Will my rental car be towed if driven by someone else?
May 14, 2007 1:00 PM   Subscribe

I recently rented a car for a trip. I was told that if anyone else was stopped driving the car it would be impounded at my expense (even if I am riding as a passenger at the time). Does anyone know if this is for real? Seems very steep. After all it's perfectly fine for anyone else to drive a car that I own.
posted by vprzebinda to Law & Government (13 answers total)
posted by mr_roboto at 1:04 PM on May 14, 2007

Well it's not fine for anyone else to drive your car unless you say so, and it sounds like the owners of the rental care say it's not. I've seen similar (but not quite as harsh warning) on a rental car agreement to the effect that, when stopped for a traffic violation and asked for "license, registration and insurance," the police are asked to contact the rental company. I suppose it follows that they could then ask that the car be impounded if it were there wish. This is taking it one step further, but I see no reason why they couldn't do it.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:05 PM on May 14, 2007

No, it's perfectly fine for someone else to drive a car you own with your permission. The car rental company is giving you permission after they have gone through some vetting process. They don't want you passing the privilege on to someone else who they have not checked out.

Their reasoning is simple: vicarious liability. I don't know where you are or where the rental is but here in the US the degree to which the property owner can be held liable for the actions of someone else vary from state to state. In Florida they're pretty extreme and the high insurance costs reflect it.
posted by phearlez at 1:12 PM on May 14, 2007

My car was hit in NYC by some kid driving his father's rental without permission. Their insurance paid up just fine, I don't think anyone made a big deal about it.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:33 PM on May 14, 2007

I think most companies allow spouses to drive the rental car without specifically adding them. The way around this is to have each of the other people designated as drivers.
posted by caddis at 1:49 PM on May 14, 2007

I would note the other individual(s) who you think may be driving your rental on the paperwork. You're safe that way.
posted by NationalKato at 2:15 PM on May 14, 2007

The last time my husband and I rented a car we found out that to add me as a driver would cost us a per day charge. I don't know if that has anything to do with it.
posted by Kimberly at 2:18 PM on May 14, 2007

Don't believe anything the upselling rental agents tell you, for one thing; spend ten minutes alone with the rental contract. Last time I read one it was able to threaten, at worst, not honoring a damage waiver if someone else was driving. But of course I hadn't bought the damage waiver (which had about twenty other exemptions for doing regular stuff) so that was good for a chuckle. Letting a trusted friend drive as needed and without paying their dreamed up fee could be a reasonable risk, depending. Chosing to drive at all, or be near cars, is a significant risk of death in itself, compared to which their fee-grubbing "rules" are trifling.
posted by Doctor Barnett at 2:21 PM on May 14, 2007

We've always been told that as spouses, one can drive the car the other rented. Some places make you show a AAA card for this.
posted by GaelFC at 2:47 PM on May 14, 2007

Two things... whenever I have gone on vacation with a friend and rented a car, they required a CC and DL from both of us, and had one of us listed as a secondary driver. It didn't cost any more IIRC, so it was no big deal.

Also...when I had roommates and car insurance, I had to give my insurance company each of my roommates DL#, or specifically EXCLUDE them as drivers on my car. So, it's not always perfectly fine for anyone to drive a car that you own.
posted by clh at 2:51 PM on May 14, 2007

What location are we talking about here? Australia? UK? Vacation in France? I think a lot of assumptions are being made that this is in the US.
posted by hodyoaten at 3:12 PM on May 14, 2007

Anytime I've rented a car (in the US), it hasn't cost more to add someone, but they wanted the drivers license/credit card of the additional driver to add them to the contract from the get-go. But yes, they've made threats/warnings like you experienced about drivers not on the rental contract.
posted by jerseygirl at 5:36 PM on May 14, 2007

UK, NZ, Jpn I listed the drivers as we sorted out the paper work for the rental, sometimes anyway.. , other times/places they didn't care.

Also temporarily added a friend as a driver to my insurance for my car for 3 week period, it was quite straightforward.
posted by lundman at 6:15 PM on May 14, 2007

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