Can I Rent a Car for Someone Else?
Renting a car is a big responsibility. When you rent a car, you’re on the hook for the vehicle, its condition, its gas on return to the lot, and any damages that it may receive during the length of your rental contract. Rental companies take on a substantial amount of risk when they give a vehicle to a driver, especially if it’s a driver they don’t know.
Things can get tricky if you need to rent a car for someone else, either because they can’t afford the rental or because the rental agency likely wouldn’t approve an application because of their credit score or another factor. Today, let’s explore whether you can rent a car for someone else and, if not, whether there are other ways to sign multiple people onto the same rental contract.
No, You Can’t Rent a Car for Someone Else
That’s the quick answer to the question. But let’s break down why this is.
When a rental car company accepts a rental application, they assume a certain amount of liability for the contract. For example, they are on the hook for replacing the car in their fleet if the driver totals the vehicle or damages it in some way.
Because of this, rental car companies are very careful about who they give rentals to. They have a lot of limitations, such as age limits, requirements for certain types of payment (i.e. credit cards), requirements for ID (i.e. driver’s license and insurance proof), and more.
If rental companies allowed you to rent a car for someone else outright, young, inexperienced, or otherwise inappropriate, dangerous drivers could get behind the wheel without any of these roadblocks.
So you will never be able to simply apply for a rental under someone else’s name. Any vehicles you rent have to be rented under your name only.
You Can Add Another Driver to Your Rental Contract
This isn’t to say that more than one person can’t rent the same vehicle in a practical sense. The easiest way to “rent” a car for another person is to simply rent a vehicle under your name and with your credit card. But you’ll add the other person as a secondary driver to the rental agreement.
In this way, multiple people can drive the same rented car for the duration of its journey. For example, if you rent a car with your spouse to drive for several days (or even rent a car up to a month!) to visit family, you may not want to drive the whole time. You can add your spouse to the contract and they can be the secondary driver, sharing time behind the wheel.
This is also one of the best ways to share driving responsibility between multiple members of a party. But at the end of the day, a single person has to rent a car under their name and assume full liability for the vehicle.
If the rental car is damaged or destroyed, whoever rented the car as the primary driver will be on the hook for any damages or liability.
Making a Reservation in Your Name for Someone Else
What if you want to rent a car for someone else just to save time? In other words, you’ll make the reservation for them, but they will still pay for the vehicle and provide their credit card or ID to the rental agency when they go to pick up the vehicle?
In that case, you can apply for a car rental online. You just need all the relevant details for the primary driver on hand so you can fill out the information accurately.
For example, you’ll typically need a driver’s:
- Social security number
- Phone number
- Credit card number
If you have all this information, nothing stops you from filling out a rental application online just to save time for your friend or family member. Then, they can drive to the rental agency, present ID to confirm their identity, and accept the rental vehicle even though you technically filled out the application.
Note, however, that this method does not allow you to drive the vehicle because the vehicle is under your friend or family member’s name. Once again, it’s not really possible to rent a car for someone else outright.
Paying for Someone Else’s Car Rental
While a vehicle rental has to be under the name of the primary or sole driver, you can pay for someone else’s rental… provided that they have a credit card for future billing if necessary.
You probably won’t be able to use this method if you only have a debit card or cash. While it might technically be possible, most car rental agencies won’t accept payment in this way since there will be no way to make sure that you or the driver pays back the vehicle’s costs in full, especially if the vehicle is damaged during the rental period.
However, you can pay for someone else’s car rental by providing a debit card payment, cash, or a credit card and footing the bill for the initial rental. The driver you’re paying for still has to provide their identification and provide a good credit card number so the car rental agency can bill them for extra fees if needed.
This may be a great way to help your friend out of a tight financial spot or rent a car for a younger driver who may not have the funds to pay for the rental themselves.
Don’t Forget Insurance Coverage
Before you try to put these strategies into action, remember that insurance coverage changes slightly depending on who’s on the rental contract.
When you put another driver on your reservation as an additional driver, for example, you (the primary driver and the person whose name is on the contract) are still on the hook for any expenses or insurance costs.
For example, say that you and your spouse rent a car together to visit family. If they are a secondary driver and get into an accident, you’ll be responsible for the accident and your insurance policy may go up as a result.
Insurance coverage and liability ultimately fall under the responsibility of whoever is listed as the primary driver regardless of who paid for what or how many drivers are included on the contract.
While you can rent a car with multiple people or even pay for someone else’s car rental under certain circumstances, you cannot rent a car for another person outright. That said, there are plenty of ways to navigate the rental system and ensure that you and your friends or family members get the vehicles you need for work commuting, vacation travels, and more.
In fact, rental agencies like Advantage make it easier than ever to sign multiple drivers to the same rental vehicle on a single contract. Contact us today for more information or check out our fleet of quality rental vehicles to see what we offer.