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What are the requirements for a spouse to drive rental car?

What are the requirements for a spouse to drive rental car?

Old Feb 10, 20, 1:06 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Chicago (ORD)
Programs: Marriott Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium, UA Silver, National Executive
Posts: 484
What are the requirements for a spouse to drive rental car?

Longtime Executive/Elite member. I used to think that spouses (in my case, my wife who shares my last name and lives at my address) were automatically covered and could drive when I rented a car even if she was not at checkout when I picked up the car (e.g., to show her driver's license). We had done this for many years and luckily had no accidents or such. (e.g., we'd go on long road trips where I'd drive the bulk of it, but she would take over for a few hours a day to spell me to give me a break)

Then about a year or so ago, I thought I read somewhere that this was not the case, and that spouses were not automatically covered. Not a huge deal because of the length of the drives we have undertaken recently.

We are soon about to do some longer road trips again where it would be great to have her be able to take over for a couple of hours so I can rest in between long drives. If necessary, she can be present to rent the car, but this would be a hassle.

Can someone definitively clarify whether:
(1) she needs to be present (to show her license) or
(2) she is automatically covered and does not need to be present when I rent (but can still drive the car without issue)?

Thanks in advance!
dcchi is offline  
Old Feb 10, 20, 1:48 pm
  #2  
Company Representative - Autoslash
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,786
The answer is that as an EC member, your spouse is automatically an authorized driver without needing to be explicitly listed on the rental contract, meaning, she does not need to be present at the rental counter to show her driver's license.

"a. "Additional Authorized Driver(s)" (AAD[s]) means any individual, in addition to Renter, who; (i) has permission of the Renter to drive Vehicle and is either a member of Renter's immediate family (including same or opposite sex domestic partner) who permanently resides with Renter, (ii) is a fellow employee who drives the Vehicle for business purposes, (iii) is required by law, or (iv) is permitted by Owner or separate agreement (i.e., Corporate, Tour or Emerald Club) to operate the Vehicle. All AADs must possess a valid driver's license and meet the minimum rental age."
Note that this applies in the US and Canada only. In order countries, all additional drivers (even spouses) need to be added to the rental contract and there may be an additional fee.
AutoSlash is offline  
Old Feb 10, 20, 1:49 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: SJC
Programs: Marriott, Hyatt, Hertz, National
Posts: 129
I asked National this question on Twitter once and was told "it depends on the state". It was MI, and they said spouses are not automatically covered. So, I think the answer is "normally no, but possibly yes in some states" (probably the list at https://www.autoslash.com/blog-and-t...al-driver-fees).
missingcolours is offline  
Old Feb 10, 20, 2:29 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Chicago (ORD)
Programs: Marriott Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium, UA Silver, National Executive
Posts: 484
I did a search online and found this:
https://www.nationalcar.com/en/suppo...iver-fees.html

It seems clear that there is no fee, and even though I live in Illinois (on the special state list!), it seems it should be okay, but not totally sure!

Is there a fee for an additional driver?

Yes, there is a daily additional driver fee. This fee will vary and currently averages $12 a day.

The additional driver fee will be waived for any of the following types of rentals:
  • Rentals in states that allow a renter's spouse to be an "Automatic" Authorized Driver: California, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, and Wisconsin.
  • Rentals by Emerald Club members when the member's spouse, common law spouse, or same-sex domestic partner has the same address on the driver's license as the Emerald Club member and meets normal renter requirements.
  • Rentals by Emerald Club members when the member's immediate family member (mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister) has the same address on the driver's license as the Emerald Club member and meets normal renter requirements.
  • Commercial (corporate) rentals when the renter's business partner, employer or fellow associate, who has an assigned corporate contract with National and drives the car for business purposes and meet normal renter requirements.
  • Rentals for/by disabled renters who cannot drive (one additional driver fee will be waived)
EMC numbers can only be used when the actual member is picking up the vehicle. EMC status is not transferable and the reservation must be booked in the customer's name who will be picking up the vehicle and presenting the form of payment.

ALL ADDITIONAL DRIVERS MUST:

  • meet all age requirements
  • appear at the rental counter with the primary renter
  • present a valid driver's license
An additional daily fee may apply for any Additional Drivers.

Note: State law in California, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon and Wisconsin allows a spouse to be anautomatic authorized driver as long as renter qualifications are met.
dcchi is offline  
Old Feb 10, 20, 7:55 pm
  #5  
Company Representative - Autoslash
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,786
The issue is getting confused here. The original question was, what is the policy for an Emerald Club member (OP said he was EC Executive/Elite). The policy for all EC member is as we stated above. The policy for non-EC members varies from state to state as to whether or not spouses can drive for free. Since EC membership is free, and you earn valuable points and can choose your own vehicle (at most locations), not to mention always get the spouse drives free benefit, you'd have to be crazy not to sign up and rent as an EC member.
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