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Car rental: How to add a second driver for free

To the point When renting a car, it is possible to register a second driver free of charge, or at very low cost. This guide explains how to do it.

Why add a second driver for a car rental

Adding a second driver to a car rental is an option that allows a person (other than the primary driver) to drive.

This is useful when:

  • We want to share the driving on a long trip
  • If the primary driver does not want to drive for the duration of the rental
  • Or to have a plan B in case of fatigue, illness or injury for example

How to add a second driver when renting a car

At the car rental counter, the name, age, address and valid driver’s license of the primary and secondary drivers must be included in the contract. Both must be present at the signing of the contract.

The person who will be the second driver must meet the same rental requirements as the primary driver. In addition, he has the same responsibilities in the event of an accident.

The credit card used to pay for a car rental must be in the name of the primary driver.

Insurance for a second driver when renting a car

Before renting, be sure to read the insurance policy of the credit card used to pay for the rental! It reveals valuable information to ensure that all drivers are properly insured in the event of an incident with the rental vehicle.

For example, one of the best cards for car rental insurance is the BMO Ascend® World Elite®*MasterCard®. Its insurance policy specifies:

Insurance coverage begins as soon as the Primary Cardholder, the Co-Cardholder, the Primary Cardholder’s Spouse, or Dependent Child who is authorized to drive the Rental Car under the Rental Agreement takes control of the Rental Car.

If in doubt, call your credit card issuer and your car insurance company.

Cost of adding a second driver

Here is the cost of adding a second driver (in $CAD) per day, per additional driver in Canada and the United States. The cost can change at any time, but is a good indication.

Rental Company Cost per day
Alamo $15. Free for the spouse
Review $12. Free for the spouse
Budget $12. Free for the spouse
Dollar $13.50 or a maximum of $189 per rental. Free for spouse if primary driver or both drivers are CAA members
Enterprise $15. Free for the spouse
Hertz $13.50 or a maximum of $189 per rental. Free for spouse if primary driver is a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards member (all levels accepted) or if both drivers are CAA members.
National $10. Free for the spouse
Thrifty $13.50 or a maximum of $189 per rental. Free for the spouse if the primary driver or both drivers are CAA members
Turo Free if the additional driver already has a Turo account, meets the minimum age requirement and has been verified by Turo


How to add a second driver for free

This is valid in Canada and the United States only.

Most car rental companies allow the addition of a second driver for free under certain conditions:

  • Being the spouse of the principal driver
  • Being the business partner or colleague of the main driver, during a business trip
  • Have a status in the rental company’s loyalty program
  • Being a CAA member
  • Rent the vehicle on the Costco Travel website
  • Depending on the state of the country where the vehicle is rented

CAA Members

CAA members who book on the CAA Travel platform can add up to two additional drivers.

This applies to Alamo, Enterprise and National car rental companies only, in Canada and the United States.

Costco Travel

It’s free for an additional driver when you book a car rental on Costco Travel in these countries, valid for Alamo and Enterprise:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Spain

For Avis and Budget, the additional driver is free for car rentals in Canada only.

According to the law

In the United States, the states of California, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Nevada and Oregon have a law that allows you to automatically have your spouse, significant other or child (who is 25 years of age or older of course!) as a second driver at no charge. This applies to all rental companies in their territory.

In some locations, the per day fee is capped by law. In New York State, a maximum fee of $5 per day is charged. In Nevada, they are $10 per day.

Status in the rental company's loyalty program

Here are the car rental companies that give away a free second driver just by being a member of their loyalty program.

Rental Company Status
Dollar For all Dollar Express Rewards members
Hertz All Gold Plus Rewards members at all levels
National Emerald Club members for spouse and immediate family (if living at the same address).
Sixt Gold, Platinum or Diamond members (for US residents only)


Bottom line

When renting a car, it is not at all recommended to let someone drive who is not on the contract. If there was ever an incident, the insurance company would pay nothing.

By knowing the different ways to save money for a second driver, you can avoid unnecessary costs and save that money for other things when you travel.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Caroline Tremblay
I'm Caroline, a loyalty program specialist! I use my points to travel more often and at a lower price with my spouse and our two children. I'm passionate about writing about the latest rewards news and how to put more points in your pocket.

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