Whether you are heading out on vacation or you need to go away for a business trip, having a rental car makes travel much more enjoyable. Instead of relying on others to get around town, you have the liberty to go where you please.
Many car rental companies have strict requirements about who can drive a car. This causes many people to wonder – can you rent a car without a driver’s license?
In this guide, we answer the question once and for all, ensuring you have the information you need. We also help you figure out what to do when your license is lost, so you can rent a car. By the time you reach the end of our article, you will have answers to your most-asked questions and we will show you what’s required to rent a vehicle in the U.S.
Can You Rent a Car Without a Driver’s License?
In almost every situation, you can’t rent a car without a driver’s license. Rental car companies require you to have a valid driver’s license to rent a car. If you have a suspended or expired driver’s license, the company isn’t going to turn a car over to you.
However, there are some exceptions to these rules, which is why it’s important to check with the rental car companies about individual policies. For example, disabled individuals that don’t have a license can get a rental car by meeting other guidelines.
What To Do If You Lost Your License
If you need to rent a car but your license is lost, you have options. By taking quick action, you may be able to replace that driver’s license in time to rent a vehicle. Here are a few steps to take right away.
1. Get A Temporary License At DMV
The only way to get a temporary license is to reach out to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In some states, you can complete the request online. You will need to enter your personal information and pay a fee, typically between $10 and $40. This cost only covers the copy; you will still be responsible for the renewal when it comes up, even if it’s just a few months away.
If you complete the request online, make sure you print the confirmation page. You should also be able to print a temporary license card until one arrives in the mail.
If your state doesn’t allow online requests, you need to find a location near you to visit. Some also require appointments, so do your research ahead of time.
2. Get A Backup Photo of The License
If you’ve had the foresight to think ahead, maybe you have a photo of your driver’s license. It’s wise to have a backup picture of it, just in case. You can snap a photo of it with your phone.
This photo isn’t going to be accepted by a police officer if you get pulled over. For that reason, you still need to order a temporary license. However, some rental car companies will use this documentation while you wait for a replacement. In some states, you also need a number off of the license to order a replacement.
3. File a Police Report
In almost every case, it’s best to file a police report when the driver’s license is lost. Unless you know what happened to it, such as if it went through the washing machine, you want to report it missing.
By creating a police report, you ensure that no one else can use your license and steal your identity. According to the National Council on Identity Theft Protection, a new victim occurs every 22 seconds. You don’t want to be one of them.
Can I Use a Passport to Get a Rental Car?
Many car rental companies will allow you to drive a vehicle if you have a valid passport. The requirements for most establishments include a photo ID, which can be either your driver’s license or passport.
However, you must still have a valid driver’s license. If it is suspended or expired, you won’t be allowed to rent a car. Additionally, the majority of rental companies require you to be 25 years or older and have a credit card. There are some exceptions to these rules, so check around to see what you can find.
If you are traveling to another country or are coming to the United States from somewhere else, you may need your passport and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You can apply for this permit online.
READ MORE: How Old Do You Have To Be To Rent A Car?
Can I Rent a Car With a Suspended License?
No car rental company will allow you to rent a vehicle with a suspended license. You aren’t legally allowed to drive on the streets in America with your license suspended; therefore, it would be against the law.
To rent a vehicle, you must have a valid, active driver’s license. If it’s been revoked or expired, you also can’t rent a car.
Can a Disabled Individual Rent a Car Without a License?
If the reason you don’t have a driver’s license is because of a disability, there are ways to rent a car. You need to have a surrogate driver with you that has a driver’s license. For this driver, the minimum age requirements and other qualifications still apply.
However, the surrogate driver won’t be charged extra. They also don’t need to show a credit card because you will be allowed to pay for the rental. Just remember that you are taking responsibility for any accidents or damage that the surrogate driver causes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do you need a license to rent a car?
Not only do you typically need to be 25 to rent a car, but you also must have your driver’s license for a specified amount of time. Most companies require your license to be active for a minimum of two years before renting.
Can you rent a car with an out of date license?
If your driver’s license has expired, you can’t legally drive on the road. For this reason, it would be unlawful for a rental car company to give you a vehicle. You must renew your driver’s license before you attempt to rent a car.
Can I use someone else’s credit card to rent a car?
If someone else wants to pay for the rental car, they must be present at the time the agreement is signed. If you don’t have a credit card, some companies will allow you to pay with a debit card, but there could be an additional fee or your credit score might be checked.
Can a friend borrow a rental car?
The only way to let someone else drive your rental car legally is to have them listed as an alternate driver when you pick up the vehicle. They will also need to show their driver’s license and you will be responsible for any damage or accidents that occur.
Can you rent a car without a license in Texas?
In the Lone Star State, you are required to have an active driver’s license to rent a car. If your license has been suspended or revoked, you cannot drive a rental car. If you have lost your license, take steps to have it replaced before you need the rental car.
Do you need a license to rent a car in Florida?
In the Sunshine State, you must have an active driver’s license when you rent a car. Once your license has been suspended or revoked, you can’t legally drive a car on the road. If your license is lost, we encourage you to have it replaced prior to trying to rent a car.
There’s just no legal way to drive a rental car without a license. If you attempt to do so, you could be pulled over and given a hefty fine. Additionally, any damage or accidents that occur could lead to a massive lawsuit, putting the person in jeopardy that gave you the rental car.
To be safe, it’s best to avoid driving a car without a license, whether it’s a rental or not. Instead, look for alternative means of transportation, such as the bus, subway or taxi. If you prefer a personalized experience, opt for a ride-share program, such as Uber or Lyft. All of these options get you where you want to go without breaking the law.
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