So you want to become a Lyft driver, but you’re not sure if you meet all of the driver requirements or car requirements? Lyft doesn’t want to bombard you with information that will prevent you from applying, so they try to make the driver application process as easy as possible by leaving some vagueness in the online application to become a driver.
I’ve listed all of the Lyft driver requirements and vehicle requirements below if you want to understand what you’re facing before you start the signup process.
Want to apply now? Apply to drive for Lyft with my referral link and you’ll be eligible for the best new-driver bonus in your area.
Lyft Driver Requirements
- You must be at least 21 years old
- Car requirement: A 4-door car that is year 2005 or newer
- Austin: 2004
- Atlanta: 2008
- Washington, D.C.: 2006
- Kentucky: 2007
- Las Vegas: 2009
- Miami: 2007
- Minneapolis – St. Paul: 2007
- New Orleans: 2009
- Pennsylvania: 2007
- Portland: 2007
- Seattle: 2007
- Completed a vehicle inspection
- You must have in-state insurance with your name on the policy
- Must have an in-state US driver’s license and one full year of US driving experience
- In-state plates with a current registration (commercial plates are acceptable)
- Pass a background check and a driving record check
- Own a current smartphone: iPhone 4s or newer running iOS 7+, Android devices running 4.0+
- Comply with any local regulations in your area
Does your car qualify? Lyft vehicle requirements: You can drive for Lyft with these cars
Need a car? Try Hyrecar. Rent or lease a car before you decide if you want to commit to buying a car.
What does all of that really mean? Some of it is clear — like the age requirement — and some of it isn’t as clear — like the insurance requirements. Let me try to clear up the requirements for you, and if you still have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you asap! Or, just apply anyway and clear it up later in the application process.
You must be at least 21 years old, with one year of US driving experience
Are you 21 years old or older, and have you had your drivers license for more than one year? If yes, you qualify. If no, you don’t qualify. There is no wiggle room here. Lyft won’t make any exceptions for you, even if your 21st birthday is next month.
21 is a really low age requirement, and I think driving for Lyft is the perfect college and fresh-out-of-college job. Most Lyft drivers are a little bit older, so if you’re not a fresh-faced twenty-something, don’t worry. Lyft won’t discriminate against your age even though their promo videos mostly feature the baby-faced.
Lyft car requirement: A 4-door car that is year 2005 or newer*
Do you own a 2-door coupe? You’re out of luck. Does your car have those weird center-opening rear mini-doors that aren’t quite a full door? Sorry, your car doesn’t qualify. Built in 1999? That’s a no-go.
*Many states have different model year requirements. Go to help.lyft.com to see the year requirement in your city.
The car does not have to be registered to you, but you must be insured to drive the car. As long as you’re a named driver on an insurance policy covering that vehicle, you qualify. Your name does not have to be on the registration title. You can drive a leased car, or a car with a lien (loan) still on it.
What condition does your car have to be in?
Your car should not have any major dents, all safety features need to be present and working, the interior needs to be clean, stain free, odor free. The car does not have to be in perfect, new condition.
- Lyft vehicle requirements: You can drive for Lyft with these cars
- Rent a car through Lyft’s Express Drive program
- Try Hyrecar, a peer-to-peer network that allows you to rent or lease a car for Uber.
Insurance requirement: Must be in-state policy, at the state minimum. What about rideshare insurance?
Car insurance is issued state-by-state because each state can have very different insurance regulations. Lyft asks that your car insurance policy is issued in the state where you’re going to drive. So if you just moved to California from Arizona and your insurance policy originates in Arizona, you’ll need to get it changed. Contact your insurance company for more help.
Lyft requires that your vehicle is insured to the state minimum. Your name must be on the insurance policy. If your name isn’t on the insurance card, you’ll have to get the insurance declaration from your provider and upload that to Lyft.
Most insurance providers will not pay a claim if the accident occurred while you are driving for Lyft. In that case, Lyft provides a $1million liability policy and a collision policy with a large deductible: $2500.
For that reason, I recommend you seek out rideshare insurance. To do that, do a google search for “rideshare insurance in *your state*” Most policies are designed to cover you during the period of driving when you have the app turned on but no passenger in your car. A rideshare-friendly policy will prevent you from getting dropped by your insurance provider.
- Liberty Mutual - Policies for ride share drivers are available in many states!
Your vehicle must pass an inspection
Before you can sign into driver mode and start taking ride requests, your vehicle will need to pass an inspection at a licensed facility. The inspection primarily focuses on the condition of safety features of your car like the tires, brakes, windows, mirrors, lights, and safety belts. It’s not a difficult inspection to pass if you follow standard recommended maintenance.
The inspection also looks at the cosmetic condition of your car. Your car doesn’t need to be perfect, but you may not pass if your car has major dents (larger than a baseball), noticeable body damage, severely fading paint, or missing body components.
For instructions on how to find a mechanic who can perform an inspection in your area, visit help.lyft.com and search for ‘inspection.’
If you need a car to drive for Lyft, these are good places to shop for a car or a loan:
You must have an in-state drivers license and at least one year of US driving experience
California drivers need a California license, Texas drivers need a Texas license, etc. If you’re new to the state, head to the DMV and get a new license. Having the proper in-state license also comes in handy when you have to deal with anything government-related, including a stop with the police, so it’s always worth having the right license.
You also need to have at least one full year of US driving experience. That means that Lyft doesn’t count your international driving experience when they look at your licensing history. Even if you’ve driven internationally for 20 years, a US license that is only a few months old won’t meet the requirement.
In-state plates with current registration
Get your car registered in-state, and make sure your tags are up to date! This might mean another DMV errand, but it’s yet another good reason to have all of your car information in-order and in compliance.
It’s not only about being hired by Lyft — it’s also about being current with the law. Getting pulled over sucks. The last thing you want in life is to get pulled over for expired tags. Ok, Dad Moment over.
Pass a background check a driving record check
How clean is clean? You might not have the squeaky-cleanest driving record, but can you still be hired?
The Lyft driving record check looks at:
- Aged 21 or older, with an active US driver’s license for 1+ years
- Valid personal auto insurance that meets or exceeds state requirements
- No more than three moving violations in the past three years (e.g. accidents, traffic light violations)
- No major violations in the past three years (e.g. driving on a suspended license, reckless driving)
- No DUIs or other drug-related driving violations in the last seven years
- No extreme infractions in the last seven years (e.g. hit-and-run, felonies involving a vehicle)
Lyft will ask you to consent to a background check that is administered by a third party. Here’s what the background check looks at.
The Lyft background check looks back 7 years to screen for:
- No violent crimes
- No sexual offenses
- No theft
- No property damage
- No felonies
- No drug related offenses
Lifetime screen against:
- Individuals registered on the National Sex Offender Registry and DOJ50-State Sex Offender Registry
If you do not pass the background check, Lyft will email you the results and tell you how to contest.
Comply with any local regulations in your area
Some cities require Lyft drivers to comply with special regulations in order to legally pick up and drop off passengers. Special regulations could be business licenses, special placards, or a different state-required inspection or background check. Lyft will send you city-specific information when you apply to help you navigate all the steps you need to take to be legal in your area.
View the list of all City and State regulations for Lyft drivers.
How to apply when you don’t have a car
You might run into an issue during the application process if you don’t have a car, because the application forces you to input vehicle to complete the application. Many potential drivers don’t have a qualifying car, and plan to drive with a Hertz, Enterprise, or other type of Lyft rental. You can get caught in a loop: You can’t apply to Lyft without a car, and you can’t get the rental without being an approved driver.
To successfully apply without a car, apply to the Lyft Express Drive program. That application assumes that you need a car, so it will allow you to fill out basic information and do a background screening before you get a vehicle.
Get hired as a Lyft driver faster by…
The application process is mostly straightforward and I can guarantee you’ll be hired if you meet all the requirements and keep all of your documents in order.
I do have one suggestion for getting hired quickly, and getting on the road quickly: Apply now, even if you’re not sure if you meet all of the requirements. Lyft HQ is there to help you understand and meet the requirements, so the sooner you begin the process the faster you’ll be on the road.