What age can you rent a car in the USA?

Oliver Jay

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The definition of adulthood can be quite controversial. When you turn 18, you can vote, start up your own business or get a loan for college. At this age, you can even buy a car, but you can’t rent a car until the age of 25. Is this a myth or a true statement? So, until what age do young adults have to wait to rent a car? Are there car rentals for 18-year-old drivers?

How old do you have to be to rent a car in the USA?

The minimum age to rent a vehicle for most countries is 18. 18-year-olds will have the opportunity to book a rental car. However, young adults willing to rent vehicles must be aware of the fact, that they will face certain restrictions on rental fleets available and have to pay additional daily surcharge. The minimum age to rent from Budget without any additional rental fees is 25.

In the United States and Canada, most car rental suppliers provide car rents for individuals aged minimum 21 years old. Nevertheless, in New York and Michigan if you even under 21 car rental is available for you. As minimum age to rent a car in these states is 18 years.

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Thus, car rentals for 19 year olds as well as rental cars for 20 year olds will demand an additional ‘Young Renter Fee’.

Which car Rental Company rents to under 25 drivers in the United States?

You can rent a car under 25 in many local companies: Enterprise, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Dollar, Hertz, Advantage, ACE, Routes, Fox, SIXT and others.

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the statistics, according to which the drivers under 25 are less experienced and more likely to be involved in car accidents than drivers who are older than 25. Younger drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to take risks than older ones. That is why incidences of auto accidents when young people are driving are significantly higher than the accident rates of older drivers.

However, if you are between 20 and 24 years old (or between 18 and 24 in New York or Michigan states) and you are responsible and qualified driver you’ll find rental locations to rent a vehicle. Although, to do so, if you are between the ages of 21 and 24, you will have to pay a ‘Youthful Surcharge’.

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What is the young driver fee?

Young Driver Fee is an additional surcharge that is applied to drivers between the ages 20 and 24 along with the standard car rental rate. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are considerably more car accidents with involved young drivers under 25 years old. Insurance rates are usually much higher for car rentals under 21. Young drivers aged between 20 and 24 are the primary drivers of rental age restrictions, which leads to higher insurance rates.

For decades, the age of 25 was crucial for insurance companies. Adding a Young Renter Fee has allowed US rental companies to reimburse their increased insurance costs while offering rentals to a larger demographic.

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​​ Underage fees are daily fees to offset the rental car company for the extra risk of car incidents when renters under 25 drive their vehicles. According to the statistics, drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to take risks. So, the rental car companies cover this risk by charging an additional surcharge.

Furthermore, all US rental companies waive Young Driver Fees for government employees at 18 years when they are on official business and can show their official orders. 

How much is the under 25 car rental fee? 

  • In Michigan, young adult drivers aged between 18 and 20 will have to pay an additional surcharge of $40.00 per day, and drivers aged between 21 and 24 will have to pay an additional surcharge of $19.00 per day.                  
  • In New York, young adult drivers aged between 18 and 20 will have to pay an additional surcharge of $64.50 per day, while drivers aged between 21 and 24 will have to pay an additional surcharge of $24.50 per day.
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