Need to rent a car? Whether you’re planning a road trip across the country or in need of a temporary replacement while your car is in the shop, all kinds of situations can arise that require a rental. Unfortunately, while drivers can legally obtain their license at the age of 16, renting a car doesn’t get easier until 25.
In most states within the U.S and Canada, drivers have to be at least 21 years of age to rent a car from an agency. However, reputable and licensed rental agencies like Hertz and Enterprise prefer to rent to drivers that are over 25 and older. They impose hefty surcharges and restrictions on drivers under this age.
How Old Do I Have To Be To Rent A Car In My State?
Eight of the 12 car rental agencies in forty-three states require that renters be at least 21 years of age. In states like New York, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Texas drivers can qualify to rent a car once they turn 18 years old.
Only Michigan and New York mandate that car rental companies have to rent to drivers 18 years of age with a valid driving license. This means that rental companies can use discretion when renting to teen drivers and even downright deny service.
Even in states where the minimum age is 21 years old to rent a car, there are small car rental agencies that are lenient when it comes to the age requirement. Renters under the age of 25 should expect to pay a young renter’s fee which is a surcharge that’s added to the final bill. This fee can be anywhere between an extra $20-$80 a day. Several car rental agencies set their policies when it comes to age requirements for renters.
Check out the minimum age requirements for these top car rental companies:
- The minimum age to rent with Alamo is 21 years old. There are exceptions for New York and Michigan license holders where a customer must be at least 18 years old to rent.
- Renters between the ages of 21-24 will have to pay a $20 a day Young Renter’s Fee in addition to the overall rental costs.
- Renters between 18-20 years old will have to pay $57 a day Young Renter’s Fee. In Michigan, the Young Renter’s fee is only an additional $40 a day.
- The minimum age to rent is 21 years old. In New York and Michigan, license holders have to be at least 18 years old to rent.
- Renters between the ages of 21-24 years old will have to pay a $27 surcharge.
- Renters between the ages of 18-20 years old in New York are subject to a $57 a day surcharge and in Michigan, there is a $41 a day surcharge.
Dollar Car Rental
- The minimum age requirement is 20 years old. There are exceptions to New York and Michigan where drivers have to be at least 18 years of age.
- Drivers under 25 years old will be subjected to a daily surcharge fee.
- The minimum age to rent from Enterprise is 21 years old. In New York and Michigan, drivers have to be at least 18 years old to rent.
- Renters between the ages of 21-24 will be charged a Young Renter’s fee which is a daily surcharge. The average surcharge is approximately $20 per day. However, the surcharge can vary depending on the rental agency.
- The minimum age to rent is 18 years old except in Alabama and Nebraska where renters have to be at least 19 years old. However, renters must possess a driver’s license for at least one year.
- Driver’s under the age of 25 will be charged a Young Renter’s surcharge unless they are AAA members.
- The minimum age to rent from Fox is 19 years old. In New York and Michigan, renters have to be at least 18 years old.
- Exceptions are made for active military license holders. They have to be at least 18 years old.
- Driver’s under the age of 25 will be subject to a daily surcharge.
Why Is It Hard For Renters Under 25 Years Of Age To Rent A Car?
Renting a car when you’re under 25, can be a really complicated process. Most car rental companies are apprehensive of renting to young people because they are considered to be risky drivers. Recent research has shown that drivers between the ages of 20-24 are the deadliest drivers on the road. They were involved in over 6.424 automobile accidents which are over 500 more than any other age group.
A report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that drivers in the 16 to 20, 20-25 had the highest number of fatalities. Because young drivers are much more likely to get involved in an automobile accident they are penalized or charged high fees to help account for possible property damage.
Depending on the location, luxury SUVs and cars are off limits to licensed drivers under 25. The penalties that underage renters are subject to can be very expensive. In New York and Michigans, such penalties are regulated and rental companies aren’t able to charge over a certain amount of money. The average surcharge is $40-$50 a day and there can be even more renters under the age of 20. This can make it difficult for an individual to afford to rent a car.
Car rental agencies that do rent to young drivers have several policies in place. For instance, Hertz requires that renters have a valid driver’s license that’s been in good standing for at least a year. Some companies will even look at your driving history to determine if the renter has any active tickets.
How To Save Money On Car Rentals When You’re Under 25
Unfortunately, the hefty penalties and surcharges imposed on drivers under the age of 25 aren’t accompanied by any perks, extra insurance, or waivers for the renter. If you’re having trouble finding an affordable rental due to the expensive surcharges, there are few ways around this Young Driver’s Fee. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to try and get out of paying these daily surcharges:
Book A Rental With Silver
Silver is an upcoming car rental service by Audi. The company rents silver Audis, Cabriolets, Q5, and Q7 at different locations around the U.S including New York, Miami, and San Francisco. This car rental service doesn’t charge an under 25 fee to young renters in Miami and San Francisco. Since this is a premium car rental service, the daily rental rate is higher than most car rental companies but without the daily under 25 surcharge, you’ll save money.
Use Your AAA Membership
If you have an AAA membership which is a roadside assistance company that offers all kinds of travel discounts. You can use your AAA membership with car rental companies like Hertz to get a special discount on your rental. Triple A members are offered the corporate discount which waives the “young driver” fee for renters between the ages of 18-24. An AAA membership is only about $65-$75 a year depending on what state you reside in and you don’t have to pay for the membership all at once.
Do you have a USAA membership? USAA memberships are open to current and former military personnel, their children, and spouses. USAA members often have access to special insurance, banking, and other shopping discounts. You can use your USAA membership or your military ID to get the Young Driver’s fee or surcharges waived. A USAA membership is free as long as you qualify.
Skip Traditional Car Rental Spots
Rental services like Getaround and Zipcar have become popular over the last few years. While this car rental service does charge young drivers a daily surcharge fee it’s not as high as a traditional car rental agency.
Getaround which is often described as the Airbnb of cars uses a tiered system to determine its underage surcharge fee. The surcharge fee is only 5% of the trip for drivers aged 24 years old. The surcharge fee is 10% for drivers aged 23 years old.
Zipcar charges drivers 18-20 years old $1 per hour and $12 per day to rent a Zipcar, 70 cents per hour, and $10 a day if you’re 20-24 years old. These prices are cheap compared to renting from a standard car rental company.
University or Alumni Discount Codes
Did you know that several universities and alumni associations offer all kinds of discount codes to staff, students, and alumni members? You don’t even have to be an active student to receive access to these discounts. It doesn’t hurt to check your school website
How To Rent A Car When A Car As A Young Driver
Regardless of your age, you’ll need an acceptable form of payment and of course valid auto insurance if you want to rent a car from a reputable rental agency. Most car rental companies used to only accept credit cards as an acceptable form of payment to cover the cost of the rental and an additional $200-$400 to cover any damages if they should occur. Nowadays rental companies will allow customers to use a debit card but in most cases, you'll have to put down a security deposit that’s refundable when the vehicle is returned.
Car Renter’s Insurance
When you rent from a car rental company you’ll need to have liability protection. If you get into an automobile accident while driving the rental, the insurance will cover the damage and reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
In some states, car rental agencies are required by law to offer basic liability coverage in the form of a loss damage waiver or collision damage waiver. This insurance provides minimal protection to renters in the event the rental is damaged in a collision, vandalized, or stolen. This insurance is added to the rental fee. You can always opt to cover a rental with your personal automobile insurance. This is a great idea especially if you have full coverage. It will cost you next to nothing.
Several credit card companies provide secondary coverage to renters. If you plan on using your credit card to rent a vehicle you should call the credit card issuer to confirm the details. This coverage is usually free. Since it is secondary coverage your auto insurance policy will pay out first. Whatever isn’t covered by your insurance company or the rental agency’s policy, the coverage provided by your credit card issuer will pick up the tab.
Q: What car rental company doesn’t charge renters under 25?
Unfortunately, most reputable car rental agencies charge renters under the age of 25 a surcharge. The surcharge fees vary depending on the rental location. As previously discussed, services like Silver Car don't charge a Young Renter’s fee.
Q: Does Hertz rent to drivers that are 19 years old?
The minimum age requirement to rent a car with Hertz is 20. However, exceptions are made in New York and Michigan where drivers can rent at the age of 18.
Q: Can I rent a car if I have pending tickets in my name?
Car rental agencies aren’t required by law to check driving records but some do. So if you do have unpaid parking tickets this can affect your ability to rent a car especially if you have several of them. Some rental car companies don’t check the renter’s driver’s history because this absolves them of any responsibility. Instead, they’ll rent to any driver with a valid license.
Q: Does Enterprise run a credit check?
If you are paying with a debit card, Enterprise will run a credit check.
Q: Which car rentals are best for drivers under the age of 25?
Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Enterprise are all partnered with the AAA and the USAA. If you are enrolled in the AAA or USAA fees and surcharges for drivers under 25 years old are waived.