If you fly to a fun destination or your ride breaks down, renting a car has you covered. But not every driver qualifies for a rental due to their age.
This means if you are searching for a car rental and you‘re not yet 25, you may be stopped in your tracks. Almost universally, rent-a-car companies do not typically rent their vehicles to anyone under 25 and it is perfectly legal for them to do that. Here’s how to rent a vehicle in your name even if you are underaged.
Step No. 1 – Find a Company with Exceptions to the Rule
The age 25 minimum is not a hard and fast rule with every company. Certainly, you may not qualify for a luxury car rental or a sports car rental, but you might qualify for dozens of other models.
Companies that make exceptions to the rule include the Dollar, Thrifty, and Hertz brands. All three are owned by Hertz. Others making an exception to the rule include Enterprise, Avis, Budget, Alamo, Advantage, and Alamo. Even Turo, the company that arranges rentals between private owners and consumers, has an exceptions clause.
Step No. 2 – Find the Age Restrictions
Even with the Under 25 exception, not everyone qualifies for a rental car. Most companies, though, allow drivers from 20-24 to apply for a car rental. In a few instances, drivers as young as 18 may also be eligible per state law.
The one exception applies to drivers under 18. We have not seen a single company make an allowance for the youngest drivers. Most likely, companies want drivers with at least some behind-the-wheel experience in addition to holding legal liability in the event of an accident.
Step No. 3 – Read the Fine Print
Just because a company allows you to rent their cars under special exceptions does not mean you will want to move forward with them. The devil is in the details, and it is the contract that reveals whether an offer is worth pursuing or not.
Through our research, we discovered that there is a common thread for those car rental companies that allow younger drivers. Firstly, you need to hold a valid driver’s license for at least one year. Moreover, you must be in good standing. This means no recent suspensions may appear on your record.
Secondly, drivers must possess a valid debit or credit card. This means the name on the card must match the name of the person renting the vehicle. Thirdly, be prepared to pay the Younger Renter Fee (as Dollar and Enterprise call it) or the Youthful Surcharge (Alamo). Regardless of the name, be prepared to pay an extra $20 to $29 per day on top of the other fees.
Step No. 4 – Rent a Car
The last step in the rent a car process involves following through on your decision. Usually, this means making a reservation online to secure your ride. You’ll be required to choose the location where you’ll retrieve the car, supply the dates of the rental, and list the class of vehicle desired (e.g., compact SUV, large pickup truck, midsize sedan).
Next, supply your payment information. Companies usually allow drivers to either pay in entirety or to supply their debit or credit card for full payment later. Opt for collision insurance if your personal insurance doesn’t cover that. Once you complete the reservation, you’ll receive a receipt with your reservation number and other pertinent details.
Finally, on the day of the rental, head to your rental car location with your driver’s license and debit or credit card to get the keys to your vehicle. Head to the vehicle, perform a walkaround to ensure everything is okay, start the car, and record your mileage. Ensure that the gas tank is full before leaving as you will refuel it before dropping it off.
Under Age Rent a Car
Individual companies may have special rules for drivers. For instance, Enterprise rents cars to U.S. government employees as young as 18 provided the drivers supply their official orders. As for other rules and restrictions, check with the car rental company.
See Also — How to Find Affordable Car Rentals