Every rental car company maintains a Do Not Rent list. Landing on that list means you are blackballed from renting from that company. Usually, a rental company puts a renter on a Do Not Rent list after an unfortunate incident with a rental car. In addition, a checkered driver history can lead to big issues, and the subsequent exclusion may be permanent or temporary.
You’ll provide your driver’s license at the start of the car rental process, primarily for identity verification and to ensure that your license is in good standing. But some rental car companies will also run a driver record check.
Will You Pass the Car Rental Driver Record Check?
Rental car companies are not legally required to run driver record checks, but there are two main schools of thought. On one hand, some companies use driver record checks as a proactive measure to block the riskiest drivers. Other companies don’t bother running driver checks so long as a driver presents a valid license. If you have a valid license, the rental car company is largely absolved from responsibility.
The Good news? The vast majority of drivers will pass the driver record check.
It wasn’t always that way. When a rental car company had to worry about lawsuits bankrupting the firm, as many as one in 10 drivers failed driver record checks. Nowadays, unless a driver is unaware of having a suspended license, surprises are rare. Still, a driver might be right to worry if he’s got so many points that his license is close to being revoked.
There are two issues that will immediately cause a driver to be rejected without fail by every rental car company:
- A requirement on the license for an ignition interlock device, also known as a breathalyzer. These restrictions are a red flag that the driver is a repeat DUI offender. This would get you banned even from companies that do not conduct driver record checks.
- Getting caught using a fake ID.
Which Car Companies Run Driver Record Checks?
Avis Budget Group: Avis, Budget and Payless
Avis may choose to run a driver record check or have the renter sign a document attesting that Avis’s driver criteria are met. The website states that the renter must have:
- a valid license that is not currently suspended, expired, revoked, canceled or surrendered
- no reckless driving convictions within the last 36 months
- zero convictions for driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or driving while alcohol impaired (DWAI) within the past 48 months
- no charges of failing to report or leave the scene of an accident within the last 36 months
- never been in possession of a stolen vehicle or used a vehicle in a crime
- fewer than three convictions for moving violations (including seat belt violations) within the last 24 months
- fewer than three accidents within the last 36 months
Budget tries to have it both ways, alternately stating that it may or will run a driver record check, with similar disqualifying activities as Avis.
Payless may run a driver record check and “may deny a rental car based on a negative driving record.”
Hertz Global Holdings: Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty
The three Hertz Global Holdings companies (Dollar, Hertz, and Thrifty) have policies allowing driver record checks but they do not provide details about the disqualifying factors. Historically, Hertz’s policy closely mirrors Avis’s policy. Invalid licenses (for any reason), vehicular crimes, high numbers of accidents, or extensive tickets are the common no-go scenarios.
Enterprise Holdings: Alamo, Enterprise and National
Aside from the breathalyzer restrictions, the three companies in this group don’t have explicit corporate policies for driver checks.
How to Avoid a Driver Record Check
In conclusion, a driver with a lot of points on his license should probably avoid the Avis Budget Group and rent from one of the Enterprise companies. If you have enough infractions on your record to be ineligible at Avis or Budget, consider buying the expensive but comprehensive rental car insurance products offered by the rental car companies.