A long road trip is much easier when you’re not the only one doing the driving. It’s safer too. If one of you starts to drift off or cramp up, the other driver can take over. You’ll have someone to talk to, to change the radio station and to hand-feed you corn chips when you refuse to let go of the steering wheel.
If you’re getting a rental car, it might be a good idea to add an additional driver to the paperwork. You never know when one of you might need to take a break and play navigator for a while. Not all rental car companies have the same policies about additional drivers. It can be difficult to figure out how to get the best deal with the most flexibility for you and your other drivers.
With this article, you can learn all about adding additional drivers and remain stress-free. Renting a car should be easy, and it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Car rental services are about reducing stress and enabling you to make your own travel decisions.
Why would I want to add another driver?
It might be boring to be the only one with driving duty—but more importantly, it can be dangerous. Driving for hours on end can sometimes be exhausting, and falling asleep behind the wheel is a real risk on a long road trip. Even if you’re not planning on sharing the wheel, it’s smart to be prepared if your passenger needs to take your place.
Adding another driver can also greatly reduce the time you might need to spend on the road, since you and your co-pilot can trade places instead of pulling over to rest (or even pulling into a hotel at night). This is a great asset to have when you’re on a time crunch. Less time can be spent at rest areas and more time can be spent covering ground.
Who can already drive the rental car?
The people who are automatically covered in a rental car agreement are “Authorized Operators.” An Authorized Operator can be your employer, employee or coworker if you’re on a company business trip together (and have booked your rental car through your company). They can also be your spouse, if you’re renting in certain states like California, Iowa or New York.
Can I add anyone else?
A driver who is added to the rental paperwork is called an “Additional Authorized Operator.” Additional Authorized Operators must be present at the time of the rental and must sign on to the rental agreement themselves at the rental location. The additional driver must also present their driver’s license and a valid credit or debit card.
How much does it cost to add more drivers?
The main reason that most renters hesitate to add an Additional Authorized Operator is that they often come with extra fees. These fees vary across rental companies and state lines. Hertz, for example, charges an extra fee of $13.50 per day per additional driver. Additional Authorized Operators who are between 21 and 25 may be asked to pay an age differential fee as well, since many companies consider younger drivers an insurance risk.
In New York State, fees for Additional Authorized Operators of rented cars are capped at $3 a day. But remember: State laws apply to the state that you are renting the car in to begin with—not the state that you’re going to be driving to. For example, the New York laws don’t apply if you’re renting a car in Connecticut, even if you want to drive that car to Albany.
Do AAA Members get any discounts on adding Additional Authorized Operators to a rental?
Car rental companies like Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty actually waive the additional driver fee when both the renter and the additional driver are AAA members. Spouses and domestic partners of AAA members are not required to have a separate AAA membership to receive the same discount. If you want to access a AAA discount, your AAA Club Code must appear on the rental. You could also present a valid AAA membership card, a Hertz AAA CPD identification card or a AAA credit card.
At Hertz, AAA members will receive the best rate available at the time of reservation, so you can get additional savings on top of the waived fee for extra drivers. AAA members also receive free unlimited mileage on most Hertz rentals, which is perfect for the type of trip that necessitates more than one driver. You can enjoy the open road without worrying about an extra Additional Authorized Operator fee and without thinking about the miles you’re racking up.
Whether you’re headed out on a long adventure or just want a little company, adding another driver to your rental car is easier than ever. Driving just isn’t the same when you’re doing it alone.
Have you ever taken a long road trip with another driver? How did you divide the driving time? Let us know in the comments below.