Legislation at the start of 2016 helped regulate insurance for ride-hailing companies and their drivers. (Photo: Mighty Travels, Flickr)

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance released information this week to remind consumers of new laws and regulations for ride-hailing services.

Ride-hailing legislation was enacted Jan. 1 of this year to clear up company and consumer regulatory questions, said Kevin Walters, a TDCI spokesman. These guidelines are meant to provide guidance for ride-hailing businesses and their drivers, he said.

"This is a compromise between the insurance companies and the ride-share companies," Walters said. "These companies are increasingly popular … and the intent [of the legislation] was to illuminate any kind of confusion when it comes to insurance coverage with these services. We want consumers to know them as well so they are informed and empowered."

The TDCI news release said that all ride-hailing companies and their drivers must follow these regulations in Tennessee:

—Drivers must maintain primary auto coverage that recognizes the driver as a transportation network company driver.

—The TNC must provide a picture of the driver and license plate number.

—When logged on to the app but not engaged in a prearranged ride that has not been connected with a rider, the driver must have primary auto liability insurance of at least $50,000 for bodily injury per individual, $100,000 for bodily injury per accident and $25,000 limit for property damage.

—When the driver is engaged in a prearranged ride, the driver must have primary auto liability insurance at a minimum of $1 million for death, bodily injury and property.

—If an accident occurs and the driver does not have coverage, the company is required to provide coverage and has a duty to defend the claim.

—The driver must permit an insurer offering personal auto to expressly exclude coverage during times an insured is acting as a TNC driver under the terms of the policy, and the exclusion alleviates the insurance company from a duty to defend or pay any claim.

—Drivers must carry proof of coverage at all times and are prohibited from transacting their business in cash.

—Drivers must maintain two years of trip records. 

"These set standards should ensure peace of mind," Walters said. "I think this is a necessary step that Tennessee needed, and I think this regulation will offer peace of mind for everyone if insurance covers a trip from a ride-sharing service."

Officials said that people should contact the Consumer Insurance Services Division at 615-741-3805 if they would like more information.