost-efficient to have one comprehensive policy covering all your vehicles and listed drivers rather than separate policies for each.

Key Takeaways

Owning your vehicle isn’t sufficient; you’ll need a specialized commercial auto insurance policy that allows for passenger transport, with high liability limits and optional physical damage coverage for worst-case scenarios.

In Conclusion

TLC insurance is specifically mandated for Taxis, Limousines, and Black Cars. Your coverage requirements will vary based on your driving activities and whom you work for. For a comprehensive understanding and to choose the most suitable policy, consult an insurance expert to ensure you and your vehicle are adequately protected against all eventualities.

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