Letter

Malaysia E-Hailing Drivers Association (Mehda) president Daryl Chong advised e-hailing drivers not to register themselves under the illegal InDriver e-hailing app as any mishap would not be covered by insurance.

He had checked with the Land Public Transport Agency (Apad) and received confirmation that the said company does not have an Intermediation Business Licence to operate, making it an illegal e-hailing operator.

He warned that e-hailing drivers and passengers who used InDriver would not be covered by insurance and this could lead to complications should there be any road accident along the journey.

Although everyone thinks that he or she knows what insurance is, very few people understand it well. I, for one, have no idea what type of insurance covers are provided for e-hailing drivers and passengers, and would appreciate if someone could give a clear picture.

But I know for sure that normal motor insurance policies do not cover drivers and passengers for injuries sustained while driving or riding in a taxi or bus. Public service vehicle drivers are only insured for legal liability to passengers, but not for personal accident insurance (PAI).

Should these drivers be at fault in an accident, passengers may sue them for compensation and insurance companies normally pay out only after the court has decided on the fair amount. But insurers would repudiate claims if taxis or buses were driven under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or terms and conditions of the motor insurance policy were breached.

Sadly, victims or their families would not be getting any payment from insurance companies if claims are repudiated. Most drivers have no means to pay huge medical bills incurred by victims, let alone large compensations awarded for death or permanent disability.

Likewise, should an out of control lorry crashed into a taxi or bus, injured passengers would have to sue the driver at fault. But it could be fruitless if it were a lori hantu without road tax and insurance, or the driver without valid competent driving licence or goods driving licence.

Under the law, all motor vehicles must have the basic ‘Act Cover’ that insures the driver for causing injury to others outside the vehicle while the driver is not covered.  And drivers of all public service vehicles, such as taxis and buses, must be insured for legal liability to passengers.

I chose to pay an extra RM7.50 a year to insure my private car with legal liability of passengers. In the event any of my passengers open the car door recklessly and a motorcycle crashed into it, I could assist the injured motorcyclist and pillion rider to claim from my insurance company.

Also, should I accidentally injure or kill someone when driving, I would not admit fault or plead guilty in court. If I were to do so, it would be breaching the terms and conditions of the motor insurance policy and my insurance company could repudiate claim.

I may be conscience-stricken but succumbing to it by admitting liability or pleading guilty would be a double whammy for the victim and family that has suffered untold misery and not getting adequate compensation.

So, it is imperative that all of us are clear about motor insurance and play our part to be better citizens and responsible motorists. This will only be possible if the authorities and insurance companies step up efforts to educate the public. Until they do so, their silence is deafening.

YS Chan,

Kuala Lumpur