As car-sharing services become more popular, consumers need to be aware of what their auto insurance policies will cover according to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. 

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"Car-sharing is growing in popularity with New Jersey consumers who are obtaining and providing transportation through Internet purveyors.  In many cases, there may not be auto insurance coverage for these activities. Consumers need to use caution when weighing whether to pay for transportation or to make their personal vehicles available to others for a fee through these companies," said DOBI Commissioner Ken Kobylowski in an emailed press release May 27.

For a fee, online car-sharing companies will offer transportation services where potential passengers are connected with drivers offering their personal vehicles.  But for the most part, auto insurance policies in New Jersey don't include coverage for drivers who use their vehicles to transport people for a fee.

Before engaging in a car-sharing program, DOBI said drivers need to get educated.  "They should know exactly what kind of coverage they have before they enter into one of these agreements," said Marshall McKnight, a spokesman with DOBI.

McKnight said in many cases a different type of insurance coverage is needed for a commercial enterprise.

In the unfortunate event of an accident, the insurance coverage may be voided if the policy does not specifically cover commercial car-sharing, according to McNight.

Consumers can find out more information by visiting http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/autoplanner.htm.