How To Add An Additional Driver To Your Car Rental Contract

A road trip can be a wonderful way to discover a country in-depth, taking you to places you wouldn't normally visit and letting you explore at your own pace. But, the thought of being the sole driver on a long journey can be daunting, and it's good sense to have someone to share the driving with. Luckily, it's usually not difficult to add an additional driver to a car rental contract, and we're going to explain how to do it. So buckle up and let's start your journey to hassle-free car rental.  

First, what's the difference between the main driver and an additional driver? The main driver signs the contract and is legally responsible for the rental car. The additional driver is simply an add-on, so they get all the fun without the responsibility. In many cases, you can add up to three additional drivers (usually the number of adults a vehicle can seat). You'll have plenty of people to share the load with, to help decipher the inexplicably complex navigation system, and to blame when you curb the car while driving on the left for the first time.

Now to the logistics

Here's how to add an additional driver with Hertz, Alamo, and other major rental car companies. With most companies, additional drivers have to meet the same requirements as the main driver to be added to the contract. Often, this means being over 21 years of age and having held a license for at least two years, though terms and conditions vary. How you add an additional driver also varies; some rental car companies allow you to do it when you book, and with others, you should add the driver at the counter. 

The additional driver will need to present their I.D. and driver's license at the rental car counter when you pick up the vehicle. Many rental car companies allow you to add an additional driver during your rental period, including Hertz and Alamo. However, the driver will still need to present their license and I.D. to the rental car company, so it's more convenient to plan in advance.

Fees for additional drivers

Good news! Several major rental car companies allow you to add a spouse or domestic partner as an additional driver for free if they meet the requirements. This is true of Enterprise, Alamo, and Avis. Others, like Dollar and Hertz, charge no fee for domestic partners and spouses if the main driver belongs to the company's loyalty program. Certain states allow a renter's domestic partner or spouse to be added automatically as an authorized driver without a fee, including New York and Oregon. Always check local laws before you go to the counter. 

If you're road-tripping with a buddy, you're probably going to need to pay a fee. But, tap the brakes before you whip out your credit card: If you're a member of organizations like Costco or AAA, you might be able to add drivers to your rental car contract with some companies for free. Otherwise, rental car companies are pretty transparent about fees on their websites. Currently, Enterprise charges $15 per day per additional driver; Avis tops out at $13 per day in most states; and Hertz charges a whopping $30 per day for an additional driver in most places. Shop around! 

If you're going abroad, you can usually add additional drivers, too. Fees vary, but for example, Budget and Avis in the U.K. both charge £12.99 per day for the first ten days. The booking site AutoEurope posts deals for free additional drivers around the world, making it a great place to start searching.