These hybrid policies include coverage for personal auto use and for the time´s drivers are signed in to a ridesharing app, but not covered by Lyft’s or Uber’s insurance.

If you are driving with a rideshare company like Uber and using your personal car for commercial work, this may create an unexpected gap in your auto coverage. Here’s how that can happen:

  •  There’s a good chance your personal auto policy excludes coverage when you’re logged into a rideshare company’s app as available to accept rides.
  •  The rideshare company’s full commercial liability coverage probably doesn’t begin until you accept a ride.

California is home to more rideshare drivers than any other state. So it makes sense that this new type of insurance would be pioneered here.

The law requires you to be covered by an auto insurance policy at all times. But because the TNC can help meet that requirement, not all rideshare drivers in California need to purchase rideshare insurance in order to drive legally. However, you may want to purchase an individual rideshare policy that allows you to maintain certain coverages, such as comprehensive, collision and medical payments, during Period 1. Otherwise, you would have to pay the costs out of pocket if you were injured or your vehicle was damaged during that period.

The laws above only apply to rideshare drivers, not limousine or livery drivers, as they have their own commercial auto insurance requirements.

Uber and Lyft Car Requirements in California

Car requirements for rideshare drivers vary depending on your TNC and city. And if you drive for Uber, the program you’ve chosen will also affect requirements. The one commonality is that California law requires all rideshare drivers to display their company’s decal in the vehicle’s windows at all times when the app is on. In addition, if you intend to pick up or drop off passengers from an airport, you’ll also need airport-specific decals.

Lyft’s vehicle requirements are consistent in every California city.

  • Cars must have four doors and between four to six passenger seats.
  • The car must be registered in California and have a license plate from the state. It also must be insured by an auto insurance policy issued in California.
  • Cars cannot be classified as salvage or rebuilt.
  • The vehicle model year should be 2002 or newer in most cities. However, the vehicle needs to be 2004 or newer in: Bakersfield, Fresno, Inland Empire, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles, Modesto, Monterey, Napa, Sonoma, Orange County, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Stockton and Ventura.
  • Cars must pass an annual inspection, and you’ll need to visit a licensed mechanic to have the inspection form completed. You should keep the inspection form in your car at all times, along with your proof of insurance. Drivers will need to pay for the inspection themselves, which costs around $30. For free annual reinspections, drivers can visit one of Lyft’s hub locations near San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.

Uber’s vehicle requirements have small differences between cities, but they primarily change based on the programs offered in a given city. An uberX driver in San Francisco, for example, will typically have the same car requirements as an uberX driver in Los Angeles. But certain programs like UberLUX aren’t available in all cities.


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