Passengers of private-hire cars are covered by required insurance

The report on April 16 ("Am I covered by insurance if I'm a Grab or Uber car passenger?") said that private-hire cars are "not required by law" to buy insurance that covers passengers.

The Land Transport Authority wishes to clarify that under the Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act, all motor vehicles, including private-hire cars, are required to be insured against third-party liability risks, which include death and bodily injury to passengers.

This means that passengers in a private-hire car that is involved in a motor accident can claim compensation from the owner of the private-hire car or its insurer.

The statutory insurance requirement for private-hire cars is the same as the requirement for taxis.

Both are required to procure insurance which covers the use of the vehicle for hire and reward purposes.

Those convicted of using or permitting a person to use a vehicle in Singapore without the appropriate insurance are liable to a fine not exceeding $1,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or both.

The driver will also be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 12 months from the date of conviction.

As was stated in the Land Transport Authority's press release of April 12, under the intended vocational licensing regulatory framework, permanent residents and work permit holders who wish to become private-hire car drivers have to be employed by either car rental or limousine companies ("Some gaps in rules on private-hire cars"; April 14).

This is unlike for Singaporeans, who can be Uber or GrabCar drivers also if they are sole proprietors of a chauffeur services company.

Work permit holders are, furthermore, subject to the Ministry of Manpower's prevailing foreign worker quotas.

Helen Lim (Ms)

Group Director

Corporate Communications Group

Land Transport Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2016, with the headline 'Passengers of private-hire cars are covered by required insurance'. Print Edition | Subscribe