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Uber and Lyft Car Requirements: 2022

According to a Pew Center Research Center survey, 36% of adults have used ride-hailing services. Increased demand has encouraged more drivers to earn money by driving for transportation network companies, like Uber and Lyft.

To be eligible to drive with Uber or Lyft, you must meet general and state-specific requirements, including passing a background check and vehicle inspection as well as carrying state minimum insurance requirements. Vehicles must meet age, safety and cosmetic requirements too.

Uber Requirements

Uber requires their drivers to meet vehicle, document and driver requirements before they can start earning money. State- and city-specific requirements can apply, as well.

What do I need to drive with Uber?

The following general requirements apply if you want to drive with Uber:

  • Be at least 21 years old.

  • Have at least one year of driving experience (may be up to three years depending on your age and location).

  • Carry a valid driver's license.

  • Pass a background check and a DMV check — major driving violations and certain criminal convictions can disqualify you from driving with Uber.

  • Maintain car insurance that meets your state's minimum requirements. When signing up, you must provide proof of insurance that shows your name on the policy.

Uber car requirements

Car requirements will vary by region and you should look up your local requirements on the Uber website to confirm that your vehicle is eligible. Uber's general requirements can include the following:

  • Only vehicles 15-years-old and newer are allowed.

  • The vehicle must have four doors.

  • The vehicle must be in good condition with no cosmetic damage.

  • Pass a vehicle inspection.

  • Display the Uber emblem on your front and rear windshield. If you have tinted windows that reduce emblem visibility, you must obtain a decal that is affixed to your vehicle's exterior.

What are Uber XL and Uber Black?

These are specific Uber programs that enforce additional requirements. Uber XL requires your vehicle to have seven factory-installed seats and seat belts. Uber Black requires that your vehicle have a black exterior and be six years old or newer.

Disqualifications for Uber drivers

Your vehicle may not be eligible to drive with Uber if your vehicle has the following features:

  • Full-body wraps with commercial branding or advertising

  • Aftermarket modifications, including paint jobs

  • Significant damage to the interior (e.g., stains, odors, tears)

  • Paint oxidation

  • Mismatched colors on hoods or doors

  • Holes in the exterior of the vehicle

How does the Uber vehicle inspection work?

You must pass a vehicle inspection before you can start earning money driving for Uber. To start, you can download the vehicle inspection form online and bring it to a qualified inspection center near you.

If you don't pass the initial inspection, you will need to make the necessary repairs and are responsible for the costs. Once you have a completed inspection form that shows your vehicle has passed, upload the form and receipt to your Uber account.

Your vehicle must then pass inspection regularly in accordance with your state's requirements. In California, for example, inspections must be completed after 50,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever comes first.

Can I apply for Uber without a car?

Uber has partnered with vehicle companies to allow people to rent cars that can be used to earn money by driving with Uber. Vehicle partners include Hertz and Avis and you will need to look online if rentals are available in your city. Rental rates start at $260 per week but will vary by region.

While Uber and Lyft provide coverage for their drivers, you may still want to buy separate rideshare insurance.

Lyft Requirements

To drive with Lyft, you must meet several requirements, including being at least 21 years old, passing a background check and vehicle inspection, showing proof of auto insurance and more.

What do I need to drive with Lyft?

Lyft enforces the following general requirements for all its drivers:

  • Be at least 21 years old (the requirement may increase up to 25 years old depending on your region).

  • Download the Lyft driver app on your smartphone.

  • Have a driver's US driver's license for at least one year (may be up to three years depending on your age and location).

  • Submit a copy of the certified driving record.

  • Have valid plates with current registration.

  • Maintain car insurance that meets your state's minimum requirements. When signing up, you must provide proof of insurance that shows your name on the policy.

  • Pass a background check and a DMV check — major moving violations and certain criminal convictions can disqualify you from driving with Lyft.

  • Pass a vehicle inspection.

  • Complete Lyft's Community Safety Education program.

  • Carry a business license (may be required in certain regions).

Lyft car requirements

Requirements will vary by location and you should look up your local requirements to confirm if you're eligible to drive with Lyft. Generally, vehicles should meet the following requirements:

  • The vehicle must have four doors and five to eight seatbelts (including the driver's belt).

  • Older models may not be eligible and the vehicle age requirements can vary by state and county. For example, a 2008 model is the oldest vehicle accepted in Los Angeles County, but a 2006 model is the oldest vehicle accepted in San Bernardino County, California in 2022.

  • Taxi and stretch limousines are not eligible to drive for Lyft.

  • The vehicle cannot be classified as salvage, non-repairable or rebuilt.

  • The Lyft emblem must be displayed on your vehicle in accordance with your state's requirements — typically in the lower corner of the front and rear windshield while driving for Lyft.

How does the Lyft vehicle inspection work?

You must pass a vehicle inspection before you can start earning money driving for Lyft. Inspection appointments with an approved facility can be scheduled directly through the Lyft driver app. You must bring a form downloaded from Lyft with you to the site. Inspections will typically cost $20 to $30 depending on the facility.

If you fail the initial inspection, you must have the necessary repairs completed that day to receive a pass on that form — Lyft will not cover these costs. Once your inspector gives your vehicle a pass, upload your completed inspection form through the Lyft app.

Your vehicle must undergo and pass inspections regularly. In California, inspections must be completed every 12 months or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. The 50,000 mileage threshold includes personal mileage — not just the mileage accrued while driving for Lyft or another rideshare service.

Can I apply for Lyft without a car?

Qualified drivers can rent a car through Lyft Express Drive, a car rental service, to start earning money driving for Lyft. The car rentals are facilitated by Lyft partners Flexdrive and Hertz. Express Drive is available in the following areas nationwide:

  • Atlanta

  • Austin, TX

  • Baltimore

  • Boston

  • Charlotte, NC

  • Chicago

  • Cincinnati

  • Cleveland

  • Colorado Springs, CO

  • Dallas

  • Denver

  • Houston

  • Indianapolis

  • Las Vegas

  • Los Angeles

  • Minneapolis

  • Nashville, TN

  • New Orleans

  • Norfolk, VA

  • Oakland, CA

  • Orange County, CA

  • Philadelphia

  • Phoenix

  • Pittsburgh

  • Portland, OR

  • Providence, RI

  • Raleigh-Durham, NC

  • Richmond, VA

  • Sacramento, CA

  • San Antonio, TX

  • San Diego

  • San Francisco

  • San Jose, CA

  • Seattle

  • Tacoma, WA

  • Washington D.C.

Rideshare Insurance Coverage for Uber or Lyft Drivers

Uber and Lyft Insurance Requirements

Uber and Lyft provide auto coverage while you're on the job but you are still required to maintain personal car insurance that meets your state's minimum requirements — driving without car insurance is illegal in most states, after all. Required coverage and minimum limits will vary by state, but will generally require the following:

  • Bodily injury liability: $15,000 to $50,000 per person and $30,000 to $100,000 per accident

  • Property damage liability: $5,000 to $2,500 per accident

  • Uninsured/underinsured bodily injury: $20,000 to $50,000 per person and $40,000 to $100,000 per accident

  • Uninsured/underinsured property damage: $5,000 to $25,000 per accident

  • Personal injury protection: $5,000 to $50,000 (only for states that offer no-fault insurance)

Uber and Lyft maintain comprehensive and collision coverage only if you purchased these coverages in your personal car insurance policy.

Insurance Coverage Through Uber and Lyft

Rideshare insurance through Lyft and Uber works in three different phases:

  1. When the app is off

  2. When the app is on and you're waiting for a ride request

  3. When the app is on and you are picking up or transporting passengers


App is off

App is on, waiting for a ride request

App is on, picking up or transporting passengers

App is on, trip has ended

Description

Driving without using the rideshare app

App is activated, and a match with rideshare passenger is pending

Match complete, passenger is waiting to get picked up or is already sitting in the vehicle

App shows the trip has ended and the passenger is exiting the vehicle

Insurance Coverage

Personal auto insurance coverage applies

Uber/Lyft Liability coverage:

•$50,000/person for bodily injury

•$100,000/accident for bodily injury

•$25,000/accident for property damage

Rideshare endorsement coverage:

•Full coverage

Uber/Lyft coverage

•$1,000,000 for 3rd-party auto liability

•Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury*

•Medpay/PIP coverage (zero deductible)

•Contingent comprehensive & collision up to the car's actual cash value ($2,500 deductible)**

Uber/Lyft Liability coverage:

•$50,000/person for bodily injury

•$100,000/accident for bodily injury

•$25,000/accident for property damage

Rideshare endorsement coverage:

•Full coverage

**Coverage limits will vary by state.
**Only eligible if you have personal collision and comprehensive insurance.

If you drive for both Uber and Lyft, coverage from each company will not stack to increase your limits. Lyft coverage applies when driving for Lyft and the same goes for Uber.

How contingent and comprehensive collision coverage works

Uber and Lyft maintain comprehensive and collision coverage only if you purchased these coverages in your personal car insurance policy. Liability coverage is required in most states, but not collision or comprehensive so consider adding these on so that the company matches it while you're working, or else you're not covered if you cause an accident or your car is stolen while the app is on. Uber and Lyft will cover you up to the actual cash value of your car, but a $2,500 deductible applies.

You must pass a vehicle inspection before you can start earning money driving.

Purchasing additional rideshare coverage

While Uber and Lyft provide coverage for their drivers, you may still want to buy separate rideshare insurance. Uber and Lyft offer only liability coverage while you're waiting to get matched with a driver and when the app shows the trip has ended but your passenger is still leaving the vehicle. There is no comprehensive or collision coverage during this phase. You're on your own for first-party claims, like theft or colliding with another vehicle, unless you buy a rideshare endorsement on your personal car insurance policy.

  • Rideshare endorsements can offer full coverage when your app is on and you're waiting to get matched with a passenger or while your passenger is exiting the vehicle. This can include comprehensive, collision, Medpay/PIP and uninsured/underinsured coverage depending on the insurer. However, the endorsement typically will not cover you when you have accepted a trip, you're picking up the passenger or when the passenger is sitting in your vehicle. Uber and Lyft's coverage will still apply during these phases.

Benefits of Driving for Uber and Lyft

Beyond earning money by driving for Uber and Lyft, rideshare drivers may also enjoy the following benefits:

  • Flexible schedule and income: Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors — they can choose when and how much they want to drive.

  • Driver rewards: Uber may offer a 15% discount on new tires or routine oil changes at select service facilities. Lyft drivers may qualify for a discounted 24/7 Allstate roadside assistance plan.

  • Rideshare coverage: Drivers have limited auto insurance coverage during all phases of the job — from getting matched with passengers to dropping them off (see earlier table for more details).

  • Rental car services: If you don't own a car and want to earn money driving for Uber or Lyft, each ride-hailing company has a car rental service available.

FAQs

What is the oldest year car for Uber?

You must drive a 15-year-old vehicle or newer to qualify to drive with Uber. In 2022, the oldest vehicle you drive is a 2007 model. Certain Uber programs, like Uber Black, will require vehicle models no older than six years.

What is the oldest year car for Lyft?

Vehicle age requirements will vary by region with some counties allowing vehicles as old as 16 years. You can look up your state and city requirements through the Lyft website.

Which cars are not allowed in Uber?

Vehicles older than 15 years old, are classified as salvaged or rebuilt or have aftermarket seating modifications (e.g., installed seats and seatbelts) are not allowed in Uber. Requirements can also expand or shrink depending on the Uber program.

For example, a vehicle with four doors is mostly required but 2-door vehicles are allowed when driving for Uber Eats, a food delivery service. Vehicles cannot be older than 15 years but the requirement tightens to no older than six years when driving for Uber Black, a luxurious rideshare service for passengers.

How old can your car be for Lyft in Florida?

To drive for Lyft in Florida, your vehicle must be a 2010 model or newer.

Uber and Lyft Coverage Isn't Enough

Uber and Lyft maintain auto insurance on your behalf when you're on the job but there are limitations and conditions. Comprehensive and collision coverage is only available while picking up and transporting customers and if you have that coverage on your personal auto insurance policy. Unless you have rideshare coverage full coverage is completely unavailable while waiting to get matched with a passenger or while the passenger is leaving your vehicle after the trip has ended.

As a rideshare driver, you need an auto insurance policy that covers you during personal trips and rideshare trips. SmartFinancial's tools may match you with a policy that fulfills both needs. Just answer a few questions and enter your zip code below to get started.

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