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Additional Driver Loophole

Apr 2, 2016
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I recently rented a car from Avis through Costco. I discovered something that is likely true across rental car companies, insurance companies, and credit cards.
Costco offers an additional driver with no additional charge. I booked and picked up a car at MCI. My husband arrived several days later and I wanted him added as a driver. The Avis rep told me since he’s a spouse, no need to have him sign anything or have his name added to the Rental agreement. I had some time, so I called Liberty Mutual and Citi, just to make sure this was true for their coverage. We decline the coverage offered by the car rental company, relying on auto insurance and credit card coverage. They BOTH stated my husband needed to have his name on the contract in order to be covered. So, the offer that Avis makes allowing a spouts to drive doesn’t carryover to insurance or credit card coverage unless their name is added To the rental agreement.
We had no incidents, but this just seems confusing And I’d recommend that people renting cars check with their insurance if they’re declining insurance from the rental car company And having an additional driver.
 
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Apr 10, 2017
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Hopefully, I won't get dinged for copying and pasting, but this is from the Costco Travel website:

Q: Does my rental waive the additional driver fee?

Yes. For Alamo and Enterprise, the additional driver fee is waived for rental in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and Spain. For Avis and Budget, the fee is waived for rentals in the U.S.
The additional driver must meet all renter requirements, appear at the rental counter with the primary renter, present a valid driver's license and present a major credit card in their name at the time of rental (they do not need a valid membership card).

I know that I've been told the same as the OP, and I'm in possession of a Costco Budget rental as I write. But in any event, Costco is pretty clear about the requirements.
 
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Feb 21, 2018
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My understanding of any car rental is that whoever is going to drive, whether a fee is paid or not, must be named on the documents in order to be covered by any insurance. Having the driver's name on the paperwork indicates that the named person has permission and approval to drive the vehicle.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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Additionally, from the Costco Citi Visa site:

Who’s Covered You and any authorized driver listed on the rental car agreement, with a valid driver’s license.

This is just one of a zillion different credit cards out there, but I would guess that a large portion of people renting via the Costco Travel website are using the Costco-affiliated credit card. So it seems that the rules are clear and clearly articulated. As far as your personal auto insurance, that varies on what coverages you've chosen. I just glanced at my policy, and it is silent about being named on the rental contract. So, in summary, I have been given the same info as the OP at the time rental, but the rules are the rules and they're clear.
 
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Apr 2, 2016
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Additionally, from the Costco Citi Visa site:

Who’s Covered You and any authorized driver listed on the rental car agreement, with a valid driver’s license.

This is just one of a zillion different credit cards out there, but I would guess that a large portion of people renting via the Costco Travel website are using the Costco-affiliated credit card. So it seems that the rules are clear and clearly articulated. As far as your personal auto insurance, that varies on what coverages you've chosen. I just glanced at my policy, and it is silent about being named on the rental contract. So, in summary, I have been given the same info as the OP at the time rental, but the rules are the rules and they're clear.
Thank you for finding the citations. I think we’re saying the same things here. The car rental company may allow an unnamed additional driver, but if you’re relying on auto insurance or credit cards benefits to cover, beware they may not.
 
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Apr 10, 2017
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Thank you for finding the citations. I think we’re saying the same things here. The car rental company may allow an unnamed additional driver, but if you’re relying on auto insurance or credit cards benefits to cover, beware they may not.
Yes, but the bar to be covered is not that high. As with many issues that are covered on this website, you need to do you research ahead of time and not after the problem happens.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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If you're renting a car that will be driven by both parties, both parties are usually on the scene, present their DLs and off they go. If one party is going to join the other party at a later date, without visiting the rental office and presenting the DL, I don't think that party would be covered driving the rental car. OTOH, married people are usually considered as one entity when it comes to stuff like this, so they're both probably covered. I've never considered only one party picking up the car. A most interesting question. Perhaps someone knows a senior casualty insurance exec who could enlighten us.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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This is not a loophole.
It depends on the company, the state and the contracted rate.
Depending on the contract, company or rate, you MAY or MAY NOT need to have the additional driver on the contract. However, if there is an accident, and the additional driver did not meet the terms and conditions, then the contract is void.

There are too many scenarios to give a one-sized fits all answer.

But yes, Costco rates allow for additional drivers at no additional cost at select companies. So does the AAA rate. So does renting in California, and Illinois.

And yes, if you are renting and the spouse is not present, and the contract does not require you to list the spouse (when that happens, the agent has always let us know), you are covered provided the spouse meets the terms and conditions of the rental.
 
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