Published by Rentalcars1.com on Apr 7, 2020
By Brittany Anas, for the USA Today
While drivers can get their license at age 16, it’s almost another decade before renting a car is a seamless process. But it is possible for young adults under the age of 25 to rent a car at some car rental agencies. In general, most major car rental agencies will rent to drivers 21 and up, and some will rent to even younger drivers, but these rentals come with surcharges and added restrictions. So we brought to you How to Rent a Car When You Are Under 25
Why It’s Harder to Rent a Car Under Age 25
It comes down to statistics: Drivers who are younger than 25 are significantly more likely to get into accidents than older drivers, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data that’s cited on rental car websites. After drivers reach the age of 25, the crash rate declines dramatically. Given the higher risk of accidents, most rental agencies tack on a “young renter” fee or surcharge for those who are under age 25.
In general, drivers must be at least 20 or 21 years of age to rent a car. There are some exceptions: In Michigan and New York, the minimum age to rent a car is 18 years, as mandated by the states, but the surcharges tend to be even higher for drivers in the 18- to 20-year-old age brackets.
Car Rental Policies at Major Agencies
Hertz will rent cars to individuals who are at least 20 years old – with some rules. The renter must have a valid driver’s license that’s been in good standing for at least a year, have a valid debit or credit card and pay a “Young Renter Daily Fee.” But it’s possible to avoid the fee through membership programs. As a AAA member, drivers ages 21 to 24 might not need to pay the surcharge if they meet rental qualifications.
The surcharge can vary by location. Hertz also limits the types of cars young drivers can rent, precluding them from sports cars and luxury vehicles that come from the “Dream Cars,” “Prestige” and “Adrenaline” collections.
At Enterprise, the minimum age to rent a car is 21 years, and a young renter fee might be applied for those ages 21 to 24. The average fee is $20 per day, but it can be higher based on the rental location. While it’s allowable for young renters ages 18 to 20 to rent cars in Michigan and New York, those who fall in this age range are subject to even higher surcharges – $57 per day in New York and $40 per day in Michigan. Under Enterprise’s policy, those 18 and up who are U.S. government employees can rent cars by showing official orders.
Similarly, Alamo will rent to drivers 21 and up, and the rates could be higher for those in the 21- to 24-year-old age bracket. Certain specialty and larger-sized vehicles might not be rented to drivers under the age of 25. U.S. military and government employees ages 18 and older won’t have to pay the driver surcharge if they can show they’re on government orders. Drivers in New York ages 18 to 20 pay an additional $57 per day in rental fees, and drivers in Michigan in the same age range pay an extra $34 per day.
Budget rents to drivers under 25 in some cities and the surcharges vary. As an example, younger renters in Santa Barbara, California, are charged an extra $5 a day, while younger renters in New York cities pay an extra $35 per day. Also, those under 25 are required to use a valid credit card, as debit cards aren’t permitted.
Our friends over at Autoeurope – https://www.autoeurope.com have this advice for us:
CAN I RENT A CAR IF I AM UNDER 21?
If you’re between 18 and 21 years of age, you’re in a group that is brimming with desirable travel opportunities! From study abroad programs and volunteer vacations to WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and teaching English as a second language. Your youth and zest for life open doors everywhere and with these exciting possibilities you’ll find further travel inspiration around every corner! A car rental is most ideal way to travel independently while you’re abroad and Auto Europe is here to help ensure a little thing like car rental age requirements doesn’t stand in your way!
WHAT ARE THE LOCAL FEES RENTERS UNDER 21 SHOULD BE AWARE OF?
Until you reach the age of 25, you are globally categorized as a “young driver,” and young drivers are subject to young driver surcharges. This set fee is applied daily, typically with a maximum cap, that car rental companies charge to each person who takes the wheel and fits their individual company description of a young driver.
The young driver surcharge can vary greatly from country to country and also between car rental companies, so it is a good idea to cross-reference this information. Luckily, Auto Europe is diligent in our practices of providing this important detail as you are perusing your car rental search results! Simply click the product information linked text next to each photo of the car rental category vehicle and voile – you’ll know in seconds exactly what each car rental company young driver policies are!
ARE THERE WAYS TO AVOID A YOUNG DRIVERS FEE WHEN RENTING A CAR UNDER 21?
A traditional car rental is one option for you to explore when planning a trip to Europe, a short term car lease is another! Factory-new Peugeot’s or Citroen’s are available for driver’s 18 and up! You can travel to 40 European countries covered under the zero deductible insurance provided, with unlimited car rental mileage and no young driver surcharges. If you are under 21 and planning an extended stay in Europe, a car lease may be a great option!
AAA members who rent a car with Hertz may be able to have the “young driver fee” waived if they meet standard rental qualifications. If you are a AAA member learn about all the benefits the come with your membership.
ARE THERE OTHER FEES FOR DRIVERS UNDER 21?
You probably noticed that in the driver information boxes of the three examples above a daily fee for additional drivers is also assessed. Again, the fees vary drastically with the Rome driver fee maximum cap being the most exorbitant, while the highest rate you’d pay in Paris in this instance would be $60 USD.
If you are weighing whether to add another driver for your trip, this fee is another financial factor to consider when you compare car rental rates.
WHAT ARE THE RESTRICTIONS ON FLEET AVAILABILITY FOR RENTERS UNDER 21 YEARS OLD?
As long as your car rental needs are for basic category car, we can almost always find an equitable solution with a little patience and compromise. If however, you are envisioning speeding along Germany’s Autobahn in a sleek super-car, or turning heads by driving a luxury car through the streets of London, hold that thought. Fleet availability for a car rental under 21 years of age typically has more restrictions, particularly for specialty car rentals. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip that you don’t see yourself making again, call Auto Europe’s prestige department toll-free at 1-888-223-5555, where car rental dreams are made manifest!
IS THERE MANDATORY CAR RENTAL INSURANCE FOR RENTERS UNDER 21 YEARS OLD?
In most instances when you’re renting a car in Europe, you’ll find the car rental insurance requirements for you are no more and no less than they would be for any other age group. There are some car rental companies, however, that will only allow you to rent a car if you take additional car rental insurance coverage. In Germany for instance there is a car rental company with whom a car rental under 21 years of age requires that you take an inclusive insurance rate, while another car company might allow you to use available credit card insurance.
DO I NEED TO DISCLOSE MY AGE WHEN I RENT A CAR IF I AM UNDER 21 YEARS OLD?
Whether you create your car rental booking on Auto Europe’s website or use our toll-free number to make a reservation with one of our agents. When making your booking, be sure you provide the age of the primary driver at the time of the car rental. It could make a difference in the additional fees if they happen to exceed the car rental minimum age requirements at that time, which will give you more travel funds to work with, or it might not make a financial impact at all, but it’s important that the details are correct regardless.
DOES IT MATTER HOW LONG I’VE HAD MY DRIVER’S LICENSE?
To legally rent a car internationally, the minimum travel industry standard for a driver’s license to be held is one year from the issue date. If you’re renting a car in Ireland, you’d need to have held the driver’s license for two years prior instead of one.
DO YOU NEED AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVING PERMIT (IDP) IF YOU ARE UNDER 21 YEARS OLD?
No matter how old you are, many European countries will require international travelers to possess an international driving permit when they pick-up their rental. Countries including Austria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, and Spain all require drivers to purchase an IDP to pick-up their rental car and those aren’t the only ones! Check out Auto Europe’s international driving permit page for further details on IDP requirements and where you should obtain one.
An international driving permit translates your driver’s license information into several different languages. Depending on the country and supplier, an IDP may be required, or strongly advised.
WHY YOU SHOULD BOOK A RENTAL CAR WITH AUTO EUROPE?
Are you ready to book your car rental? Auto Europe offers financial security to the DIY traveler who chooses to utilize our three-step car rental booking engine. If you have any questions about car rental services, Auto Europe car rental specialists are available 24-hours a day to assist you via our toll-free number, 1-888-223-5555.
HOW TO RENT A CAR UNDER 21
Some car rental companies will not rent to drivers under the age of 21, and those that do will often charge an additional fee or surcharge to reflect the added risk of renting to a less-experienced driver. If it’s possible to rent a car as a driver under 21 in your travel destination, Auto Europe can help. It doesn’t take much extra time to rent a car as a driver under 21 years of age, and you can typically book online or over the phone with Auto Europe in as little as 5-15 Minutes. The cost to rent a car under 21 years old will vary depending upon the particular details of your rental agreement. A young driver surcharge in most locations will be in the range of $5 – $23 additional US dollars per day.
Items You’ll Need to Rent a Car Under 21
- A credit card
- A valid driver’s license
- Money to cover the standard rental car cost plus the young driver surcharge
Steps to Rent a Car Under 21 Years Old
- Step 1 – Determine the dates of your trip and your rental car budget.
- Step 2 – Visit AutoEurope.com on your computer or smartphone or call our reservation team toll-free, 24/7 at 1-888-223-5555.
- Step 3 – Uncheck the “Driver Age 25-69” field on the search box or inform our phone agent that you are under 21 years of age. This will make a difference and in the inventory and pricing you see so you can make an informed and accurate decision.
- Step 4 – Search inventory in your travel destination to find the best vehicle and price for you.
- Step 1 – Review the available vehicle choices.
- Step 2 – Filter your search by selecting the best vehicle size, a highly-rated local supplier, or let your budget determine the best vehicle for you.
- Step 3 – Select your vehicle, and then consider whether you want to add optional equipment (like a roof rack, etc.) or insurance coverage to reduce the deductible you would owe in the event of an accident or theft.
- Step 1 – Confirm your booking by pre-paying for your rental car. You will typically need a credit card to complete the transaction, though in some cases a debit card may work (call us if you need to use a debit card).
- Step 2 – Receive your confirmation voucher from Auto Europe with instructions about your pick-up location, dates, and the hours of operation of the local rental car office.
- Step 1 – Note the location of the local car rental office on your voucher and make sure the office will be open when you arrive in your travel destination.
- Step 2 – Have a copy of your Auto Europe booking voucher with you, along with the credit card you used to complete the booking, and your driver’s license.
- Step 3 – Go to the rental car pick-up counter to check-in and obtain your keys. Auto Europe always recommends that you document the condition of your vehicle prior to leaving by taking photos of any existing damage (this can help you should the local rental company claim that pre-existing damage was your fault when you return the vehicle at the end of your trip).
- Step 4 – Confirm the drop-off location and hours of operation prior to departing. This way you will know where to go (and when to get there) for a hassle-free return at the end of your trip.