Ridesharing has become a major part of the American economy over the last decade. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in fall 2018, 36% of American adults say they have used a ridesharing service like Lyft, up from only 15% of U.S. adults in late 2015.
Becoming a driver for a rideshare platform like Lyft offers a flexible way to make money. According to Lyft’s 2021 Economic Impact Report, 96% of the platform’s drivers are students or have other jobs and 95% of Lyft drivers spend fewer than 20 hours driving for the platform each week. That means driving for Lyft can easily be folded into your schedule.
Though Lyft driving offers flexibility, you do still need to meet the platform’s vehicle and driver requirements to take advantage of this opportunity. Learn what you need to know about Lyft’s requirements before you sign on to become a driver.
Lyft Driver Requirements
There are several minimum requirements for drivers, that can vary from state to state. In general, you must:
- Be at least age 21, although the minimum age may be as high as 25 depending on where you live.
- Have a valid driver’s license.
- Pass a background check and a DMV check. These checks are looking for things like a conviction for a violent crime or recent driving-related issues, such as a DUI in the past three to seven years.
- Have valid license plates with current registration, as well as current and valid auto insurance with your name on the policy.
- Complete Lyft’s Community Safety Education program.
- Have a smartphone capable of handling the Lyft driver app.
Lyft Vehicle Requirements
To be eligible to drive for Lyft, your vehicle must meet these requirements:
- The car cannot be a taxi, a stretch limo, or some subcompact cars including the Chevrolet Aveo, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, and multiple MINI Cooper models.
- There are age requirements for vehicles that vary from region to region. For instance, Lyft drivers in Janesville, Madison, Milwaukee, and Sheboygan, Wisconsin, must have a car that is 2006 or newer, while Green Bay requires a 2005 or newer car, and all other cities in Wisconsin require a 2004 or newer car. Potential drivers must look up the local vehicle age requirements to determine if their car will meet them.
- The car must have four doors, a minimum of five seatbelts, and a maximum of eight, including the driver’s belt.
- In many Lyft markets, the car cannot be titled as salvage, non-repairable, rebuilt, or have a similar designation.
Certain states require your vehicle to pass an inspection before you can become a Lyft driver. In some cases, the inspections are the same as those required for all drivers—you will simply need to provide proof that your car has passed inspection.
If you would like to qualify for Lyft Lux, Lux Black, or Lux Black XL, the platform’s luxury option which allows you to earn more money, you will need to drive one of the eligible luxury cars with a model year no older than 2014 (2016 for Lux Black). These cars must have a leather interior and four passenger seats, not including the front passenger seat. Lux Black and Lux Black XL vehicles must have a black exterior.
License and Registration Requirements for Lyft Drivers
A valid driver’s license is a basic requirement for Lyft drivers, but there are some caveats. Lyft does not accept licenses issued from Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, or other U.S. territories.
Also, if you plan to drive for Lyft in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, or Washington, your driver’s license must be at least one year old. Some states will allow you to drive for Lyft with a valid out-of-state license.
License plates must be valid. Temporary tags may be accepted, depending on the market in which you plan to drive. You’ll need to check your local requirements to determine if you can drive on temporary plates or registration.
Some states require a special license or registration, such as the Transportation Network Operator license that Maryland requires for rideshare drivers.
Lyft Insurance Requirements
Lyft requires its drivers to carry their own valid auto insurance, but Lyft also provides insurance to drivers. This coverage only applies if your Lyft app is on, so you are covered by your personal auto insurance if you are in your car with the Lyft app turned off.
If you are in an accident while waiting for a fare with the Lyft app turned on, Lyft provides third-party liability insurance for covered accidents if your personal auto policy does not apply. The maximums for this coverage are $50,000 per person for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
If you are in an accident while picking up a passenger or during a ride with the Lyft app turned on, Lyft provides the following insurance for covered accidents:
- $1 million for primary liability
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist
- Certain types of first-party coverage (not third-party)
- Contingent comprehensive and collision up to the actual cash value of the car ($2,500 deductible)
Lyft’s insurance is secondary to any commercial insurance you carry or personal policies that cover ridesharing.
How Do Lyft Requirements Vary by State?
There are important variations in requirements depending on where you live—everything from the driver and vehicle requirements to the necessary paperwork to provide during your application process. All potential Lyft drivers must check the application requirements for their city and state, even if you’ve driven for Lyft at a different location.
Lyft’s Community Safety Education program
All drivers are required to complete Lyft’s Community Safety Education program. This program, which Lyft created in partnership with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the U.S. The program is a series of six videos that empowers drivers to handle dangerous and uncomfortable situations, and offers clear rules on what is prohibited for both drivers and riders.
How to Apply
You can apply online or through the Lyft app to become a driver. You’ll need to provide your name, email address, phone number, and other information that will help Lyft determine if you meet its eligibility requirements.
From there, you may need to wait several weeks for your background check to process. Additionally, new applicants can expect to be placed on a driver waitlist. The waitlist puts a hold on your application request until there are additional spots for new drivers in your area.
The Bottom Line
The initial effort necessary to become a Lyft driver can be well worth the flexible, money-making opportunity the platform provides to drivers. Understanding the specific requirements necessary to become a Lyft driver can help the application process as smooth as possible, so you can get started on your rideshare career.