Young people love to travel and explore new places. But renting a car when you're under 25 can be quite a hassle sometimes. It seems like there are a bunch of restrictions, conditions, additional requirements and fees for car rentals under 25. But don't worry, most car rental companies allow young drivers under 25 to rent a car these days.
What’s the Minimum Age to Rent a Car?
Most rental car companies prefer drivers who are over 20 years old or even older. This stems from the latest available data on driver involvement in accidents and the risk of driving, which has shown that most car accidents are caused by young people between the ages of 16 and 24, making the risk of car accidents higher than any other age group due to less experience.
In most European countries, the minimum age to drive a car is 18, which means that most teenagers over the age of 18 have already obtained their driver's licenses. In the US, there is a graduated licensing system for novice drivers, where those under 16 are given a learner's permit and are allowed to drive when accompanied by a parent or guardian. However, these rules do not apply when it comes to hiring a car.
The minimum age for renting a car varies from country to country and also from car rental provider to car rental provider. For example, the minimum age for renting a car is 21 years or older for most providers in the US and Canada. In the UK, most car hire providers prefer drivers over the age of 21. In some European countries, it is possible to rent a car from the age of 18.
The minimum age may also depend on the vehicle you wish to rent from each car hire provider.
Make sure you check what that age is assigned by the country you are visiting and the car rental companies' terms and conditions to avoid any issues.
Country Minimum age to rent a car
- US: 21 years old (depending on the state)
- Canada: 21 years old
- UK: 21 years old
- France: 21 years old
- Spain: 21 years old
- Italy: 18 years old
- Germany: 18 years old
- Portugal: 18 years old
- Ireland: 21 years old
- Greece: 21 years old
- Iceland: 20 years old
- Netherlands: 21 years old
- Switzerland: 19 years old
What are the Young Driver requirements?
To rent a car in most countries, you must:
- Be over 21 years of age,
- Have a valid driver's license (some rental car companies require that you have had your license for at least one year before renting a car),
- Have a valid credit card (but be careful: car rental companies only accept credit cards with the name of the main driver),
- Have a record of no demerit points or fines.
We recommend that you read the terms and conditions of your chosen car hire company or contact them directly to find out what their specific requirements are.
What documents do I need to hire a car under the age of 25?
When you arrive at the car rental or pickup location, you must bring the following documents with you.
- A full driving license,
- Proof of identity in the form of a valid photo ID (ID card or passport),
- A credit card in the name of the main driver with a sufficient credit limit (check how much limit you need before renting),
- International driving license (if required - only for those with a non-EU driving license),
- DVLA code (for those hiring a car with a UK driving license).
Why is it important for me to check my age before booking a car rental?
Be careful when renting a car online and make sure you enter the correct personal information in the booking form. In recent years, we have noticed that many of our younger customers who car rentals under 25, have forgotten to provide their actual age and have put up the default driving age, which is between 30 and 65. This action can lead to some unwanted problems for both the young renter and the car rental company or supplier.
It is very important to tell a car rental company the correct age of a young driver. Once you know the correct age and have it in the system, we can provide you with the correct fees and car rental providers that allow young drivers under the age of 25 to rent a car. Other additional fees may affect your final price depending on age. For example, drivers over the age of 25, can collect a car hire with just basic insurance and place a deposit on their credit card. For drivers under the age of 25, the rental price may already include insurance, in addition to a young driver fee (see below).
Therefore, do a double (age) check before finalizing your booking, because!
Do I have to pay any additional fees for car rentals under 25?
The answer (unfortunately) is YES. Young drivers under the age of 25 are at a significant disadvantage when renting a car, meaning you will most likely have to pay an additional young driver or renter fee. This additional daily fee is added to your original car hire price and is a form of compensation for the 'extra' risk the car hire company takes when a car rental is under 25. Many suppliers, especially in the UK, offer student discounts or have lower additional fees if hiring a car for longer periods. The amount of the additional fee is set by the car hire provider and can vary from company to company. The amount will be charged to your credit card along with the price of the rental car when you complete the online booking. To find out how much your additional fee will be, please contact your car hire provider.
Is there a way to avoid paying the additional fee?
As the popular proverb goes: "where there's a will, there's a way". With some car rental companies and providers, you can minimize or, better yet, avoid additional fees through individual memberships.
- AAA Membership - young drivers between the ages of 20 and 24 who live in the U.S. and have an annual membership can avoid paying the Young Drivers or Renters fee. They are also provided roadside assistance. If you are renting a car outside the U.S., check with the international clubs at AAA Exchange where this membership can be applied.
- USAA - If you are a family member of an active or retired military member, you may qualify for a free exemption through USAA in some cases.
Are there any vehicle restrictions, if I am under 25?
In other words, what car can you rent if you are a young driver is your question. We have to tell you car rentals under 25 years of age might affect (and restrict ) your car selection with certain car hire companies.
But don't worry, you can still rent a full economy car that will get you from point A to point B, no questions asked. Keep in mind, however, if you had your heart set on the option of renting sports or luxury, higher-class cars are practically slim to none.
I am from the UK, what do I need to be aware of?
Pretty much all of the standard rules (mentioned) apply to you if you rent a car under 25. The biggest difference you will most likely experience is driving on the right-hand side when outside the UK.
You will also need the DVLA code, which the rental car company can check your driving record held in the DVLA database. In this database, they will be able to see penalty points (if they have any) and the vehicles they are allowed to drive. Once you have obtained your DVLA code, it will be valid for 21 days. So keep this in mind if you are going away for any length of time.
If you are considering driving your rental car outside the UK, check with the car hire company first to see if this is even allowed and what kind of additional insurance you may need to take out. If driving a rental car outside the UK is not allowed, you can rent a car in the country you are travelling to. This will help you avoid further problems and additional costs. Also, if you are planning a road trip through Europe, there is the option of renting a car in one country and dropping it off in another. This way, you won't have to drive back to your starting point. However, this option can be a bit of a hassle.
In most European countries, you need to carry warning triangles, first aid kits, breathalyzers, high visibility vests, spare car lights and so on. You will also need to buy a vignette in countries like Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia if the rental car doesn't have one. If you will be driving your rental car under 25 in Spain and Italy, you will need to obtain an International driver' permit as well.
We strongly recommend that you check the driving regulations and requirements of the rental car company and the country you will be visiting before embarking on your trip!
We here at Orbit Car Hire wish you a memorable and great road trip!