Car rental additional driver fees
When renting a car, there may be reasons that you would want to add an additional driver. This might be to allow your spouse, partner or friend to share the driving, or adding someone in the event of an emergency and you’re unable to drive.
However, there is usually a surcharge commonly referred to as
Additional Driver Fees for adding another driver, and they need to meet certain requirements, like having a valid driver's licence and being of a certain age.
So it's important to check the rental company's policy before adding someone.
Note that the terminology can vary from country to country, and you might find the charge in the US referred to as
Additional Authorized Operators Fees or something similar.
What are additional driver fees?
Are additional driver necessary, or is it just another way for car rental companies to make more money?
When it comes to renting a car, there is often more to consider than just the cost of the vehicle. Behind the scenes is the preparation of the vehicle, but there is also the administrative side which, besides the cost to the rental company for having and maintaining a reservation system, payment processing, customer service, etc., would need to include the costs of adding extra drivers.
Admin costs and increased risk
ID, driver’s licence and age checks would need to be carried out, and each additional driver would need to be added rental agreement and to the insurance coverage for the rental.
Whilst those checks might only represent a one-time process, some might argue that the reason additional driver fees are charged
per day is because of the additional risk that adding more drivers brings. Whether the addition of another driver really does add more risk compared to a single driver being on the rental agreement, the additional insurance costs need to be passed on.
The point to is that the option is there to add another driver, and that usually comes at a cost.
Is there always an additional charge?
Whilst adding a additional drivers to a rental usually comes with a surcharge, there are ways to add another driver for free, provided that certain criteria is met.
For example, by joining Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, you can add your spouse or civil partner as a free additional driver. Sixt and some other rental companies also allow free additional drivers to be added at a benefit of joining their loyalty schemes.
So it’s worth checking the list of benefits which rental companies offer with their loyal schemes, because they can save you both time and money.
How much does it cost to add another driver?
Costs to add a second driver vary from company to company, and are often charged at a
per day rate.
There are variations from country to country too, but using UK rentals as an example with some of the major car rental brands, you could expect to pay anything from £12 to £18+ per day.
Some rental companies cap the maximum charge for longer rentals, which could mean that although you might be renting the vehicle for 14 days, the maximum charged may be capped at 10 days.
Again, check the terms for your chosen car rental company.
How do you add another driver?
Some rentals companies provide the ability to add one or more additional drivers online whilst making the reservation, whilst others allow additional drivers to be added at the rental location at time of pickup.
Those companies which allow additional drivers to be added and even paid for online will display the cost of adding a driver based on the rental length, whereas on some other car rental websites you might need to dig around in the terms and conditions to find out what the cost would be.
In all cases their drivers licence would need to be checked at the rental location, and if their age falls into the age range which is subject to young driver surcharges, that could also increase the cost of the rental, and may even impact the rental car you are able to drive.