Uber Allowing Pets To Ride In Chicago

Chicago pet owners got some good news recently from Uber, one of the major rideshare companies. Uber will now let drivers decide whether or not to accept non-service animals that accompany passengers, for a fee. Uber still asks that passengers give drivers a heads up before they arrive in order to make any necessary preparations. The only restrictions regarding the pet option are that riders use the “uberPOOL” option. Currently, Lyft has a similar policy that addresses the driver’s obligation except for the fee. The goal of this post is to inform drivers and riders about Uber’s new pet policy and how it would impact them.

What The Policy Means For Riders

As reported in the Chicago Sun-times, Uber has a new policy regarding passengers taking their pets with them. Before the new policy, Uber did not allow pets with their passengers if they were a non-service animal. On the other hand, Uber’s policy states that drivers must allow service animals and their owners to ride. Now, for a $6 surcharge, passengers have the option to bring their pet along for the ride. This allows people who don’t have personal transportation to take their pets for vet appointments, check-ups, and more. However, pet owners don’t have to disclose the purpose of them bringing their pets along. 

The only hang-up for passengers is that drivers can decide whether or not to pick up passengers with pets. Uber website states that drivers may choose whether or not to pick up riders who chose the pet option. For this reason, Uber asks riders to notify their driver of a pet coming along. Additionally, Uber asks that riders bring a carrier, blanket, or something to cover the seats to protect the car interior. 

What The Policy Means For Uber Drivers

Lucky for drivers, Uber allowing pets in their vehicles is still left up to the driver. After all, drivers provide their own vehicles, so the drivers are the ones taking the risk. For this reason, Uber says that drivers will see a significant portion of the $6 surcharge. It is unclear what their policy is on pets making a mess in the car, but it can be assumed that it is the same as their service animal policy.

Hopefully, drivers aren’t faced with situations where riders’ pets have an accident in the back seat. According to Uber’s service animal policy, passengers cannot be charged for their animal’s shedding. When it comes to the animals’ bodily fluid, Uber’s website states that riders won’t be charged the first 2 times, but will be on the third. Again, this is their policy regarding service animals, but their non-service animal clean-up policy is not clear at this point. 

Ride-Share Insurance

A new policy by Uber allows pets to ride along with passengers

For people who are curious about driving for a ride-share company, know that rideshare insurance policies are available. A typical auto insurance policy does not cover a vehicle that is being used for rideshare purposes. Since rideshare driving is a business, the vehicles become business vehicles instead of solely personal. You can find affordable policies that cover your vehicle when you are not on the grind, or in between passengers. Potential drivers should know how and when they are covered by a company’s insurance and when they are not. And of course, rideshare drivers should inquire about Uber’s pet policy regarding insurance and clean-up.

Take-Home Message

Earlier this month, Uber, one of the top rideshare companies, decided to change its passenger pet policy. Before, Uber only allowed service animals to ride with their owners, but now non-service animals can come along. Of course, passengers will need to pay an additional fee of $6, which the driver will see most of that money. However, the driver is the one risking an animal damaging the interior of the car. Lucky for drivers, Uber allows them to decide whether or not to accept passengers with pets. Lyft, another rideshare giant, has similar policies regarding pets, except they do not have an additional charge.