How Does Car Rental Additional Driver Work?

Can Someone Else Drive My Rental Car – Enterprise, Hertz, Budget, National?

Adding extra drivers to a rented vehicle is really a piece of cake although you’d have to wiggle through some legal restrictions and company policies.

The legal parameters for additional drivers are explored below.

Young females in a gaming center

Driving Rental Car By Different Person – General Legal Perspective

Rental companies permit their clients to include additional identified drivers in a hire.

In the United States, letting an unauthorized person drive your rental car is a violation of the rental agreement and a subsequent breach of its terms, from a legal perspective.

The reason is that the additional driver was not included in the rental agreement – and not what you pay for. In the eyes of the law, an unauthorized driver being behind the wheel is tantamount to car theft.

Depending on the other road users’ insurance coverage, you may be held liable for any damage to the rental car as the legal renter.

Your written agreement is with the car rental agency, not your “friend.” Besides, you risk being blacklisted by the rental company, which is certainly not worth it.

Female driver shows a card

Are There Penalty For Unauthorized Driver of Rental Car?

The costs and terms of adding another driver to the rental agreement vary by company. Here are some of the policies of top car rental companies in the U.S. concerning additional drivers.

  • Alamo

The daily charge for additional drivers using Alamo’s fleet stands at $15 nationwide except New York, which is $5. A renter’s spouse or partner will be exempted from these charges, but like all additional drivers, must fulfill two conditions:

  • Meet the same age requirement.
  • Have a valid driver’s license.

Any extra driver seeking permission to drive a rental car must show up at the time of rental.

Failure to comply with these terms may mean that the renter would be unsuccessful in adding another driver to the rental contract.

  • Avis

Avis allows renters to add a maximum of two drivers to their contract, both being at least 25 years old and possessing a valid driver’s license.

Partners, spouses, and family members (as well as employers and employees, provided it’s a business trip) are exempted from the $13 daily fee. It is worth noting that this price varies across U.S. states.

Rent a car signage

  • Budget

Budget categorizes additional drivers with pre-authorization into three: spouse or partner of the renter, employer or employee of the renter, and companion driver for a renter with a disability. 

All three are exempted from the usual fee allotted to additional drivers. Additional drivers are deemed “qualified” by being at least 25 years old and having a clean driving record, among other things.

These terms must be complied with as driving without fulfilling them would be tantamount to stealing.

  • Enterprise

Additional drivers are subject to a daily charge of $15 in other states and $5 in New York. They are also subject to other contractual conditions such as meeting the age requirement and presenting a valid driver’s license.

Spouses and partners of the renter are exempted from paying this fee. These contractual terms are to be adhered to as a violation would mean giving the company the carte blanche to put you on their “Do Not Rent” list.

Company rent a car sign post

  • Hertz

To add an additional driver to a Hertz rental agreement, one must fulfill specific terms and conditions. One of such is to present a valid driver’s license at the same location.

The other is to meet the same age requirement. Hertz also limits the number of additional drivers to that of available passenger seats in the rented car.

  • National

National requires additional drivers to pay a daily fee of $15 except spouses, immediate family members, business associates, and driving companions of the renter.

In line with this, they must also meet other terms and conditions, such as being of rental driving age (25 years) and possessing a valid driver’s license. Penalties for violation of terms include blacklisting and civil suits.

Below is a tabular representation of top rental car companies and their respective rates for additional drivers.

Rental Company Additional Driver Fee
Alamo $10 daily (New York, $5)
Avis $13 daily 
Budget $13 daily ($65 maximum fee)
Enterprise $15 daily ($5 in New York)
Hertz $13.50 daily ($189 maximum)
National $12 daily

Does My Insurance Cover Additional Driver On Rental Car?

Additional drivers would each have full insurance coverage once they are included in the rental contract, indicating that they have the right to operate the vehicle.

However, it is essential to note that your car insurance covers you and you alone.

Thus, a driver not included in the rental policy would not be shielded by your insurance as he was not authorized to operate the vehicle in the first place.

What Happen In Case Accident Occurred?

In the case of an accident involving an additional driver behind the wheel, you as the legal renter will be personally liable for all damage repair costs, even if you paid for insurance through the rental car company.

Lady driving alone

FAQ:

What minimum age is required for Enterprise additional driver?

Except in New York and Michigan, where the minimum age to rent a vehicle is 18, you must be at least 21 years old to rent or be an additional driver with Enterprise. 

Can additional driver return rental car and why?

Yes, additional drivers can return a rental car, even earlier return is allowed. While they may not be the actual renter, their names are included in the contract, so they could legally return the rental car.

In reality, anyone can return a rented vehicle as long as there is no damage. The only thing that matters is that the rental company got their car back.

Is Hertz additional driver policy really strict?

Cost-wise, certainly. Hertz charges the highest daily fee and a high limit of $189 for additional drivers! Before the fee reduces, you’d need to rent a car for 14 days.

Other than that, adding an extra driver to your rental shouldn’t be difficult as long as they meet Hertz’s requirements.

Back view of couple in a car

Alamo Vs Budget additional driver terms

The terms of both rental companies concerning additional drivers are similar.

Both companies pre-authorize spouses, immediate family members, and employer/employee of the renter as additional drivers, provided they meet the usual age requirement and present a valid driver’s license.

Budget only allows two additional drivers outside these categories.

The major difference is in price as Budget charges a daily fee of $13, with a maximum of $65 per rental for additional drivers, whereas Alamo charges $15.

Can I always avoid car rental additional driver fees?

It is indeed possible to avoid additional driver fees. Begin by checking the state legislation. California forbids any additional driver fee, and states like Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New York, and Texas make it illegal to charge more for a spouse.

Furthermore, check the company policies, as most car rental companies have policies that exclude specific categories of additional drivers from payment.

These categories include the renter’s spouse, family member, employer/employee, and disability driver.

Conclusion

Although adding an extra driver to a rented car is not illegal, adding an unauthorized one is.

Consider all the options above before adding an extra driver to drive your rented car to save money, avoid legal trouble, and still get the coverage you need.

Senior couple driving a vintage car