Penalty For Unauthorized Driver of Rental Car

Taking a rental car makes your trip easy, smooth, and budget-friendly. But do you know there are rules about who can drive it? If you let someone who is not listed on the rental agreement drive the car, there could be serious consequences. Let’s talk about the penalty for unauthorized driver of rental cars in this article.


Who Can Drive a Rental Car?

When you rent a car, you usually have to list all the drivers who will be able to drive the car rental. These are the people allowed to drive the car according to the rental agreement. these people are called additional drivers. The person who is renting the car gives the name to add in the car rental agreement to add as additional drivers. It is important to stick to this list because letting someone else drive could lead to trouble as that person will be considered an unauthorised driver.


The Additional Driver Fee In the US

The Additional Driver Fee in car rental is an extra charge you pay if you want to add another person as a driver for the rental car besides yourself. Rental companies often charge this fee per day for each additional driver you add to the rental agreement. It is important to note that not all rental companies have this fee, and the amount can vary between companies. This fee covers the additional risk and liability of having more than one person driving the rental car during the rental period.


General Additional Driver Fee in Top Companies

  • Alamo- $10 daily (New York, $5)
  • Avis- $13 daily 
  • Budget- $13 daily ($65 maximum fee)
  • Enterprise- $15 daily ($5 in New York)
  • Hertz- $13.50 daily ($189 maximum)
  • National- $12 daily

Terms & Conditions Regarding Unauthorized Drivers

Rental companies do not let just anyone drive their cars to keep them safe. They have rules to make sure only experienced and responsible drivers use their vehicles. This helps prevent accidents and follows legal requirements. When you rent a car, you agree to only let approved drivers use it. If you break this rule, you could face penalties.


The Penalty For Unauthorized Driver of Rental Car

If you let someone who is not authorized by the rental agreement drive the car and they get into an accident, you might have to pay extra fees. These fees can be expensive and could make you pay a big amount from your wallet. Also, you might have to deal with legal issues too.

  • When you rent a car, you can’t let anyone else drive it without permission, or you will have to pay a lot of money, starting at $50 per day and up to $400.
  • You might have to pay for damages from accidents, medical bills, and extra fees.
  • The penalties vary but can include fines or cancelling your rental agreement.
  • If you keep doing it, you might not be able to rent from that company in the future.
  • It is important to follow the rules and only let approved drivers use the car to avoid these problems.


Types of Penalties

Fines: You might have to pay a fine if caught driving a rental car without permission. The fine amount depends on where you are and how long you have been driving the rental car. If you do it again within a short time, the fine might be higher.

Criminal Charges: In some places, using a rental car without permission is a crime. If you are charged with this crime, you could go to jail or have other punishments like community service.

Jail Time: If you are found guilty in many states, you might spend up to three months in jail or pay a big fine.

Driver’s License Suspension: Your driver’s license might be taken away if you do something really bad while driving, like breaking important rules or causing a big accident. This means you can’t drive anymore until they decide to give it back to you.


Police Involvement in Car Rental Accident Cases

When an unauthorized driver meets with an accident, not the rental contract, but the police report decides who is criminal in that accident. Even if the unauthorized driver caused the accident, you could still be held responsible by the rental company. So, think carefully before letting someone who is not an additional driver drive the rental car.


Insurance Related Problems

If an unauthorized driver gets into an accident, the rental company might not cover the damages. That means you could be responsible for paying for repairs from your pocket. Your car insurance might not cover accidents or damages if an unauthorized driver drives your rental car. Your insurance usually only covers specific drivers called additional drivers listed in the policy. It is important to understand this before renting a car from a car rental company. Check your insurance policy to see what it covers. If necessary, you can buy more insurance from the rental company to protect yourself in case of an unauthorized driver.


If the Unauthorized Driver Meets an Accident

If someone is not allowed to drive the rental car and there’s an accident, you’re responsible. When you rent a car, you agree to pay for any damages or accidents. So, if you allow an unauthorized driver to drive your car rental and there is an accident, you have to pay for the damages or injuries.


Is There Insurance Coverage for An Unauthorized Driver?

When you add someone to the rental contract, they get full insurance coverage. But remember, your car insurance only covers you, not others. If someone who is not on the rental contract drives the car, they are not covered by your insurance because they weren’t allowed to drive. This means your insurance might not protect your unauthorized drivers.

Check your car insurance policy to see if it covers them. Some policies do, but not all. Understand your policy to avoid unexpected situations, like if an unauthorized driver causes an accident. If your insurance does not cover them, consider getting extra insurance from the rental company or exploring other insurance options.


Check Out Your Regular Car Insurance

When you rent a car, the car rental company might offer insurance, but it could cost extra and might not be necessary. Your regular car insurance might already cover rental cars, so you might not need the rental company’s insurance. Before deciding, check your car insurance policy to see if it covers rental cars and accidents with unauthorized drivers. If it does, you can avoid the rental company’s insurance to save you money.


Insurance Limitations & Restrictions

Check your car insurance if it has some restrictions that might create problems for you in the future, such as not covering rental cars for business or exotic cars. Read your policy carefully to understand what is covered or what is not. If you often rent cars for business or exotic cars, consider getting special insurance. Being smart and doing things in advance keeps you safe. Also, check the services for unauthorized drivers of rental cars whether the insurance policy covers them or not. 


Insurance Coverage

If there is an accident with an unauthorized driver, your insurance can cover it if you have that special insurance policy. This type of insurance might be costlier than the regular one. Also, you might have to pay for damages beyond what your insurance covers. Before renting a car, review your insurance policy to understand what type of coverage you get in case of an accident.


How Do Companies Know About Unauthorized Drivers?

Penalty For Unauthorized Driver of Rental Car

Car Sharing: When you rent a car using your own license plate number and credit card. It helps you use your insurance and save money. But if you do this without permission, you could get in trouble as an unauthorized driver.

Checking Driver’s License: The rental company can check if your driver’s license matches their list of approved drivers. If it does not match, they will know you are not authorized to drive the car.

Checking with DMV: The rental company might also check with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). They can check if your license is valid and not suspended or taken away for breaking driving laws.


Avoiding the Penalty

The simplest solution to avoid such penalties is to follow all the care rental agreement rules with honesty. Only allow the additional drivers to drive your car rental not to any unauthorized. If someone else needs to drive, you must add them to the agreement at the time of renting a car. It might cost a bit extra, but it is better than dealing with penalties later.

Also, to avoid penalty fees, do not get the rental company’s insurance. Use your car insurance. It might help cover costs if someone drives the rental car without permission.



So, while driving a rental car, you must follow the rules that are mentioned in the car rental agreement. Don’t let anyone drive the car unless they are listed on the rental agreement. This will help you to avoid penalties, save you money, and stay stress-free throughout your trip or journey.


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