Drivers seeking extra income have embraced Uber and Lyft as much as their customers have embraced the convenience of the ride-hailing apps. However, ride-hailing drivers also face the problem of insurance.

Mercury Insurance in Los Angeles is one of the first companies, along with USAA and State Farm, to step in with a policy that will bridge the gap between the insurance that Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies, or TNCs, provide drivers and their personal auto insurance.

The new Mercury ride-hailing policy will cover drivers during “phase one” of their trip, when they have turned on the ride-hailing app, but haven’t accepted a fare. In other words, if drivers get into an accident on their way to pick up a passenger, they will have to personally pay to repair any damages to their vehicles if they do not have this coverage.

Before the introduction of the policy, drivers were only covered by their employer’s commercial insurance once they accepted a ride from a customer.

“We recognized the growing demand for this type of coverage as the number of TNC drivers has continued to escalate and we expect this new form of ride-hailing will continue to grow,” said Jim Reeves, Mercury’s research and development group manager.

“With the new policy, we want to ensure these individuals can earn an honest living without having to worry about paying costly repair or medical bills out-of-pocket,” he said.

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