yes, I am actually that lazy.
May 30, 2008 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Can i take my driver's license test in a rental?

Since it probably makes a difference, I am in washington state, seattle specifically.

so nearing the age of 26 its probably about time i got my driver's license. however, I don't have a car, or know someone with a car in which i would be insured.

Can i rent a car with only a learner's permit?

Can I pay to have a friend's car insured for a month such that I would be covered while I take the test?

what are my options here?

This seems like a rather nasty catch 22 situation.
posted by nihlton to Law & Government (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why don't you call the dmv? They would know for sure, as they are giving the test.
posted by gyusan at 10:03 AM on May 30, 2008

You can phone a local driving school and they should have a set rate to use one of their cars for the test. They might insist you pay them for a one-hour warmup first too though.
posted by jamesonandwater at 10:07 AM on May 30, 2008

Response by poster: giving the test only requires that I be there with a car I can legally drive. I can't imagine that they'd be prepared to hold my hand in getting to that point.
posted by nihlton at 10:07 AM on May 30, 2008

Hiring a private driving instructor is an expensive but definitely legal way to do this. Their insurance will cover you.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 10:07 AM on May 30, 2008

I would be surprised if a US rental agency would let an unlicensed driver drive a car. They make it difficult for some licensed drivers to rent (under 21, or without a credit card).
posted by zippy at 10:09 AM on May 30, 2008

Response by poster: ah, driving school. that makes a lot of sense. I will keep that in mind once Ive exhausted other avenues.

what about extending a friend's insurance coverage for a single month? unrealistic?
posted by nihlton at 10:11 AM on May 30, 2008

I borrowed a friend's car to take a driving test in NY. All that was required was that the car be fully insured and that someone else drove me to the test in that car (since I wasn't licensed yet).
posted by xo at 10:19 AM on May 30, 2008

You can take a driver's test in anybody's car - the trick is finding one to use. I mean, think about the thousands of 16-year-olds taking the test every day... they surely don't all own their own cars (lord help us if they do).

Just ask a friend if you can borrow their car for the test, that's what I did. (And thank them afterwards with a Starbucks gift card or something).
posted by GardenGal at 10:20 AM on May 30, 2008

Best answer: Driving schools do this all the time. You don't need to hire an instructor, just the car, except that you do need to pay for their time in driving the car to the test etc. I think they have standard rates for this and you can definitely shop around for a good rate.
posted by caddis at 10:25 AM on May 30, 2008

Borrowing someone's car on occasion doesn't generally require that their insurance specifically cover you, assuming you don't live in the same house as them, but the fact that you're not fully licensed might throw a crimp in that, so check first.

That said, how are you learning to drive? If you're taking lessons, the car to take the test will be included in any package you buy, or will be available a la carte at the same rate as other hours. This is typically a pretty small amount of money -- in the same range as what it would cost to rent a car for the day, and the driving schools are properly licensed and insured for precisely this scenario.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:26 AM on May 30, 2008

Our car insurance includes coverage of any driver as long as it is incidental use (not for rent or for regular, every day driving). Some plans do this, some don't so your friend would have to call his agent and ask.
posted by metahawk at 10:33 AM on May 30, 2008

Response by poster: i believe you do in washington
posted by nihlton at 10:49 AM on May 30, 2008

"i believe you do [need to be named on another car owner's insurance policy to legally drive their car] in washington"

Cite? I sincerely doubt this is the case because it's generally vehicles, not people, that are insured and such a rule would make all sorts of good social policy (let someone drive you home if you're drunk, pull over if you're tired, etc) illegal or impractical.

It's not beyond plausibility for states to pass stupid laws, of course, but this one seems unlikely because the legislature generally doesn't care who is insured as long as the vehicle is insured for every moment that it's driven, leaving the decision to the insurance companies as to who (and under what circumstances) the care is insured.

RCW 46.30.020 says:
(1)(a) No person may operate a motor vehicle subject to registration under chapter 46.16 RCW in this state unless the person is insured under a motor vehicle liability policy with liability limits of at least the amounts provided in RCW 46.29.090...
Which means if your friend's policy is similar to metahawk's, you should be fine. (IANAL, have your friend call his or her insurance agent)
posted by toomuchpete at 11:02 AM on May 30, 2008

Bah. Forgot the link. RCW 46.30.020.
posted by toomuchpete at 11:02 AM on May 30, 2008

This is the kind of question that has a simple and clear answer that is easy to get. Guessing is well-natured and sweet, but is genuinely not very helpful.

If you call the DOL number listed here, which I just did, a nice lady will tell you that you can drive anyone's car (borrowed, rental, driving instructor's, etc) as long as the car has insurance. You do not need to be on that insurance -- but the car needs to be legal and insured. So, if you were my friend, I could drive you over, and you could legally drive my car (insured in my name, not yours) around with the DOL person and get your license.

You can use a rental in theory... but no rental company will let you drive their car without a license. The DOL doesn't care, but the rental company will. Even if a friend rents the car, you won't be able to be added as an "additional driver" because you are currently unlicensed. (And depending what is written on the insurance papers in the rental car, you may get busted by the DOL -- if the rental documents specify "no driver other than X" and you are not X, then you can't take the test in that car.)
posted by Forktine at 11:05 AM on May 30, 2008 [5 favorites]

Some insurance companies will insist that if you're not insured, you need to be added as a driver on your friend's car. I have done this, when I needed to learn to drive. You are in a weird legal gray area as an unlicensed driver and I never fully understood what was necessary for me to drive legally. We erred on the side of caution and purchased insurance.

I took my road test in a car that belonged to my driving school. Honestly, I don't recommend that route if you can find another legal way - the car was beat up to all hell and the wheel was way out of alignment. When you brought the wheel around to the center the tires were pointing like 45 degrees to the left. I told my test administrator as she got into the car that I had never driven this car before and the wheel was giving me some trouble, and after she saw it in action herself she was actually really nice about it.
posted by crinklebat at 8:44 PM on June 1, 2008

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