Understanding and avoiding rental car additional driver fees
One seemingly inescapable part of renting a car — regardless of whether it’s for business or pleasure — is paying fees. Whether it’s an additional charge for being a young driver or for insurance protection beyond standard coverage, many car rental companies tack on extra fees. Being aware of these fees — and how to avoid them — is one of the most important things to know before renting a car.
If you’re renting a car for a group, there’s a good chance your rental company will charge a fee for adding a second driver to the booking. Most rental car companies add this as a daily charge, although the amount varies by company. It may seem unfair, but rental companies have a good reason to charge for every additional driver behind the wheel.
Let’s walk through why this fee is added and potential ways to avoid it — including booking through a car sharing company like Avail.
Why are rental car additional driver fees charged?
Car rental companies don’t just charge the additional driver fee because they can, even though it might feel that way. Like a young driver fee, the extra charge offsets potential risk and insurance costs associated with multiple drivers. The car company takes on more risk if more than one person drives the vehicle. In their mind, additional drivers increase the chances of an accident.
How much you pay for the extra driver(s) on your rental varies based on the rental car company and location. Most rental companies require you to fill out additional driver forms and have a cap on the number of drivers you can include. In addition, nearly all of them require the extra drivers to be present at pick-up. There’s no option that allows renting a car for someone else without that person at the counter, too.
If you know you’ll need to add drivers, the following table details the fees you can expect to pay in most states (We’ll touch on exceptions in a minute).
Are there exceptions to the additional driver fees?
Of course, the extra driver fees aren’t always cut and dry. Certain states, like New York, cap the fee at $5 per day. Others, like California, allow car rental companies to charge for additional drivers who aren’t the renter’s parent, spouse, co-worker, child, sibling or grandparent. Nevada allows companies to charge for extra renters, but they cap the fee and adjust it each year to account for inflation. And if you rent a car in one of the following states, the main driver’s spouse can automatically be added as an authorized driver without a fee:
In addition to offering fee-free additional driver privileges to spouses, many car companies waive the fees for corporate or commercial rentals. Rewards members at most of the major car rental companies enjoy having additional driver fees waived, too.
Ultimately, the best way to know if the additional driver exception applies to your rental vehicle is to contact your car rental company’s specific location and ask in advance.
How can I add a driver to a rental car for free?
Options exist if you want to add a second driver to your rental car for free. We’ve already shared that spouses and corporate rentals may have those fees waived, but there’s another option as well. You may want to explore car sharing vs rental, primarily through a company like Avail.
Avail is different from traditional car rental companies, especially when it comes to fees. While Avail requires licensed drivers to be age 21 or older, we don’t charge an extra fee to add a second driver. We also don’t make you pay extra for young drivers, either.
If you’re searching for an affordable vehicle for your vacation or business trip in Chicago or Denver, Avail has highly competitive rates — especially when you consider the waived fees that other companies add at checkout.
Avoiding a rental car additional driver fee
While additional driver fees have their place when it comes to helping car rental companies avoid risk, there are still plenty of ways for renters to get around them. Avail’s car rental requirements make it easy for friends or spouses to drive without extra driver fees.
Using Avail’s numerous car sharing locations in Denver or Chicago can save you time and money, especially if you’re worried about fees. With plenty of great available vehicles, a generous daily mileage limit, 24/7 roadside assistance and insurance coverage from Allstate available for every trip, Avail is a convenient alternative to traditional car rental companies that won’t break your vacation budget.
Rental car additional driver frequently asked questions
Is a spouse considered an additional driver?
Many rental agencies consider a spouse to be an additional driver for the rental agreement and allow you to list a spouse or domestic partner as a second driver for no additional cost.
How many additional drivers can you add on a rental car?
The number of additional drivers you can add to a rental car depends on the specific policies of that rental company. While some companies may allow you to add multiple drivers to the rental, each one might require an additional daily fee, which will vary by location and company. Check with your specific rental agency for details.
Who doesn’t charge for additional rental car drivers?
Many companies do not charge for additional drivers who meet specific qualifications, such as spouses, business partners or co-workers for renters with corporate accounts. That said, Avail doesn’t charge a fee for an additional driver, no matter their relation to the primary driver.
Borrow & share
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