Woman Ordering Uber

Rideshare 101: The New Uber Or Lyft Driver’s Handbook

Please welcome RSC’s newest contributor, Barry, who drives for Uber and Lyft (mostly) in San Diego.

Over the past few years, Uber and Lyft have seen an incredible boom of success. With the easy entry and the loaded promise of making substantial sums of money all on your own schedule, it’s obvious why driving for Uber or Lyft has become a go-to job for anyone looking to give their wallets a little extra padding. There are even drivers who, through commitment and perseverance, have turned rideshare driving from a side project to full-time career!

With flexible hours, the promise of huge payouts and a relatively simple workload, rideshare driving almost seems too good to be true. So, like most modern skeptics or anyone who’s been curious about some of the advertised promotions out there, you may be wondering: what’s the catch? Can driving for Uber or Lyft really become a viable career, or is it all just a load of marketing misinformation?

Taking advantage of one of their many new driver promotions, I started driving for both Uber and Lyft in the bustling city of San Diego late last year. In the beginning, the results were kind of a mixed bag. While the possibility to make a hefty amount of cash was definitely there, there was a lot of trial and error involved in figuring out just how to make ridesharing work for me. There’s a lot of competition out there and the more you know, the more likely you are to stand apart as an excellent Lyft or Uber driver.

I’ve put together a few of what I feel are the most important things I learned during my first few months driving. Hopefully, these tips can help you avoid making the same newbie mistakes and set you on the path to success!

It’s All About Location

Considering just about anyone can become a rideshare driver with just a quick vehicle inspection, the industry regularly runs the risk of becoming over saturated. This becomes even more of a problem when the big companies like Uber and Lyft start advertising new driver promotions, luring in loads of new drivers with promises of guaranteed income for the first few weeks of their employment. These surges aren’t constant and usually run in a cycle; one area will load up with new drivers, wait for most of them to drop off after a month or two and then leave behind a fleet of dedicated, highly rated drivers. It’s an easy way for Uber or Lyft to boost their income and increase their numbers, but it can be a real pain for drivers who depend on regular business to support themselves.

Do yourself a big, big favor and research your area before you become a new driver. The best way to do that is to take an Uber or Lyft ride yourself. Does it only take two minutes for you to get a car where you live? That probably means the streets surrounding your home are pretty saturated, most of which are impatiently circling around waiting for a ping. Alternatively, if there’s a longer wait, chances are there are fewer drivers available to haul passengers – which is, ultimately, a good thing for you. It increases your chances at getting regular rides and, by proxy, increases your income. Try checking wait times in a few areas of town to gauge overall driver saturation in your city.

Don’t Get Sucked In By Surge And Primetime

Try to get a feel for what locations are usually swarming with drivers and don’t waste too much time chasing rides there. On that note, be mindful about chasing the surge, “hot spots” on your map. Hot spots occur (the map area turns a shade of red) when there’s a greater demand for cars than there are drivers available, and both Uber and Lyft will lure you in with the incentive of double, triple or sometimes even quadruple fares. It seems like an awesome deal, but most experienced drivers will warn you to stay away unless the hot spot is within a few minutes (5 minutes max) from your location.

Their reasoning? Most surges only last a few minutes and will disappear before you get there, having lured in so many drivers that the spot instantly becomes flooded and rides become next to impossible to nail down. I experienced this a few times myself, and each time I abandoned my regular circuit to chase a spot, I found myself wasting time and gas (rushing to a spot uses more gas) for little to no pay off. Ongoing, I’ve had more luck by just staying put and letting all the other drivers go on the wild good chase while I picked up what they left behind.

Uber Surge Map

Uber Surge Map

Lyft Primetime Map

Lyft Primetime Map


Find what spots work best for you, avoid places with too many drivers and trust your intuition when it comes to obvious hot spots. Remember, you and every other driver are looking at the same map and every car you see is just more competition.

Keep on the Move, But Don’t Move Around Unnecessarily

One of the biggest mistakes new drivers make is idling around in parking lots waiting for riders to magically appear. This will absolutely kill your cash flow, even if it seems like you’re being frugal about your gas. I would argue that the biggest enemy of any rideshare driver is wasted time. Every minute you spend waiting for work to come to you detracts from your average hourly pay and can be the difference between making a living wage and just making some spare cash. The most successful rideshare drivers are constantly on the move, hunting down rides and making themselves accessible across a wider radius.

Map out a circuit around your area of choice, keeping yourself close to things like train stations, strip malls, colleges or bus stops (you’ll notice I didn’t say airports – more on that later), and then continue to loop those streets. On average, I picked up a few rides every time I went through my own circuit, many of which I would have missed out on if I’d been sitting still miles away.

Now, while you should move to where the rides are, you should not drive around aimlessly once you get to an area where you’re likely to catch a request. Once you’ve mapped out your circuit, note the locations of places where you can easily pull over and wait for ten minutes or so.

Explore New Places

One of my biggest gripes as a rider is a driver who doesn’t know their way around town or makes me wait an extra five minutes while they try to figure out how to get into the parking lot I’m waiting in. Little inconveniences like that can set a really negative tone for your entire ride, so you’ll want to do your best to avoid them.

If you’re going to Drive With Lyft or Uber, set aside a day to just drive around and get a feel for how the streets work. Are there any strange intersections? Are there one-way streets or tricky highway ramps you’ll have to navigate? Is there a place you can safely pick up your passengers at curbside? How do you get in and out of the major businesses? Which sides of the street have even number addresses, and which have odd numbers? These are just a few of the important things you should be keeping an eye out for. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did when you’ve got an impatient businessman checking his watch in your back seat.

One of the worst experiences I had as a driver was navigating a small private airport for the first time with a passenger who was already running late. Not only did I botch the pick up by taking extra time to figure out how to get to his location, but I missed the ramp out of the parking lot and we were forced to circle the lot a second time. He was less than pleased, and it could have been avoided entirely if I’d taken the time to drive through the area on my own and understand how the complicated, construction-covered streets worked.

The Trouble With Airports

Since we’re talking about airports, let’s take a second and go over the finer points of these supposed moneymakers. Yes, people regularly use rideshare cars to get to and from the airport. It seems like an obvious way to make a lot of money in a short time, but things have changed in how Uber and Lyft handle the high traffic pings coming from airports.

For starters, in an attempt to keep things fairly spread across drivers, Uber and Lyft have established queues to match rides to drivers. You automatically enter this queue once you enter a certain radius surrounding the airport and, on average, the wait time to catch a ride is easily an hour, sometimes more. There are actually designated parking lots set aside for rideshare drivers to sit and wait for their turn to come up, but remember earlier when I said wasted time is your worst enemy? That’s a whole hour you’re waiting for a single fare, which isn’t guaranteed to be a long ride. You can imagine how frustrating it is to wait that long only to get a ride five minutes down the street to the rental car place. Instead of catching two or three rides, you only made a few bucks in an hour.

Worse yet, if you leave the area surrounding the airport, you are immediately removed from the queue and your place in line isn’t saved. You start all over again if and when you re-enter the queue, making it a pretty unforgiving and unwelcoming system for people actually trying to make a decent wage as a driver.

Uber Lyft Airport Pickup

Waiting at the airport often isn’t worth it.

Beyond that, there are a lot of surprising legal issues surrounding airports. Every airport has a different set of rules, but some are incredibly strict about where you are and are not permitted to pick up guests. You can get in a lot of trouble for loitering where you’re not allowed, so make sure you take the time to research your local airport and see what the regulations are on Uber or Lyft for both picking up and dropping off passengers before you put yourself in a bad position.

The bottom line? In my opinion, airports are rarely worth the wait and you’re much better off finding rides somewhere else. Most times I waited out the queue at the airport, I scored a ride that was no more than fifteen minutes long. I gave up on it shortly thereafter and went back to my regular circuit, where I was making way more money without the idling.

Make Sure You’re in the Know

Keep a tab on current events in your area. Things like concerts, sports games, festivals and farmers markets can all be great ways to score a few rides. Uber and Lyft will both e-mail you with some of the major events happening near your zip code, which can be incredibly helpful, but there’s always more to be discovered than what they’re offering to all of their drivers. (Remember – more drivers mean more competition!) Get to know when local events are happening and try to schedule around them so that you’re always one step ahead.

If you’re willing to put in late hours, another great thing to be aware of is the closing times for local bars and clubs. The late night crowd is usually pretty lucrative and you’re doing everyone a great favor by getting intoxicated people home safe and sound. Just remember that there’s some unique challenges to the bar crowd. You’ll definitely meet some interesting people – a woman with no shoes once spent fifteen minutes telling me how happy her cat would be to meet me – and you definitely want to keep some carebags in the back seat, but it’s definitely an entertaining bunch and they tip very, very well.

Hidden Expenses

A major part of figuring out your take home income is considering all of the expenses that come with being a driver. If you’re full time, you will fill your gas tank at least every couple of days. Having a car with great gas mileage may not be an Uber or Lyft necessity, but it can be a massive boon when starting as a new driver. Other than that, however, what are some of the other regular expenses you’ll be responsible for?

Firstly, there’s the cost of maintaining your car. You’re going to be putting a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle so be prepared to keep on top of oil changes, brakes and any other repairs that may show up during your travels. If a nasty pot hole busts your alignment, you’re going to have to repair that right away. Furthermore, you will need to wash your car regularly, which is something you’ll have to put aside both time and money for. On average, it took me about half an hour to fill my tank, thoroughly wash my car and get ready to roll.

Mileage And Expense Trackers

You’ll also want a way to easily track your expenses and mileage. For every 1,000 miles you drive for Uber or Lyft, you get a $545 tax deduction. The easiest way to keep track is to download a mileage and expense tracker, which will automatically keep track of your miles, and alert you to potential deductions. Here’s two of the most popular mileage and expense trackers among Uber and Lyft drivers. Most drivers prefer Stride, but Quickbooks integrates seamlessly with Turbotax.

Some other expenses to keep in mind are food, whether that’s fast food joints or pre-packed lunches, and whatever amenities you’re offering to your passengers to earn that five star rating. One thing you’ll want to offer your passengers is a charging cable for their phone (make sure you have cables for both Apple phones and Androids). As for an auxiliary cable if they want to choose their own music, water bottles, tissues and small snacks, it’s up to you. Most drivers don’t and I wouldn’t say it’s necessary.

You can choose just how far you’re willing to go to please and entertain your passengers. I’ve seen cars with LED lighting, touch screens on the back of their seats and so many snacks you’d expect a stewardess to be handing them out. Some cars have had toiletries and feminine hygiene products, which can be a real life saver, and others just had the basics of a few sick bags and water bottles in case of motion sickness emergency.

Put some thought into what you might like to see as a passenger and invest a little to make sure your riders are comfortable and happy. They’ll thank you with good ratings every time.

Don’t Forget Self Care

Last, but certainly not least, never forget to put aside some time for self-care. It’s surprisingly easy to get caught up in the hustle of chasing down rides or taking those pings back to back, but it’s important to take breaks every now and again! On my first day of driving, I was so excited to be getting so many rides that I went nearly nine hours without stopping to eat or drink. The massive headache I nursed on my way home was all it took for me to make sure I never made that mistake again.

Pack yourself lunches or keep snacks on the inside of your car door to munch on between rides. Make sure you keep a bottle of water around to keep yourself from getting dehydrated. And, arguably just as important, absolutely make sure you get out of your car and stretch at least twice a day. Sitting in a car is actually terrible posture for your back and shoulders – just ask any trucker – but you can mitigate sore muscles by giving them a good stretch every now and again. Taking just a few minutes to take care of your body can help you alleviate a lot of aches and pains later.

Keeping yourself happy and healthy will make your entire experience as a driver more positive, and let you share your good vibes with your passengers.

Final Words

Being a new driver can be pretty daunting at first. There’s a lot to learn and you have to be able to think on your feet in stressful situations like construction zones, heavy traffic and crowded parking lots. Being prepared ahead of time can make a world of difference and I hope the information here can help you feel a bit more confident as a new driver. It may seem overwhelming, but once you figure out the rhythm and flow of your area, ridesharing can be a really fantastic way to earn money, meet new people and enjoy the freedom of working on your own schedule.

With a bit of extra time, dedication and the tips and tricks we’ve gone over here, you’ll be on your way to earning five star ratings in no time!

lyft and uber advice

What to do if your Lyft or Uber application is pending.

What Does It Mean If Your Uber or Lyft Application Stalls?

Not every person who applies to drive with Lyft or Uber will be approved. However, very few candidates get rejected outright. Many drivers wind up with an application that’s pending, and stays that way, sometimes for weeks. This can happen for a number of reasons including:

  • If you’ve been driving in your state for less than a year.
  • Sometimes, there are duplicate accounts in the system from prior applications, and that’s holding your current application up.
  • Very old major (reckless, dui etc..) traffic violations (10 – 15 years).
  • One or more driver requirements is not satisfied.
  • One or more vehicle requirements is not satisfied.
  • A local or state regulatory agency is holding up the approval.

These are just a few of the reasons Lyft or Uber applications stall. There are others. Over the years, Lyft and Uber have become more careful with their background checks and have made their approval processes more stringent. This is great overall, but it also means that getting approved often takes longer.

lyft and uber advice

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved For Uber or Lyft?

Getting approved to Drive With Lyft usually takes between six and eleven days. However, I’ve seen approvals happen in three days, and others have taken three or four weeks.

Getting approved to drive for Uber usually takes five to seven days. As with Lyft, it can often take weeks as well.

As you can see, there is a lot of variation when it comes to approval times. However, it’s important to keep in mind that, unless it’s been a couple of weeks, your application probably hasn’t stalled. The background check alone can take over a week. To check the status of your Uber background check, click here. The approval wait time mostly depends on how many people have signed up recently. The more sign ups, the longer the backlogs at the background check companies. So, after applying, don’t sweat it if you haven’t been approved after a week. Wait another week before taking the following steps.

What You Can Do To Get Your Stalled Uber Or Lyft Application Approved

Having your Lyft or Uber application stall on you can be very frustrating. Luckily, there’s a couple of things you can do to try and resolve the situation.

Contact Support

Your first step is to contact support and inquire on the status of your application. To contact Lyft, click here. To contact Uber support, click “account” in the driver app, and then “help”.

Your message should be polite, but specific. Something along the lines of:


I submitted my application a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to see if something in particular is holding up my approval. If there is, please let me know what the issue is and if there is anything I could do to help move the process along.

Best regards,
Your name

One of two things will happen. You’ll receive an email back eventually that A. tells you what the issue is and if you can help resolve it, or B. contains a canned, and probably unhelpful email response. If A happens, great. Hopefully, you received an answer that means your application will be approved soon. If B happens, you can try replying to the email and again asking very politely if they can tell you anything or if there’s any way you can help.

Visit A Hub

If the second attempts doesn’t work, your next step is to go to a Lyft Hub or an Uber Greenlight Hub, if there’s one near you. If you google “lyft hub your city”, you should get the closest Lyft Hub location and their phone number. They generally can’t help drivers over the phone, but you can always ask.

Odds are, there’s a Uber Greenlight Hub within an hour of you, as there are over 100 of them. Lyft hubs are currently only in about 20 cities. When you go to either Hub, bring any documentation you think you may need (insurance or licensing info, etc…). Explain your situation and politely ask if they can give you any information as to what’s holding your application up. Hopefully, the people at the hub can give you a bit more information. Sometimes, it’s as simple as getting them some additional documentation or information.

Taking these steps may not always work as Uber and Lyft support are limited as to what they can do. They will likely not be able to approve you on the spot, but they may be able let you know what is going on with your application, and may be able to let you know when you’ll be approved.

Driving Uber or Lyft part time

How To Make Money Driving Uber or Lyft Part-Time

How To Be A Successful Part Time Rideshare Driver

Driving for Uber or Lyft part-time can be a great way to make some extra money. In many markets, experienced part timers can earn between $22-$30 per hour, sometimes more. However, most of those drivers didn’t start out earning that much. In fact, most of them probably made under $20 per hour their first few weeks on the road.

I met one driver who’s online around 15 hours per week, and averages around $23 per hour. His first week though, he was around $15 an hour, and his second week was worse. It took him a couple of months to work out a system and schedule that worked for him, and let him reliably earn $20 per hour, or more.

Another common story I hear is about how a drivers rating is usually lower their first few weeks on the road. In general, many part-time rideshare drivers earn less in their first few weeks, and have a slightly lower rating than they have after a couple of months.

Given these common issues, I decided to compile some tips for new part-time Uber and Lyft drivers. Hopefully, these will help you hit the road with high earnings and high ratings. Also, if you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to check out the Lyft sign up bonus in your city.

Part Time Lyft & Uber Driving – Keys For Success

In order to hit the ground running as a part-time rideshare driver, it’s important to adopt a strategy. Your strategy will be dependent on how often, and during what hours you’re going to drive. If you simply plan on doing a few rides before or after work, your schedule and strategy are worked out for you. Start picking up rides when you leave work, and when you’re ready to go home, set the destination filter to your address. Before work, leave a couple of hours early, and set your destination towards your work address.

Know The Peak Days

However, if you plan on driving 10 or 20 hours a week, it’s important to pick the right hours and days. The busiest days during the week tend to be Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays. This holds true for almost every market. It doesn’t mean there’s no money to be made on Tuesday and Wednesday, but overall, they’re not as busy.

Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest and the most lucrative times in almost all markets. However, Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons are also great times to drive. Traffic is light and many of the Friday and Saturday night drivers have signed off. And, people go plenty of places on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Know The Peak Hours

In most markets, the best hours to drive during the week are between 5am and 9am, and then from 4pm to 8pm. However, these times vary a bit from city to city. Some places, the busiest afternoon hours are only from 5pm to 8pm. If you’re part-time, and you plan on driving during the week, these hours are when you’re likely to earn the most. However, in your town, the busiest afternoon hours may be 3pm – 7pm.

On weekends, driving rideshare is usually busy all day. Many people go to lunch on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. You’ll also get a lot of people going to and from church on Sunday. And of course, you’ll have a few rides of shame.

See Your Lyft Bonus


Take A Ride As A Passenger

If you haven’t already, take a ride in a Lyft or an Uber. So many people start driving without ever having used either service. Try it out and note what you did and didn’t like about the ride and the driver. It will give you insight into the passenger experience and likely help your ratings from the get go.

Get The Accessories You’ll Need Beforehand

You will need three accessories; a cigarette lighter/usb phone charger, a charger cable, and a phone mount. Recommendations for all of these can be found on our Essential Products page. That’s pretty much it. Get these before you start driving. Don’t be the rookie driver rolling around with the phone in their hand.

If you want to keep waters or snacks for passengers, it’s your call. I know some highly rated, high earning drivers who have stuff for passengers, and I know other highly rated, high earning drivers who don’t.

First Two Weeks Uber or Lyft Driving Strategy

Go into your first couple of weeks with a basic strategy.

  • Commit to drive a set number of hours.
  • Pick the times you’re going to drive.

Here’s a good sample strategy to start with if you’re planning to drive Uber or Lyft 15 hours a week.

Drive a five hour shift from 5am – 10am on a Monday, Tuesday, or Friday.
Drive a five hour shift from 3pm – 8pm on a Monday, Tuesday, or Friday.
Drive a five hour shift on Saturday or Sunday between 10am – 10pm.

Other resources that you may find helpful:

Adjust this to suit your schedule. If you want to do all evening rush hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, go for it. If you just want to drive on the weekends, do that. If you want to start at 6 or 7am instead, by all means.

If you can though, drive five hour shifts or longer. The main reason for this is that after a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to look at your earnings and see which hours are the most lucrative in your area. You can then use that info to adjust your driving schedule to earn more.

You may find that you earn more from 6am – 9am. If that’s the case, you may not want to keep driving until 10am. If you only want to drive ten hours, it’s better to start out doing two longer shifts than three short ones. The reason is that when you drive for more than a couple of hours, you sort of get into a zone, and your efficiency goes up.

After driving your schedule for two weeks, look over your earnings and determine when they were highest. Adjust your schedule for the third week so that you drive when you earned the most during the first two weeks. After the third week, look at your earnings again, and make more adjustments. After your fourth week, check your per hour earnings and compare them to your first week. Unless the first week was a holiday or something else that would skew the numbers, your fourth week per hour earnings should be higher.

If you haven’t signed up for a rideshare service, check out our Lyft sign up bonus page and Uber sign up bonus page to see what the bonus is in your city.


uber insurance

Rideshare Insurance Guide For Uber & Lyft Drivers

The 2018 Rideshare Insurance Guide For Uber And Lyft Drivers

At Rideshare Central, we get a lot of questions from drivers about rideshare insurance. “What is rideshare insurance?” is the most common question, followed closely by “Do I need Uber insurance?” We know you probably have other questions on this topic. So we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that answers the above questions, and many of the other questions Uber and Lyft drivers are asking about rideshare coverage.

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Frequently Asked Rideshare Insurance Questions

Don’t I already have coverage through the Lyft or Uber Insurance Policy?

Yes. Both The Lyft and Uber insurance policies provides $100,000 in contingent liability coverage when you are online waiting for a ride request (period 1). They both also provide $1 million in liability coverage and $50,000 in collision coverage if you have an accident while you are on your way to pick up a passenger (period 2), or while a passenger is in the vehicle (period 3).

However, in most markets, neither Uber or Lyft provide collision coverage during period 1. Even worse, your personal auto insurance policy will not provide collision coverage if you have an accident while online for Uber or Lyft. Here’s how this could be a problem for a rideshare driver.

Say a driver is online with Uber and waiting for a passenger request (period 1) and has an accident that was their fault. No one is injured, but the driver’s car is damaged. Uber will not pay to fix the driver’s car because the Uber insurance coverage doesn’t take effect until a ride request comes in. If the driver’s insurance company knows the driver was online with Uber when the accident happened, they won’t pay for the car repairs either. In this case, the driver will be on the hook for all the vehicle repairs. To add insult to injury, the driver’s insurance company may cancel the policy after finding out the policyholder was driving for Uber. That seems like a lot of trouble, which the driver could have avoided if they had rideshare insurance or an insurance policy with a rideshare endorsement.

What is rideshare insurance (aka Uber Insurance)?

Basic rideshare insurance provides liability and collision coverage when you are online and waiting for a passenger request. Essentially, it extends your personal auto insurance into period 1. Once you accept a ride, Lyft or Uber’s insurance takes over. This type of insurance is often called gap coverage. If the driver in the example I gave above had this type of coverage, their insurance company would pay for their vehicle repairs.

USAASafeco, FarmersMercury, American Family, and Travelers are some of the companies offering gap coverage.

Extended rideshare insurance includes gap coverage, but also extends parts or all of your personal auto policy into periods 2 and 3.

State Farm, Geico, Progressive, Erie, and Metlife are some companies that offer extended rideshare insurance.

Do I need rideshare insurance?

Yes. If you’re going to drive rideshare, and you want to be fully covered, you absolutely need to get rideshare insurance. Some of the most heartbreaking stories I’ve heard are about drivers who had an accident while waiting for a ride request. Their insurance would not cover the repairs and usually cancelled the policy.

The fact is that you can’t depend on either Lyft or Uber insurance during Period 1. But now that rideshare insurance is more widely available for a reasonable cost, it’s easy to avoid this type of terrible situation.

Do I have to get rideshare insurance if I Drive With Lyft or Uber?

No. Lyft and Uber only require that a driver have their name on a personal auto insurance policy that was written in the state where the driver will be working. However, it’s still a very good idea to purchase a rideshare insurance policy.

Lyft and Uber only require a personal insurance policy because they don’t want uninsured drivers on their platforms. However, while the coverage levels on the Lyft and Uber insurance policies are pretty high, a driver may still face out of pocket expenses in the event of an accident. Both companies tend to shift the expense of accidents over to drivers, in the form of high deductibles, and the lower coverage levels during period 1. That’s why it’s incumbent on drivers to look out for themselves and make sure they have proper and complete auto insurance coverage. Spending a little now can save a lot down the line.

Why is it important to have rideshare insurance?

Peace of mind. It’s a lot cheaper to pay a little extra now to avoid a very expensive headache later. Having proper insurance is key if you want to avoid unnecessary costs. If you have good rideshare coverage, your expenses in the event of an accident will likely be a lot lower.

For example, if the accident happens during period 1, instead of having to pay the full cost of repairing your vehicle, you’ll only be responsible for the deductible. If the accident isn’t your fault, you probably won’t even have to pay that.

Certain rideshare insurance policies also can help lower your out of pocket expenses if you have an accident during periods 2 and 3. Even though Uber and Lyft provide coverage once you accept a trip request, your out of pocket expenses in the event of an accident can still be thousands of dollars. For example, Uber has a $1,000 deductible and Lyft’s is an enormous $2,500. Some rideshare insurance policies can lower your deductible costs for accidents during periods 2 and 3, and even cover rental car expenses.

I tried to get rideshare insurance once, but it wasn’t available in my state. Have things changed?

The current rideshare insurance situation is a vast improvement from a couple of years ago. At that time, very few companies offered any rideshare insurance coverage, and coverage was only available in a few states. Even if you could find rideshare insurance, it was usually very expensive.Most Uber or Lyft drivers at that point were forced to buy commercial insurance if they wanted full coverage while rideshare driving.

In most states, there are far more insurance options for rideshare drivers now. In fact, most places have at least two rideshare insurance options for Uber and Lyft drivers, and many have four or more. Companies like Erie Insurance and Mercury were two of the earliest entries into the rideshare markets like Pennsylvania and Illinois. In the past year, the large national companies like Allstate, State Farm, USAA, and Farmers have all started offering rideshare policies around the country.

Can I get rideshare insurance in my state?

We’re glad you asked. Unless you live in North Carolina, the answer is yes. Rideshare insurance is now available pretty much everywhere else, If you live in Texas, California, Idaho, Georgia, Florida, or even Hawaii and Alaska, you have at least one option for rideshare insurance. Nationally, there are now at least 15 companies that offer some type of rideshare insurance policy.

Even in Massachusetts, which resisted allowing rideshare coverage for a long time, you can now purchase a rideshare policy through USAA.

In New York City, drivers must carry commercial insurance, usually purchased through an insurance broker. In New York state, rideshare coverage is available, but unnecessary. A recently passed state law mandates that Lyft and Uber insurance cover drivers during period 1 (waiting for a ride request).

To see who is offering rideshare insurance in your state, head on over to our 50 state rideshare insurance database.

We’ve heard from some drivers that some insurance agents do not seem to be aware that their company offers rideshare insurance. To help with this issue, we’ve begun adding recommended insurance agents to our rideshare insurance database. These agents are familiar with the rideshare policies their company offers. If you know of a great rideshare insurance agent, let us know.

What do rideshare insurance policies cover?

Rideshare policies differ by insurance carrier, but there are two main types of rideshare coverage:

Rideshare Insurance Type 1: Extended Coverage

Extended coverage offers coverage during period 1, but also extends your personal auto insurance policy into periods 2 and 3. For example, Lyft and Uber provide very good liability coverage during periods 2 and 3, but their collision coverage have very high deductibles. If you have an extended coverage policy, you will only be responsible for the deductible on your personal auto insurance policy. That alone can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Extended rideshare coverage differs from company to company. Some insurers offer a policy that provides coverage at all times, essentially replacing Uber and Lyft’s coverage entirely. Other companies offer a hybrid policy that adds to Uber and Lyft’s coverage. All extended insurance policies offer coverage during period 1.

Rideshare Insurance Type 2: Gap Coverage

Gap coverage extends your personal auto insurance into period 1, when you are waiting for ride requests. Essentially, this coverage fills the gap between your personal auto policy and when Lyft and Uber’s full coverage takes effect (period 2). This is the rideshare insurance option most drivers choose. It’s relatively inexpensive and offers coverage where Uber and Lyft’s coverage are weakest.

How much is rideshare insurance?

You can get gap coverage added to most policies for an extra $6 to $20 per month.

Extended coverage policies that offer protection during periods 2 or 3 generally cost more. While there is a lot of variability in the costs based on the amount of coverage you want, most extended rideshare insurance policies will cost $30 to $50 more per month. While this seems like a lot, these policies do provide the most coverage and protection in the event of an accident.

Does rideshare insurance cover both Uber and Lyft?

Almost all insurance companies offer rideshare insurance that covers both Uber and Lyft. Metlife is the only exception, as they only cover drivers when they are on the Lyft platform.

Most insurers only offer coverage for drivers on TNC platforms like Uber and Lyft. If you are driving for Amazon Flex, Instacart, DoorDash, Grubhub, or another non transportation network platform, be sure to check with the rideshare insurers in your state to see if they offer coverage. Don’t assume that if your rideshare insurance coverage is good for Lyft and Uber, that it’s good for every platform.

Do Uber and Lyft insurance provide enough coverage?

It depends how much coverage you want to have. In terms of liability coverage when you’re on the way to a passenger or have a passenger in the car, their coverage is pretty high – $1,000,000. However, it’s still lower than the liability coverage amounts on most commercial policies. Certain extended rideshare insurance policies offer a higher amount of coverage.

When you’re waiting for a ride request, Uber and Lyft’s liability coverage is pretty low – $100,000. Rideshare Central recommends at least $300,000 in liability coverage at all times. The reason is that if an accident results in high medical expenses, $100,000 is often not enough. Medical bills add up quickly and if it’s a bad accident where someone winds up in the hospital, the costs can easily exceed $100,000.

Final Take: Driving for Uber or Lyft without rideshare insurance makes no sense.

In 2018, rideshare insurance or an auto policy with a rideshare endorsement is usually a very inexpensive addition to your auto insurance costs. Usually, basic rideshare insurance only adds $6 to $20 a month to your auto insurance costs. Given that, it simply makes no sense to not have rideshare insurance.

Think about it. You can pay a few extra bucks a month, and be fully covered while driving for Lyft or Uber. Or, you can not get a rideshare insurance policy, and risk thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses that you could have avoided.

Seems like a pretty easy choice to me.

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Lyft and Uber driver mistake

The Number One Mistake New Uber & Lyft Drivers Make

It’s an understandable error. Who can resist making two or three times the normal fare? That’s the main reason new drivers chase the surge. I understand. It’s really hard to resist. You’ve just dropped off a passenger, and ten minutes away there’s a 2.4 surge. Perhaps you haven’t had a big surge ride that day. Perhaps you think you can make it to the surge zone in seven minutes and pick up a big fare to the suburbs. However, whatever your reasoning, you should resist the urge to chase the surge.

When I first started driving, surges (Uber) or prime time (Lyft) happened often and would last for ten to twenty minutes. During rush hour, surges could last for an hour or two, or longer. It was nice. Over the years though, both Uber and Lyft have added more drivers, so it doesn’t surge as often. Also, Lyft, and Uber especially, have caught flack for surges during emergencies or big storms. As a consequence, when it does surge, it doesn’t surge as high as it used to.

So, you have a situation where it doesn’t surge that often, and when it does, the surges are lower. This makes the times when it does surge even more attractive, but it’s fools gold. Most of the time, if you head towards that surge, it will either be gone, or much smaller by the time you get there. Instead of a 2.4, you’ll be looking at a 1.2 or a regular fare. Also, you burned unnecessary gas to get to the surge zone. Even worse, there’s no way to guarantee the length of the ride you’re going to get. Is it really worth it to pass up a regular fare ride for a surge ride going 1.2 miles? Of course not.

Now you can still make good money driving Lyft or Uber, but it’s important to drive smart. Don’t waste unnecessary gas chasing surges. Besides the fact that it doesn’t surge that often, and the surge doesn’t go as high as it used to, there’s another not to chase the surge. Believe it or not, most surges last less than five minutes. So, if you see red on the map, don’t rush over there. It’s the biggest rookie mistake you can make.

Surge looks appealing, but will usually be gone by the time you get there.

Uber surge map

The Exceptions: When it’s acceptable to chase the surge.

As they say, there’s an exception for every rule, or in this case, three.

  1. If you are right outside a surge zone, drive into the zone. By right outside, I mean you can get a few blocks into the surge zone in two minutes or less, safely.
  2. If there is a big concert, festival, sporting, or other large event letting out, and you can get there safely in ten minutes, go for it. Those surges tend to last a bit longer.
  3. If you live in a city where there’s generally traffic in only one direction during the morning rush, sometimes you can do a dropoff, and then head back to the surge area for another ride. This tends to be worth it only on Mondays or Fridays (surges tend to last longer during morning rush hours on those day), but it’s difficult to predict. Generally, this only works in cities where everyone is going downtown in the morning, and the area that surges is less than fifteen minutes away.

So, unless the situation falls under one of those exceptions, it almost never pays to chase the surge.