Maybe you’re thinking it will be cheaper than going through the app. Maybe you’re wanting your super nice driver to get the full fare. Or maybe the driver is being extra generous and giving you a ride for free.

Whatever the case, accepting an off-the-clock Uber or other rideshare is not a good idea, and here’s why:

1. If you aren’t using the app, the trip isn’t being recorded or tracked. That means if something goes wrong, Uber can’t help you with it because it wasn’t documented.

What could go wrong? Well, a lot of things! You could be robbed, assaulted, dropped off in the wrong location, involved in a car wreck, lose your wallet, and so on. You won’t have the driver’s name or contact info to follow up or to give to Uber/Lyft to report a problem. Certainly these things could happen even when you are using the app, but at least then your trip is recorded and your location is tracked.

2. You won’t be protected under Uber/Lyft’s insurance policy in the case of a car wreck. And trust me…you want to be protected under their policy.

One major benefit to Uber/Lyft users is that these companies have substantial insurance policies for active trips. That means if your driver gets into a wreck or causes a wreck, there is significant protection for you and the others involved. (This does not mean you will get all of it…it just means that there is a large amount of money available to cover your damages.)

If you are riding with an off-the-clock driver, you fall under the driver’s personal insurance policy. And based on statistics, it’s likely that the driver has minimal insurance coverage.

Imagine you’re in a serious wreck with serious injuries that result in massive hospital bills, missed work, and lots of other problems. Would you rather have $15,000 or $1 million on the table to pay for those bills and compensate you for your suffering?

Yea, me too.

So if you want to reward the driver for being a great conversationalist or having the cleanest ride, leave them a nice tip. If you’re trying to save money on the fare, just remember – saving a few dollars today could cost you a LOT later on. And always make sure you verify your driver, the trip has started, and that it’s being tracked in your app too.