I'm living in Vancouver and would like to rent a car and go on a road trip with a friend from Seattle. Local car rentals usually allow at least one extra driver for free, but the standard requirement is for both drivers to show up at the rental desk. In my particular scenario this is inconvenient as I want to pick up a car at YVR airport and head down to Washington to go pick up my friend.

Is it possible to somehow circumvent this requirement and have the second driver be added to the insurance without showing up in person? Question is limited to major car rental companies in North America to reduce the scope.

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    Have you asked any of the rental companies themselves?
    – user29788
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 23:09
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    @Fattie: Yes you can, I've done this, twice. You rent the car in your name only, then have to come back on whatever date your friend is there and modify the rental agreement to add them.
    – smci
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 2:35
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    Fattie: you can rent the car. Just not in both drivers' names. The question title doesn't explicitly require that. But yeah you can't add them mid-trip, without physically going to some rental office (usually but not always the one you rented from) and modifying the contract.
    – smci
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 3:10
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    Any office, and many are downtown so you don't have to go to the airport. In fact the downtown offices will be far less busy. And one of the few places in downtown where you can park for free (for that purpose). Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 7:20
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    " Is it possible to somehow circumvent this requirement and have the second driver be added without the second driver showing up in person? " It is absolutely impossible to circumvent this requirement. The second driver does have to SHOW UP IN PERSON at any office of that rental company. What a confusing QA! :)
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 10:42

3 Answers 3


The requirement for the additional driver to be present is there because the agent must verify that s/he is in fact licensed to drive and matches the identity on the driver's license.

As such, to do everything strictly by the book, you would rent the car solo, drive to pick up your friend, then stop at the nearest branch of the rental agency. There, your travel companion would be added to the rental agreement. For example, Alamo's Additional Driver Policy states

An additional driver may only be added to the contract at a rental location and may be added or removed in the middle of the contract. When adding an additional driver in the middle of the contract both the renter and the additional driver must be present at the location.

The system will calculate the charges based on the dates the additional driver was listed on the rental.

(emphasis in original)

  • it's interesting point you BOTH have to be present, when adding someone in the middle.
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 2:57
  • One exception alluded to in your link is some types of corporate rentals, where a special agreement applies. For example, when they rent vans at work, they automatically authorize all employees; somebody from our company goes and gets them and hands over the keys to drivers. Said agreement also drops the age limit to 18. However, I doubt this is going to help the OP.
    – user71659
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 3:47
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    "it's interesting point you BOTH have to be present, when adding someone in the middle." Presumably you had to drive the car to the middle location; if you're not there, it would imply that you broke the rental agreement by having the extra person drive themselves. It'd be interesting if you had two people initially on the rental and wanted to add another. Do both of the initial people need to be present? Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 9:53
  • hey @RogerLipscombe, lol right - what I had in mind is in a city depot person A could wander off to Starbucks, leaving person B to the annoying line and paperwork. The three-body problem you raise is intriguing, heh! :)
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 10:44
  • @RogerLipscombe No, it's not implied that the driver to be added drove the car to the location. It could have been a different additional driver that is not the renter. The presence of the renter probably has more to do with the renter's permission to add the additional driver.
    – mastov
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 11:16

I've asked a rental car company about this. I was told that the second person had to be present, however, "if the second person happened to be stuck at the airport collecting luggage or something, and I happened to have their driving licence, they'd add them". In other words, they'd let me add a second person if I had their driving licence with me and made up a story that they were nearby.

Can the other person fedex their licence to you or something? If so, you could try that.

Alternatively, if the rental car company has offices in the US, they will let you add the second person at another office if you turn up with them. I've done that before on several occasions.

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    that does seem exceptionally unusual, @Berwyn - was this many years ago??
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 0:28
  • "they will let you add the second person at another office if you turn up with them." .. precisely
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 0:29
  • This strikes me as a rather risky strategy.
    – ajd
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 4:58
  • @Fattie The first scenario was a few weeks ago when I asked about adding my wife without her having to go to the rental car place, and adding a second driver at another office - I last did that last year in the US with a colleague
    – Berwyn
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 6:41
  • Spouses are usually exempt or handled differently under rental agreements.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 11:29

Most of the answers here, and the question too for that matter, seem to assume that you're going to use the rental agency's loss damage waiver, and in my experience, they're accurate.

However, most "premium" credit cards (MC World, MC World Elite, etc...) have a "Travel Protection" benefit which covers you, and any drivers you authorize, to drive the vehicle. For example the CIBC credit card insurance states that:

(2) Any other person who drives the same rental vehicle with Your permission whether or not such person has been listed on the rental vehicle contract or has been identified to the Rental Agency at the time of making the rental, however, You and all drivers must otherwise qualify under and follow the terms of the rental contract and must be legally licensed and permitted to drive the rental vehicle under the laws of the jurisdiction in which the rental vehicle shall be used.

Generally they'll ask you to book, and pay for, the rental on said credit card, and specifically decline the agency's LDW.

Not all classes of vehicles are covered, and the terms can vary by issuer, so it's best to get a copy of them, to confirm if your card provides the benefit, and what's required to be covered.

  • 2
    Surely you still need the permission of the rental company to allow other drivers than yourself to drive the vehicle? For example, there may be age restrictions set by the rental company or other restrictions not insurance related.
    – user29788
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 21:09
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    @GregL are you sure about that? Its still their vehicle and their property, they have the right to say who can and cannot drive it, regardless of what your independent insurance covers...
    – user29788
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 22:40
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    Suppose the second driver gets stopped by police and they ask for proof of insurance. How's that going to work? Suppose you're not with them?
    – Berwyn
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 0:05
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    Just to clarify, what the rental company is selling you isn't insurance, but rather a "loss/damage waiver". They've covered their cars with a rental policy that doesn't include named drivers because it realistically can't. The waiver you're buying covers you (and others you name) in the event that you get into an accident, or the vehicle is damaged or stolen. What the credit card company has as part of their benefit is the same thing, only you don't have to provide the rental company names, and you can decline their coverage. A number of personal car insurance policies offer the same thing.
    – GregL
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 0:12
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    THIS ANSWER IS WRONG, at least in a general sense. With a few exceptions (which vary based on the rental company, the state/country, and any corporate plans being used), a secondary driver needs to be explicitly listed on the contract, which requires presenting their license at a rental location. Even Credit Card insurance will not cover if you are in breach of the rental contract, which is what would be occurring if an unauthorized driver was driving the vehicle.
    – Doc
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 5:34

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