Can You Rent a Car Under 25?
When you’re under the age of 25, your mobility is often limited even if you have a valid driver’s license and a credit card. Many young renters in their early 20s spend their time at work or in school in major metropolitan areas or big cities. Combined with the high costs of living and other bills, it’s not uncommon for young people under 25 to avoid buying their dream cars or specialty vehicles for at least a few years.
But that does mean that they may need to rent a car, whether it’s to go on vacation, visit family, or commute to work. Young adults under 25 will quickly run into a worrying question: can they rent a car under 25?
Yes, they can… but with several strings attached. Today, let’s explore what it really means to rent a car under 25 and break down whether it’s a good idea to do so.
Age Limits for Car Rentals
Just like getting your driver’s license, car rental companies typically have age requirements, especially for premium cars like full-size SUVs. They don’t let just anyone rent a car, especially a newly licensed 16-year-old who may not have the experience or responsibility appropriate for renting a vehicle from anyone.
Generally, the age limitation for renting a vehicle is 21 years old. This is true throughout the US except for the states of New York and Michigan; in these states, the minimum age is 18.
There’s also an exception to the above rule if you are a US government employee. US government employees may rent a vehicle from any location in the US if they are 18 years of age or older. However, they have to show the official orders requiring the vehicle to the rental location.
For example, an 18-year-old police officer who requires a vehicle for work purposes can rent one even if he or she isn’t 21.
You should also note that individual locations or commercial companies may opt to lower the general rule from 21 to 20 or 19. It’s all dependent on state rules or the policies of individual car companies. Still, your best bet when renting a car is to assume that rental qualifications require that you be 21 or older in order to make a reservation.
Underage Driver’s Fees
While you can rent a car under the age of 25, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily smart. One of the reasons why it’s tough to rent a car under the age of 25 is because of extra fees, often called the young renter fee, young driver fee, or young driver surcharge.
An underage driver’s fee is an extra fee billed to the reservation account or purchase order when a driver under the age of 25 rents a vehicle. This car rental fee is usually charged to cover the expected extra costs and insurance premiums associated with younger drivers.
Simply put, drivers under the age of 25 are statistically more likely to get into a car accident, especially if they are male. Because of this, car rental agencies may allow you to rent a vehicle from their lots, but they may charge you more money to offset this increased risk.
Just how much are these driver fees? It depends on the state and your age. For example, car rental companies in Michigan typically charge drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 another $40 per day on top of the standard rental rate. Drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 are charged $19 extra per day in addition to the standard rate.
New York rental car companies are similar. They charge another $64.50 per day for drivers between the ages of 18 and 20. Drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 are saddled with another $24.50 charge per day on top of the standard rate.
These rates are heavily dependent on individual companies and states. Once again, it may be wise to call ahead if you plan to rent a car under the age of 25 so you know how much it will actually cost you rather than going by the standard rate found on a company’s website or brochure.
Car Rental Limits
That’s not all. Drivers under the age of 25 may face additional limitations and restrictions.
For instance, many locations only allow young drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 to rent from vehicle classes like:
- Economy cars
- Standard cars
- Compact cars
- Compact SUVs
- Standard SUVs
- Pickup trucks
They may not allow young drivers to drive larger vehicles like 12-passenger vans, premium SUVs, minivans, or trucks. Sports cars or luxury vehicles for prom are also usually off-limits for drivers under the age of 25.
This can severely limit the available vehicles for your needs. But remember that the exact list of limited vehicles varies from company to company.
Is It Wise To Rent a Car Under 25?
Generally, no, due to the increased costs and the potential hit to your credit.
There may come a time when you need to rent a car under the age of 25 and can’t afford to go without your own set of wheels for a few days, weeks, or even months. In those circumstances, you may be forced to rent a car under 25 even if it’s more expensive than average.
However, it’s usually best to avoid renting a car under 25 if at all possible. Renting a car under 25 is much more expensive than renting a car after you hit that magic number.
Additionally, your insurance premiums will likely go up if you rent a car under 25. Again, this is because of the statistical probability of getting into an accident under 25.
Then you have to consider that renting a car often requires undergoing a soft or hard credit check. When you are first building credit in your early 20s, even a small bump to your score could prevent you from getting a student loan or from achieving other life goals by several months or even years. It’s typically best to avoid taking on extra debt or renting expensive things when you are young so your credit score can grow unhindered.
So, bottom line: rent a car under 25 if you must, but try to avoid it if you can. It’s a better idea to simply buy a manageable vehicle you can maintain or rely on public transportation systems if you live in a metropolitan area. If you have to rent a car, do your research to find the most affordable renter in your area.
As you can see, renting a car under 25 is more than possible. But it might not be the best idea given the extra fees and costs that come with a rental contract. On top of that, your selection of vehicles is severely limited until you become 25 and enter a new insurance bracket.
Still need a car for one reason or another? Good news—Advantage Rent a Car offers rental vehicles to everyone, even if you are under 25. We can make getting to or from the airport quick and simple with a car you can appreciate. We even offer one of the largest vehicle selections for under 25 drivers, so you won’t feel limited by your age.
Contact us today or check out our vehicle catalog for more information!
How Age And Gender Affect Car Insurance Rates | Forbes
Is a Credit Check Required to Rent a Car? | Experian
Age Requirement to Rent a Car | USA Today