Can I drive someone else's rental car?

Are you wondering whether you can drive someone else's rental car? The simple answer is: not legally, unless you’re added as a named driver.

They’ve taken out the contract with the hire company, not you. That means if you get behind the wheel, it's illegal. You are not insured to drive the car. 

If you get into an accident and are not a named driver, any hire insurance is completely invalid. You’ll be held responsible for all the damages, both to the hire car and potentially for the damage done to the other road user’s vehicle, depending on their insurance coverage. 

Not only is letting someone else drive your hire car illegal, your trusted hire company will probably add you to their “no hire” list too. It’s just not worth it.

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two named drivers sitting in their hire car

Adding named drivers 

Luckily for you, hire companies allow their customers to add other named drivers to a hire. Once added to the contract with a hire company, each driver will be completely covered by the insurance and are legally allowed to drive the car. 

This is great if you’re going to do lots of miles and want to split the driving time. It’s really easy to do too. Just let your hire company know at the time of booking that you want to have more than one driver named on the contract. As long as they’ve got their driving licence and ID, you’ll be good to go.

This can also be a really handy way of renting a car for someone else. It’s common for a family member or a friend to want to book a car for someone else to drive. While you’d be the main driver as you made the booking, adding them as an additional driver will allow them to legally use the car.

The costs 

As with anything, there’s a charge associated with adding named drivers to your hire policy. That cost covers their insurance should things go wrong on the road and is usually calculated as a daily fee. Ours is very small and makes sure you and your named driver are both fully covered for the duration of the hire. 

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