So you want to become a Lyft driver, but you’re not sure if you meet all of the driver or vehicle requirements? Lyft doesn’t want to bombard you with too much information before you apply, so they try to make the driver application process as easy as possible by leaving some details out of the online application to become a driver.
Let me fill in the missing details for you! I’ve listed all of the Lyft driver requirements and vehicle requirements below so you can see if you qualify to become a Lyft driver.
Lyft Driver Requirements
You must meet all of the following requirements to become a Lyft driver. Some cities may have slightly different requirements for the model year of your car.
What do all of those requirements 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.
Lyft drivers must be at least 21 years old, with one year of US driving experience
You qualify for Lyft if you are you 21 years old or older with at least one full year of drivers license history. There is no wiggle room here. Lyft won’t make any exceptions for you, even if your 21st birthday is next month. Lyft doesn’t count international driving experience, so even if you’ve driven internationally for years, you’ll need one full year with your US license.
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 requires a 4-door vehicle that meets your local model year requirement
Lyft requires that all drivers use a 4-door vehicle that has seatbelts for 4 passengers, not including the driver. 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.
Lyft does not make any exceptions to their model year requirements, even if your older car is in pristine condition. Lyft also will not make an exception for any vehicle with less than 4 seatbelts for passengers. Certain four-seater cars, like some models of Chevy Volt are not accepted.
Lyft does not accept vehicles with salvage or rebuilt titles even if the car has been fully repaired.
Does the vehicle have to be registered in your name to qualify for Lyft?
The car you use for Lyft does not have to be registered in your name, 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 to qualify for Lyft? Lyft accepts vehicles that are in fair condition, free of obvious damage or major dents. All basic safety features need to be present and working, the interior needs to be clean, stain free, and odor free. The car does not have to be in perfect, new condition. Small dings and scratches are ok, or minor hail damage. Areas of minor faded paint are also OK.
How to apply to Lyft when you don’t have a car
There are two ways to apply to Lyft without a car.
Option 1: Apply directly to the Lyft Express Drive program.
Option 2: Start with the regular Lyft application and select “I need a car”
Those two methods allow you to apply and undergo background screening without having to submit vehicle details.
Insurance requirement: Must be in-state policy, at the state minimum. What about rideshare insurance?
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 a photo or PDF copy of it to Lyft.
Does your insurance need to be issued in the state you’re driving in? It depends on the state you’re driving in. For example, Lyft drivers in California must have insurance issued in California, but Lyft doesn’t specify that Colorado drivers need Colorado insurance. To see if your city requires in-state insurance, head to the Lyft application requirements page and scroll to your state.
What type of insurance does Lyft provide for drivers?
Lyft provides a $1million liability policy and a collision policy with a large deductible: $2500. Most insurance providers will not cover a claim if the accident occurred while you are driving for Lyft.
You should also find some good rideshare insurance. To do that, do a google search for “rideshare insurance in *your state*” Most auto insurance 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. A good example of and insurance company offering a rideshare-friendly policy is Liberty Mutual.
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.
You must have a valid drivers license and at least one year of US driving experience
Your license must be valid, and you must have at least one full year of US driver license history. Lyft does not count 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.
If you’ve recently moved to a new state and received a new driver’s license, you will still qualify for Lyft as long as your lifelong US driver license experience exceeds one year.
Do you need an in-state license to qualify for Lyft? It depends on the city and state you plan to drive in. For example, Lyft requires that California drivers have a California license. But Lyft doesn’t require an in-state license in some other states. To see if the city you want to drive in requires an in-state license, head to the Lyft application requirements page and scroll to your state.
Your vehicle must have current registration and valid plates
You must upload a copy of your vehicle registration to Lyft. Lyft doesn’t accept vehicles with a salvage or rebuilt title. Your registration must be current.
Does your vehicle need in-state plates? It depends on the city and state you want to drive in. For example, Lyft drivers in California must have California plates on their vehicle, but Lyft drivers in some other states don’t. Head to the Lyft application requirements page and scroll to your state to see if you need in-state plates.
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.
All Lyft drivers must pass the Lyft background check and driving record check
How clean is clean when it comes to your record? 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
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 criminal background check screens for:
No violent crimes, theft, property damage
No sexual offenses
No drug related offenses
Life time screen against individuals registered on the National Sex Offender Registry and DOJ50-State Sex Offender Registry
Denied by Lyft? The reasons why Lyft may not approve your application
The two main reasons why Lyft denies applicants are the background check and minor details with the application.
Denied by Lyft for your background? Here’s what you can do
The #1 reason why Lyft applicants are denied is due to a disqualifying background check. After you apply, the Lyft background check typically takes around 3-10 days. Lyft will either send you notice that you’ve been accepted, or they’ll let you know there are issues with your background and give you an opportunity to get a copy of your background. If they mention any issues, it’s typically a signal that you will be denied.
If you are rejected due to your background, there’s not much you can do to appeal other than contact Lyft and ask them to reconsider. Typically you can only reapply after 6 months.
Other minor application details that may prevent you from getting started
Document issues: Failing to send the correct insurance, registration, and licensing documents
Vehicle issues: If your vehicle fails the inspection, you won’t be able to get started as a driver
These minor issues can be fixed by providing Lyft with the correct documents and by fixing any issues with your car. You won’t be permanently rejected if you have problems with minor application details, but they do cause a delay.
Can you reapply if Lyft rejects your application?
If you’ve completed all of the steps and Lyft decides to reject your application, it is possible to reapply. Generally have to wait around 3-6 months before Lyft will allow you to apply again. Here’s a more detailed article on reapplication:
Get started as a Lyft driver faster by…
The application process is mostly straightforward and you are likely to be accepted if you meet all the requirements and keep all of your documents in order.
I do have one suggestion for getting started faster: Apply now, even if you’re not sure if you meet all of the requirements. Lyft 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.