Uber, squeezed by insurance, increases minimum age for new drivers in California

Uber has raised the minimum age requirement for new rides-hailing drivers in California to 25 years old due to what it described as "baselessly higher" commercial insurance costs in the state.

The new policy will only apply to new drivers planning to use the rideshare platform. Those who plan to use the app to make deliveries through Uber Eats only need to be 19 years old. Any driver on the rideshare platform, who is already approved and under 25 years old can continue to shuttle passengers, the company said.

"California's insurance coverage requirements for rideshare are baselessly higher than nearly every other car on the road: up to thirty times that of taxis and thirty times that of personal vehicles," an Uber spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "As a result of these lopsided requirements, personal injury attorneys have created a cottage industry specializing in suing rideshare platforms like ours, pushing Uber's California state-mandated commercial insurance costs to rise by more than 65% in just two years. By increasing the age requirement for new drivers to 25, we hope to mitigate the growth of those costs. We hope to work with lawmakers, policy leaders, and industry experts to discuss legislative and regulatory changes that will improve the experience for all California drivers."

Uber has said that California regulations for insuring commercial rideshare has pushed costs 10 times higher than those required for taxis in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Uber has differentiated itself from rival Lyft by maintaining a lower minimum driving age the past few years — a strategy that widened its pool of available drivers. In 2020, Lyft pushed its a minimum driving age to 25 years old in every U.S. state except for New York, where it is still 19. Uber's minimum age for drivers shuttling people is 21 years old in the rest of the United States.