Underage Car Rental Trip Tips for Students?

You have probably not celebrated your 25th birthday but want to rent a car to take a road trip down south or north to visit mum or unwind. Will the car rental companies rent you a car? The answer is a resounding yes! Under 25 car rental is possible. At an extra cost and with a few restrictions you will be good to go.

How old to rent a car in the USA?

In a majority of countries, car rental for 18-year-olds is available. The companies rent cars to these young adults but often with restrictions on the choice of cars and at an additional fee referred to as a Young Driver Fee.

The minimum age to rent a car in the United States and Canada is 21 years. Probably you are asking yourself why? Yet you can risk your life and serve in the military or even buy a car at the lower age of 18. Relax, you are going to find out why.

This is however not the case in the states of Michigan and New York where the minimum age is slightly lower at 18 years of age.

Below are some of the rental car companies that allow under 25 drivers in the USA:

  • Enterprise
  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Thrifty
  • Dollar
  • Hertz
  • Advantage
  • ACE
  • Routes
  • Fox
  • Sixt

Cheap under 25 car rental companies in the USA

  • National
  • Enterprise
  • Alamo
  • Advantage

Call your car rental company before making reservations to know their policies on the minimum age of renting and their terms. This is because rates vary from one company to another.

Why do you have to be 25 to rent a car?

According to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to be involved in car accidents than older drivers. This is attributed to them being willing to take more risks and inexperience. Incidences of accidents drastically reduce after the age of 25 compared to below 25. That explains why rental car age requirements favor older drivers.

However, holders of valid driving licenses who are between the ages of 20-24 or for that matter 18-24 in the two sates of Michigan and New York, are able to rent cars with 14CARS.com.Only that they will have to pay a Young Driver Fee. So drivers seeking car rental under 25yrs age, all is not lost.

What is the Young Driver Fee?

This is an extra fee that is charged along with the standard car rental rate for reservations of drivers under 25. Drivers under 25 are more likely to be involved in car accidents according to the NHTSA

Hence, a Young Driver Fee is added to the standard rental fee to compensate the companies for the extra risk when young drivers rent their cars. Figures show that renting to drivers under 25 is riskier. But the risk reduces substantially after the age of 25. The rental company, therefore, has to cover the risk by charging an extra fee.

Exemptions to the car rental USA under 25 rule

  • AAA membership
  • USAA membership
  • Government or Military (should be on duty)

How much is the under 25 car rental fee?

The young driver fee varies from one company to another. This is added on top of the standard rental rate to find the total that will be paid. Below are young driver fees from some companies:

Car Rental company Young Driver Fee
Alamo 20 USD
Advantage 25 USD
Avis 27 USD
Budget 27 USD
Dollar 29 USD
Enterprise 20 USD
Hertz 29 USD
National 20 USD
Sixt 25-30 USD
Thrifty 29 USD

The fee is charged per day and is for drivers between the age of 21-24.

What you should know before you rent a car in the USA

  • Fuel. You are required to return the car with the same amount of fuel you rented it with.
  • Toll. As a renter, you are responsible to pay your toll fees and not the car rental company.
  • Late and early returns. Late returns will attract an extra fee which will vary from one company to another. An early return will however not attract a refund.
  • Traffic and Parking tickets. Any tickets due to parking or traffic violations are the responsibility of the renter and not the car rental company.

What you need to rent a car in the United States

  • Identification to prove your age.
  • Valid driving license.
  • Valid form of payment.
  • Young Driver Fee settled upfront.

Car rental for drivers under 25 is possible in the USA only that it will cost more. This is mainly because insurance companies also charge companies more to insure rentals to those under 25 and in turn, rental companies have no option but to pass it down to the young drivers to cushion themselves.