Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Rental Cars and Unauthorized Drivers

Author: Bill Wilson

We had an insured call to advise that he was going on vacation and renting a car in his name. He has a 19 year old that he understands cannot drive the rental car, by the rental car company's requirement. However, he is planning on letting the 19 year old drive the car anyway. His question was would his personal auto policy respond. I guess my common sense might be getting in the way of the legal application of the policy, but I hesitated to say yes because he is clearly in violation of a written contract. Would the personal auto policy respond?

 

Here is a recent "Ask an Expert" question:

Question"We had an insured call to advise that he was going on vacation and renting a car in his name. He has a 19 year old that he understands cannot drive the rental car, by the rental car company's requirement. However, he is planning on letting the 19 year old drive the car anyway. His question was, would his personal auto policy respond. I guess my common sense might be getting in the way of the legal application of the policy, but I hesitated to say 'yes' because he is clearly in violation of a written contract. Would the personal auto policy respond?"

AnswerGee, it sure would be nice to get more questions that are this simple to answer. No, there would be no response from his PAP. For example, these exclusions would bar recovery:

Liability Exclusion:
8.  Using a vehicle without a reasonable belief that that "insured" is entitled to do so. This Exclusion (A.8.) does not apply to a "family member" using "your covered auto" which is owned by you.
 
Physical Damage Exclusion:
8.  Loss to any "non-owned auto" when used by you or any "family member" without a reasonable belief that you or that "family member" are entitled to do so. 

Clearly, there is knowledge that the 19 year old is not entitled to use the vehicle. His only option would be to buy the rental company's liability and LDW/CDW coverages, although almost certainly they would be voided if an unauthorized driver is using the vehicle.

The solution here is for them to abide by the contract being signed. I doubt that teaching a young person to willfully violate agreements is a good lesson to be passing along.

The PAP has a number of exclusions that you won't find in the typical rental car CDW/LDW. Likewise, the CDW/LDW typically has exclusions that are covered by the PAP. That's why it is generally recommended that renters of vehicles rely on both the CDW/LDW and their own PAP for coverage. For more information, check out this article which includes a downloadable consumer version you can give to your insureds:

Top 10 Reasons to Purchase the Rental Car Damage Waiver

 

image 
 
​127 South Peyton Street
Alexandria VA 22314
​phone: 800.221.7917
fax: 703.683.7556
email: info@iiaba.net

Follow Us!

Empowering Trusted Choice®
Independent Insurance Agents.​