Home Rental Cars Why You Pay For Rental Car Extra Drivers & How To (Maybe) Not Pay It

Why You Pay For Rental Car Extra Drivers & How To (Maybe) Not Pay It

by SharonKurheg

You’ve gotten a sweet deal on a rental car (hopefully because you’ve read this article). You’ve figured out how much your toll charges are going to be, and you’re prepared because you know what you need to do about the insurance. You even know how to pay for your rental car by using your debit card. You get to the car rental desk and BOOM, you’re stuck with a daily fee so your spouse or friend can be an extra driver.

What’s up with that? And moreso, is there any way to avoid it? Funny you should ask…

First, why do they do it?

Why? For the same reason that luxury hotels charge for WiFi and cheap hotels don’t, and that hotels charge resort fees.

Because they can.

It’s just another way to eke a few (or more than a few) more dollars out of us.


Having to pay for another driver (or more than one driver) is a fee that’s sometimes overlooked when you’re planning the cost of a rental. It’s a hard cost to factor in though, since the rules change, not only from car rental company to car rental company, but even from state to state.

Here are the policies for additional drivers for the major car rental companies (including who doesn’t have to pay as an additional driver):

Alamo
Any additional driver (excluding a spouse or domestic partner) will pay a daily fee;
Renter’s spouse or domestic partner who meets the same age and driver’s license requirements of the renter are authorized drivers at no additional charge. Any additional authorized drivers must appear at the time of rental and meet age and driver’s license requirements. An additional charge of $15 per day for each additional authorized driver will be added to the cost of the rental, unless other contractual conditions apply. In New York state, the additional authorized driver charge is $5 per day.

A spouse or domestic partner is the only permitted additional driver on a rental secured with a debit card

Fees are also waived for the following:

  • Corporate Contracts in the United States are allowed the following additional drivers at no charge:
  • Commercial (corporate) rentals
  • The renter’s business partner
  • Employer or fellow associate, who has a signed corporate contract with Alamo and drives the car for business purposes and who meet normal renter requirements.

Avis

The fee is $13 per day per additional driver in most U.S. states. The maximum additional driver fee for a rental period is $65 per additional driver.

In New York, the additional driver fee is $3 a day for each additional driver.

In Nevada, the fee is $11 per day per driver, with a maximum charge of $65 per rental.

There are no additional driver fees in California.

Some additional drivers are always exempt from extra fees, as long as they meet the basic requirements for an Avis renter: they must have a valid license and be at least 25 years old.

A spouse or life partner can drive a rental car without an additional fee as long as they have a valid driver’s license and are 25 or older.

Bosses or fellow employees can drive a rental car as an additional driver without a fee, as long as they are on a business trip and have a current driver’s license. All drivers should be at least 25 years old.

If the renter on the agreement cannot operate a rental car because of a disability, an additional driver can drive the vehicle without paying the additional driver fee. The primary renter must fill out a non-licensed renter form, and the driver needs to present their license and be at least 25.

The additional driver fee does apply to friends and extended family members who want to drive the rental car as an additional driver. These drivers must fill out the additional driver form and must be 25 years old or older. After filling out the form, they must present a valid driver’s license at the rental counter.

Budget

In most U.S. states, the fee for additional drivers is $13 per day per driver. The maximum charge for each additional driver is $65 per rental.

In California, there are no additional driver fees.

In New York, the additional driver fee is $3 per day.

In Nevada, the additional driver fee varies from $11 per day to $13.75 per day for each additional driver.

Pre-authorized drivers listed above are exempt from these fees.

Dollar
Their page about charges for additional drivers is pretty lacking, frankly.

Enterprise

Any additional driver (excluding a spouse or domestic partner) will pay a daily fee. Renter’s spouse or domestic partner who meet the same age and driver’s license requirements of the renter are authorized drivers at no additional charge. Any additional authorized drivers must appear at time of rental and meet age and driver’s license requirements.

An additional charge of $15.00 per day for each additional authorized driver will be added to the cost of the rental, unless other contractual conditions apply.  In New York state, the additional authorized driver charge is $5 per day.

A spouse or domestic partner is the only permitted additional driver on a rental secured with a debit card

Fees are also waived for the following:

  • Corporate Contracts in the United States are allowed the following additional drivers at no charge:
  • Commercial (corporate) rentals
  • The renter’s business partner
  • Employer or fellow associate

Fox
Charges for additional drivers vary from city to city. There is no charge:
(1) at California locations
(2) for the renter’s spouse, same-sex spouse, or domestic partner, or for the companion driver of a renter with a disability who cannot operate the vehicle.
Furthermore, additional drivers are not available on cash rentals or debit card transactions.

Hertz
Additional Driver is a per day, per person charge. (gee thanks, Hertz. You’re as good as Dollar with your lack of information). Sounds like you’re the same parent company or something…

National

Any additional driver (excluding a spouse or domestic partner) will pay a daily fee. Renter’s spouse or domestic partner who meet the same age and driver’s license requirements of the renter are authorized drivers at no additional charge.  Any additional authorized drivers must appear at time of rental and meet age and driver’s license requirements.  An additional charge of $15 per day for each additional authorized driver will be added to the cost of the rental, unless other contractual conditions apply. In New York state, the additional authorized driver charge is $5 per day.

A spouse or domestic partner is the only permitted additional driver on a rental secured with a debit card.

Fees are also waived for the following:

  • Rentals by Emerald Club members when the member’s spouse, common law spouse, or same-sex domestic partner has the same address on the driver’s license as the Emerald Club member and meets normal renter requirements.
  • Rentals by Emerald Club members when the member’s immediate family member (mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister) has the same address on the driver’s license as the Emerald Club member and meets normal renter requirements.
  • Commercial (corporate) rentals when the renter’s business partner, employer or fellow associate, who has an assigned corporate contract with National and drives the car for business purposes and meet normal renter requirements.
  • Rentals for/by disabled renters who cannot drive (one additional driver fee will be waived)

All other additional authorized driver situations are subject to a daily charge.

Sixt
Yes, we allow for up to 9 additional drivers per booking. The additional driver (s) will need to have their license verified at the SIXT branch when the vehicles is picked up or at some point during the rental contract. However, when picking up your rental car in the state of California, the additional driver fee is waived. If you have Gold, Platinum or Diamond status with SIXT, you can add one additional driver free of charge (US residents only).

Here are the states that have laws on the books that specify charges for additional drivers:

California: According to the law, there are no additional driver fees in California, and it doesn’t matter if the additional driver is a spouse or someone unrelated to you.

Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin: They all allow the main driver’s spouse to be an automatic authorized additional driver without a fee.

New York: According to NY State law, the additional driver fee is capped at $5 per day.

Nevada: Also has a fee cap for additional drivers, but it’s adjusted each year based on inflation.

Finally, if you have specific memberships, you may not have to pay for additional driver(s):

AAA: Members get a free additional driver at Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty (primary and additional drivers most both/all have AAA membership, which can include family membership for spouses and domestic partners of AAA members).

AARP: Members get a free additional driver at Budget.

Costco: Costco Travel rental car reservations include one free additional driver at U.S. locations with Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise. At Canada locations, reservations include one free additional driver with Alamo and Enterprise only.

BJ’s: Members get a free additional driver at Alamo.

USAA: Members get a free additional driver at participating locations in the U.S.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

15 comments

Christian February 26, 2019 - 4:32 pm

Super valuable information. Thanks.

Reply
Gene February 26, 2019 - 7:36 pm

You didn’t answer the important question — what happens if you don’t pay the fee? I’ve never understood when there would be consequences, and I would never pay this ripoff fee.

Reply
SharonKurheg February 26, 2019 - 7:38 pm

Hmmm. TBH, I don’t know how you couldn’t pay the fee, since it would be a part of your bill, same as the taxes. You could ask/tell them to take it off and they could say no and then what? 😉

Reply
Gene February 26, 2019 - 8:14 pm

Easy, just don’t tell them there are other drivers.

Reply
SharonKurheg February 26, 2019 - 9:09 pm

Yeah but if you get into an accident and it’s the non-discloses driver, you’re talking about a whole lot of trouble.

Reply
David Shaheen February 3, 2020 - 3:58 pm

What about exemptions for mental health where the driver has mental health issues and needs someone to take over. I thought my wife was told that at one rental place.

Reply
SharonKurheg February 3, 2020 - 5:21 pm

It’s an interesting question and one that I don’t have the answer to (I did Google to see what I could find. I found nothing). I suspect the rpolicy would be different from car rental company to car rental company, so it would probably be best to ask whichever place one is renting from, preferably before they arrive at the rental desk.

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martin henner March 7, 2020 - 7:04 pm

better check the benefits of Thrifty Blue Chip membership

Reply
SharonKurheg March 7, 2020 - 8:45 pm

I’ll do that. Thank-you.

Reply
jerry March 7, 2020 - 8:35 pm

I believe that Pennsylvania does not allow a fee for your spouse.

Reply
SharonKurheg March 7, 2020 - 8:45 pm

Thanks for the heads up. I’ll do some research and make the addition as needed

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Scott March 8, 2020 - 3:19 pm

To get the AAA extra driver benefit, do you have to book the rental through AAA?

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SharonKurheg March 8, 2020 - 3:21 pm

I’m not 100% sure, sorry. Probably something you could ask their rental car company, though 🙂

Reply
SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT March 8, 2020 - 4:39 pm

As far as the AAA discount with you DO NOT have to book with your local AAA club to have the additional driver fee waived. Any authorized travel agency and/or booking with Hertz direct.

The key here is that gou need to use the correct CDP discount for your club. In my case, The Automobile Club of Southern California, the CDP code is: 004. You can combine/stack most coupons with the AAA CDP number.

I book with Hertz direct almost all the time, and add my adult child at the counter without any extra fees/charges. Plus, she’s under 25 – no extra underage driver fees either!

SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT

Reply
HockeyCoachBen February 14, 2022 - 10:49 pm

You neglected to mention the free additional driver(s) benefit for certain members of National’s Emerald Club!?!?

Reply

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