Why Charge for a Second Driver
on my Car Rental?

Jackie asks:

Why do companies charge for a second driver? If our personal car insurance covers any damage to the rental as long as we are both covered by our insurance, why should we have to pay for an additional driver?

My Response:

Even if your personal car insurance covers you both while driving in your own vehicle, it will not cover both of you in a rental car, unless both of you are legally entitled to drive 

the vehicle -- both  drivers must  authorized by the car rental provider that you 
decide to rent from.

It is important to follow the rules, regulations and terms and conditions of your rental in order to validate any coverage you may personally have
, either with your own insurance company, credit card coverage, or coverage purchased from the rental provider.

We have a lot of information on our site about various policies, procedures and guidelines for major rental car companies.

Read more about

Personal Auto Insurance Coverage for Car Rental

Car Rental CDW and LDW Coverages

Car Rental Credit Card Coverages

Added Driver Charges

Unfortunately, most of the time, the authorization of an additional driver, also comes hand-in-hand with a charge for a second driver. (Some car rental companies do not charge an additional driver fee for a spouse, life partner, common-law spouse or a fellow employee (when on a business rental). Some companies charge for any extra driver, other than the renter.

There are two schools of thought on WHY the car rental companies charge for a second driver.

1) Because they can. Many people feel that there is no actual reason for the extra charge; it's just a way for the car rental company to make more money. See this article, for example: 5 New Car Rental Fees to Avoid, by Christopher Elliott

2) The extra additional driver fee is a way for the car rental companies to recoup the costs associated with having multiple drivers on their cars. Most rental companies, in most places, provide basic public liability and property damage coverage for its vehicles and their renters and authorized drivers if required by applicable law. (California and Texas are common exceptions; check with your local rental car provider). Sometimes this only applies if you do not carry your own personal automobile insurance coverage.

Read more about: Car Rental Liability Insurance

I searched for the answer to your charge for a second driver question, with several car rental companies. I did get a response from Rob White, who is the Marketing Manager for Avis UK, and a moderator for the Avis We Try Harder blog.

Here is my question and his response:


July 22nd, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I was wondering exactly why Avis charges for an additional driver other than a spouse or life partner in the US. I’ve heard that is has something to do with liability insurance. As the renter, I’m fully responsible for any damage caused to the car, whether I’m driving it or not. I can understand that all additional drivers need to be authorized and listed on my contract… but why the extra charge for a second driver? Thanks!

Rob White- Marketing Manager, Avis UK

July 23rd, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Hi Paula, one reason is, as you mention, because of the additional risk with multiple drivers, which has the potential for more driver miles and higher risk of incident. This is similar to other motor insurance policies where additional drivers can increase the premium.

    Also the charge covers the administration involved in validating more than one license and listing on the contract.


*Note: Car rental companies can modify policy at any time; I make every attempt to maintain up-to-date info, but always check with an individual company to verify any policy. See: Disclaimer

Pages from this site, relating to this topic:

Car Rental Policies Index

Additional Drivers Overview

Company Specific Additional Driver Policy

Rental Car Insurance Overview

Have a Car Rental Question? ... Ask Here!

See what others are asking about Car Rental Policies:

Return to Car Rental FAQs

Return to Home