Many potential Lyft drivers get stuck during the application process because they don’t have access to a qualifying car. The good news is that Lyft partners with Hertz and Flexdrive to create rental options that provide a way to access a qualifying car without making a major commitment.
The vehicle rental programs for Lyft drivers is called the Lyft Express Drive program, and it offers weekly rentals that include insurance, unlimited miles, and routine maintenance. You can get started by applying for Lyft Express Drive here. That link is my referral link, and I may receive a bonus if you use it to apply.
Lyft rentals cost around $180 – $250/week. Rentals are not cheap, but if you want to try driving for Lyft without having to buy a car, this could be a good option for you. Of all the ways to get a car for Lyft, this one has the lowest level of commitment because you’re only paying for a short rental period.
What is the Lyft rental car program? All about the Express Drive rental program
- For Lyft drivers age 21 and older
- Express Drive rentals cost $180 – $240/ week
- Current participating rental companies are Hertz and Flexdrive
- Drivers must meet Lyft driver requirements
- There is a refundable deposit of $250 that is refunded when you return the car
- Insurance and routine maintenance are included
- Rental period is weekly. You can renew weekly from the app, but you have to visit the rental lot once per month
- Unlimited mileage. You can use the car for personal use at no extra charge
- You must complete at least 20 rides each week
- You can reserve your rental ahead of time, but it’s first-come-first-served and availability is low
- Rental payments are deducted from your weekly earnings
- If you give enough rides and earn a 90% ride acceptance rating, Lyft pays Rental Rewards that reduce the cost of your rental
- Apply for Express Drive here – My referral link. I may receive a bonus for referring you to Lyft.
What’s the difference between Hertz and Flexdrive Lyft rentals?
Lyft partnered with Hertz and Flexdrive to provide rental cars for Lyft drivers. Both companies have similar offerings, but there are a few differences that are worth mentioning.
- Each provides a different insurance plan, but both cover you and the vehicle you rent
- Reservations for both services are made online in the Lyft driver dashboard
- You must be 25+ to rent from Hertz, but you can be 21+ to rent from Flexdrive in some cities
- Hertz gives you a paper rental agreement, Flexdrive’s is inside the Lyft app
Insurance is included in the price of Lyft Express Drive rentals
Lyft drivers who use their own vehicles have to find insurance policies that allow ridesharing, or they run the risk getting a claim rejected in the event of an accident. A big benefit with Express Drive rentals is that insurance is included in the weekly cost of the rental. You don’t need a personal auto policy to qualify for Express Drive, and you’re fully covered once you pick up your rental.
More detail about the insurance offered with Lyft Express Drive rentals
- Personal driving and rideshare driving are covered
- Collision deductible for personal driving: $2,500 for Hertz, $2,000 for Flexdrive rentals
- Collision deductive while waiting or a Lyft request or while ride is in progress: $2,500
- $1,000,000 liability policy when you’re waiting for a request and when the ride is in progress. Liability also offered during personal driving at different levels that depend on your state
Upsides and downsides of the Lyft Express Drive rental program
Some big upsides are unlimited mileage, free routine maintenance, and included insurance. Some of the biggest costs when you use your own vehicle are depreciation, maintenance, and insurance, so not having to deal with those is valuable. Especially if you drive enough to significantly reduce the rental fee.
One of the downsides is that the availability of rental cars is low, so it can be difficult to make a reservation. If Hertz doesn’t have a car available for you, you’re put on a waiting list. Most drivers are only able to get a car by repeatedly checking the app and hoping a reservation slot opens.
Another downside is that you can’t earn the Power Driver Bonus if you’re using a Lyft rental car. Instead, Express Drive renters are eligible for Rental Rewards, which are similar to the Power Driver Bonus but may not offer as large of a payoff. Rental Rewards offer fixed bonuses for completing ride requirements.
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Getting started with the Lyft Express Drive rental programs
If you’re not yet a Lyft driver, you’ll need to complete the Express Drive application, pass the background check and driving record check, and make a $250 deposit. Once you pass the screening, you’ll be able reserve a vehicle and make an appointment to visit designated lots around your city to pick up the rental vehicle.
Existing Lyft drivers: If you’re already a Lyft driver, visit the Vehicles section of the driver dashboard and scroll down to see if Express Drive rentals are present as an option. You’ll see a section called “Use an Express Drive rental” if the option is available in your city.
How long can you keep a Lyft rental?
Lyft rentals from the Express Drive program are renewed weekly and you can keep them for an indefinite amount of time. Every 7 days, you can choose to renew the lease from inside the Lyft app. After 28 days, you’ll have to go in person to renew and extend the rental. That’s a bit inconvenient in my opinion, but also makes sense for cars that may be taking a beating and need more maintenance.
The minimum rental period for a Lyft rental is 7 days.
More about the $250 Lyft rental deposit
All users of Express Drive must pay a refundable $250 deposit before you can access a rental car. You must use a credit or debit card in your name to make the deposit. Lyft does not accept pre-paid cards for the rental deposit.
Your deposit will be returned in these circumstances: When you turn in your rental vehicle, if you fail the Lyft background screening process, or if you request to leave the Express Drive program before you ever rent a vehicle. Your deposit may be used to cover outstanding charges.
Is there a long-term Lyft lease available?
Long-term leases are not available with Lyft Express Drive. All rentals are on a weekly basis.
What can you do when there are no rental vehicles available?
The Lyft rental programs have turned out to be very popular, and neither rental company has been able to keep up with demand. Frequently drivers log in to see messages like this: “There are no vehicles available. Would you like your deposit refunded?” It’s a disappointing message when you were hoping to get on the road and drive in a rental.
If there are no rentals available, you can choose to refund your deposit, or you can choose to wait. Currently there is no notification system available, and all rentals are first come first served. So the only option left is to sign in every day and check for availability. Even Lyft recommends logging back in and manually checking, “Although there is no set time or schedule for when vehicles become available, we strongly recommend to keep checking your Dashboard because new rental vehicles are constantly added.” It’s not a great solution, but until a better reservation and notification system comes out, it’s all you can do.
The weekly rental fee can be reduced if you do enough rides
A big perk of renting a car through the Express Drive program is that it makes you eligible for Rental Rewards that can reduce or eliminate the cost of the rental. If you maintain a 90% acceptance rate and complete the required number of rides, you’ll receive rental rewards at the end of the week that will reduce the weekly cost of the rental. The only catch is that you won’t be eligible for the Power Driver Bonus when driving with an Express Drive.
Weekly ride minimum: With an Express Drive rental, Lyft requires that you complete 20 rides each week.
You can’t use your Lyft rental to drive for Uber
One of the first ideas most drivers has is to rent a car from Lyft and use it to drive for Uber. Unfortunately, Lyft told me that the Express Drive program prohibits this. You can’t use a Lyft rental to drive for Uber. That is a major disadvantage of the program because Uber’s rentals don’t always make the same prohibition. So if you want to rent a car and drive for both companies it may be a better idea to go with an Uber rental program.
As always, these rules vary market to market. If you want to use your Lyft rental to drive for Uber, contact Lyft and ask first.
Does renting a car to drive for Lyft make financial sense?
$180/week or more is expensive, and at current Lyft rates you’ll need to work around 10 – 18 hours just to pay off the rental. The price for these rentals is in line with the cost of Uber rentals, which are also priced so high that they require full-time driving in a major market to make financial sense. But the upside is that with these rentals, you can try it for just one week and decide whether to stay on or not.
The other upsides are that insurance is included in the price, mileage is unlimited, and you don’t have to pay for general upkeep like oil changes, brakes, tires, etc. Maintenance and depreciation are huge costs when you’re driving your own car, so it’s nice to avoid those with rentals and leases even if the cost exceeds what you might pay on your own vehicle.
It’s usually best to use the car you already own to drive for Lyft. Check the Lyft vehicle requirements to see if your car qualifies.
When it might make financial sense to rent a car to drive for Lyft
- You want to try driving for Lyft without committing to buying a car
- Your car is in the shop and you need a car for a week or two
- You want to drive full-time, and other options aren’t available to you
Overall, the Express Drive program is something worth looking into if you want to try Lyft but you don’t have access to a qualifying car.