Do California Ride-Share Drivers Need Driving School and Insurance?

Ride-share services like Lyft and Uber are more popular than ever. They make getting around easy for people who don't have a car. If you're a licensed California driver looking to make good money on the side, this could be it.

Before picking up your first passengers, here's what you need to know about being a ride-share driver in California.

Ride-Sharing Requirements for California Drivers

To become a California ride-share driver, you need to:

Of course, there are a few exceptions to these rules. For example, Lyft allows active-duty military personnel to drive with an out-of-state license. And Uber requires drivers under 25 to have 3 years of driving experience or 1 year of driving experience for drivers over 25.

You may need to get a business license if you ride-share for more than 30 days. Check with your local city office to see if you need to apply for one.

For more information, read through the driver requirements page on each service's website as you decide which one to join.

There Are Vehicle Requirements, Too

Lyft and Uber don't allow all vehicles to be used for ride-sharing. Generally speaking, they must:

  • Be from 2009 or newer

  • Have four doors and a minimum of five seatbelts

  • Have updated California license plates

  • Pass an inspection by a licensed California mechanic every 12 months or 50,000 miles, whichever happens first

Insurance Basics in California

Every driver in California has to have personal auto insurance. It must meet the minimum insurance requirements set by the state:

  • $15,000 of bodily injury coverage, per person

  • $30,000 of bodily injury coverage total

  • $5,000 of property damage coverage

Ride-share drivers are no exception. This kind of insurance protects them and their vehicle while not on the job. Your name must be on the policy, or else the ride-share service might not let you sign up.

As soon as drivers clock in, though, the ride-share service's third-party insurance kicks in. Lyft and Uber offer coverage:

  • While waiting for a ride request

    • Up to $50,000 of bodily injury coverage, per person

    • Up to $100,000 of bodily injury coverage total

    • Up to $25,000 of property damage coverage

  • On the way to pick up drivers and with passengers in the car

    • Up to $1,000,000 third-party liability

Keep in mind your personal auto insurance won't cover any accidents that happen while you're logged into the app or with a passenger. If you want to shop around for the best car insurance in California, consider a ride-share insurance add-on to keep you covered at all times.

What About California Driving School?

California does not require ride-share drivers to take driver improvement classes. Still, you have a lot to gain from enrolling in a program. Driver's ed courses and traffic school give you a refresher on your state's driving laws and updated city regulations. It's particularly useful if you're new to the area. Plus, since you can take classes online and learn at your own pace, you have nothing to lose — and you may even get an auto insurance discount!

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