Age Requirements to Rent A Car in the U.S. [Rental Agency Breakdown]

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Whether you’re looking to take a road trip with your friends or head home for the holidays, we all need to rent a car from time to time. For those 25 and over, the process is pretty straightforward, but for younger individuals, there are no clear-cut rules.

Rental companies individually define their terms for young renters, and all charge “under 25” fees that range from $20 to $84 per rental day, depending on your age and the rental location. These fees can often double the total rental cost, so be sure to check out our suggestions below on how you can avoid young renter fees.

Renting a Car Under 25

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that young drivers are more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents and pose a higher risk than older drivers when renting vehicles. This doesn’t mean that you can’t rent a car if you’re under 25, but you will be charged a premium for the privilege.

Renting a Car Under 21

Car rental agencies have policies and fees for young renters (detailed below), and most have a minimum rental age of 21. There are several exceptions when 18- to 20-year-olds are permitted to rent a car. Government mandates in Michigan and New York dictate that agencies must rent to those aged 18 to 20; however, rental agencies charge even higher young driver fees when renting from these offices.

Minimum Rental Age by State

Although most states require you to be 18 to rent a vehicle (as that is the age you can legally sign a contract), car rental agencies dictate minimum age policies. Typically, agencies rent to drivers aged 25 and over without incurring any additional fees. They will usually rent to younger drivers aged 21 and over; however, a fee will be charged to cover the risk.

The only states that legally determine the minimum age for car rentals are Michigan, New York, and Mississippi. In Michigan and New York, car rental agencies must rent to those aged 18 and over, and in Mississippi, it’s 21 years old.

What Do You Need to Rent a Car?

To rent a car in the U.S., you will need to present the following items at the rental office:

  • Identification to prove that you meet the minimum age restriction
  • Valid driving license (some rental companies require a license to be held for at least 1 year before renting)
  • Valid form of payment, including a credit card or debit card with available funds
  • Young driver fees settled upfront at the rental office

Hot Tip: Insurance is another must-have when renting a car, but this can be expensive when purchasing it directly with the car rental agency. Take a look at the best credit cards for car rental insurance coverage

How to Avoid Young Renter Fees

Book With Carla

Carla Young Driver Fee Waivered
Carla waives the young driver fee with many rentals. Image Credit: Carla

Carla is an online travel agent that offers many rental options with agencies such as Alamo, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National. Many offers waive the “under 25” fee, and these options are clearly identifiable on the results page. This applies to Carla’s “Surprise Supplier” deals, where you don’t find out the agency until after you’ve booked, and some of its standard deals.

AAA Membership

If you’re renting with Hertz and are aged 20 to 24, your young renter’s fee will be waived with AAA membership. Classic membership ranges from $38 to $74, so you’ll save money, especially if you rent more than once a year.

USAA Membership

If you have USAA membership (available to active duty, Guard, or Reserve U.S. military and veterans and their eligible family members), you benefit from no young driver fees. Renting with Avis, Budget, or Hertz, 18- to 24-year-olds will have their fees waived, and with Enterprise, this applies to 21- to 24-year-olds.

Government or Military

Most car rental agencies will allow customers aged 18 and over to rent a vehicle if they are a government employee or serving in the U.S. military. Policies vary between the rental agencies, but many require the renter to be traveling on business to be eligible for the waived young driver fees.

Hot Tip: If you’re on a real budget, take a look at our guide on how to save money on car rentals.

Young Driver Policies and Age Requirements by Rental Agency

Alamo

Alamo Young Renter Fee
Alamo young renter fee. Image Credit: Alamo

Alamo requires drivers to be at least 21 years of age to rent a vehicle. Renters aged between 21 and 24 will be charged a “youthful surcharge” that costs an average of $20 extra per day, depending on the rental location. The young person fee for those under the age of 21 renting in New York is $65 per day and $42 when renting in Michigan.

Advantage

Advantage Car Rental
Advantage Car Rental. Image Credit: Advantage Rent A Car

The minimum age for renting with Advantage is 21; however, renters aged 21 to 24 will be charged a $25 per day young renters surcharge. Young renters are also required to hold their own — or be a named driver — on a full automobile policy. Young renters are only permitted to rent economy through to full-size vehicles.

Avis

Avis Young Renters Fee
Avis underage surcharge. Image Credit: Avis

The usual minimum rental age for Avis is 21; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been reduced to 18 for students with a valid student ID. 18- to 24-year-olds are permitted to rent economy through full-size vehicles, minivans, small pick-up trucks, and intermediate SUVs.

In most states, the daily young renter’s fee is $27, with these exceptions:

Michigan

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $41
  • 21- to 24-year-olds. $28

New York

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $84
  • 21- to 24-year-olds: $35

Budget

Budget Young Renters Fee
Budget underage surcharge. Image Credit: Budget

Budget’s standard policy is to rent to those over the age of 21, but for a limited time, this has been reduced to 18 years old for students. In most locations, young renters are subject to a surcharge of $27 per day and are not permitted to rent specialty vehicles, passenger vans, and full-size or premium SUVs.

In Michigan and New York, specific young driver fees apply:

Michigan

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $41
  • 21- to 24-year-olds. $27

New York

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $52
  • 21- to 24-year-olds: $35

Dollar

Dollar Young Renters
Image Credit: Dollar

Throughout the U.S. and Canada, the minimum rental age with Dollar is 20 years old. Renters aged 20 to 25 will be charged $29 per day in most states and may rent all vehicle classes, excluding some specialty cars. Young renter fees are not displayed when booking online, but you will be asked for identification when picking up the vehicle and charged accordingly.

In Michigan and New York, the following young renter fees apply:

Michigan

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: varies by location
  • 21- to 24-year-olds. varies by location

New York

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $52
  • 21- to 24-year-olds: $35 to $45

Enterprise

Enterprise Young Renter Fee.JPG
Enterprise young renter fee. Image Credit: Enterprise

The minimum age to rent with Enterprise is 21, across all but 2 states (Michigan and New York). Renters aged 21 to 24 will be charged a young renters fee of around $20 per day and may be limited to specific car classes. For a limited time only, Enterprise has lowered its minimum age to 18 for students that display valid student ID.

The following exclusions apply:

Michigan

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $40
  • 21- to 24-year-olds. $19

New York

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $64.50
  • 21- to 24-year-olds: $24.50

Hertz

Hertz Young Driver Fee
Hertz young renter fee waiver. Image Credit: Hertz

Hertz rents to young drivers aged 20+ and charges a surcharge of $29 per day at most rental locations. Young drivers may rent most vehicle classes, excluding Prestige Collection, Dream, and Adrenaline Collection cars.

For states with specific young driver mandates, Hertz charges the following fees:

Michigan

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $52
  • 21- to 24-year-olds. $29

New York

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $52
  • 21- to 24-year-olds: $35-$45

Hot Tip: Until December 31, 2020, young renter fees (drivers 20+) are being waived on certain vehicle groups. Check the details when booking to see which vehicles qualify.  

National

National Young Renter Fee
National young renter fee. Image Credit: National

National has a minimum rental age of 21, with those aged 21 to 24 being charged a $20 daily surcharge on top of the standard rental charge. Young renters may be restricted from renting specific vehicle classes.

If renting in Michigan or New York, the following charges apply:

Michigan

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $42
  • 21- to 24-year-olds. $19

New York

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: 64.50
  • 21- to 24-year-olds: $24.50

SIXT

young adults outside of a van
Image Credit: Monkey Business Images via SIXT

SIXT’s minimum rental age is 21, and drivers aged 21 to 24 are subject to a young renters fee of $25 to $30. Young drivers are only eligible to rent vehicles in the following categories: economy, compact, full-size, intermediate, intermediate SUV, and minivans. In New York, customers aged 18-20 can rent a vehicle for a higher surcharge of $72 and 21- to 24-year-olds, for $49.

Thrifty

Thrifty Young Renters Fee
Image Credit: Thrifty

Thrifty allows customers aged 20+ to rent a vehicle, although young drivers up to 24 will be subject to a young renters fee of $29. Young renters are eligible to rent all vehicle classes, excluding some specialty cars. When renting in New York or Michigan, young renters are charged higher young driver fees of $35 to $52, depending on the location.

Hot Tip: If you need help deciding which car rental agency to use, check out our guide that looks at rates, service, loyalty programs, and more. 

Final Thoughts

Renting a car when you’re under 25 can be a pricey affair, and it may be more cost-efficient for you to fly or take the train to your destination. If you’re taking a road trip with friends, try to designate 1 driver, as any additional drivers will be charged “under 25” fees if they are also under 25.

If you’re hoping to avoid young renter fees altogether, book with Carla, but be prepared for your booking to be non-refundable should your plans change.


Frequently asked questions

How do I get around a young renter fee?

There are several ways you can avoid young renter fees:

  • You can book with Carla — an online travel agent that offers many car rental options that waive the “under 25” fee.
  • If you’re renting with Hertz and are aged 20 to 24, your young renter’s fee will be waived with AAA membership.
  • If you have a USAA membership, you benefit from no young driver fees renting with Avis, Budget, Hertz, or Enterprise.
  • Most car rental agencies will waive the young driver fee for a government employee or serving in the U.S. military, when on business.

What is Hertz young renters fee?

Hertz rents to young drivers aged 20+ and charges a surcharge of $29 per day at most rental locations. For states with specific young driver mandates, Hertz charges the following fees:

Michigan

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $52
  • 21- to 24-year-olds. $29

New York

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $52
  • 21- to 24-year-olds: $35-$45

Until December 31, 2020, young renter fees (drivers 20+) are being waived on certain vehicle groups. Check the details when booking to see which vehicles qualify.

Does Avis rent cars to under 25?

The usual minimum rental age for Avis is 21; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been reduced to 18 for students with a valid student ID.

In most states, the daily young renter’s fee is $27, with these exceptions:

Michigan

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $41
  • 21- to 24-year-olds. $28

New York

  • 18- to 20-year-olds: $84
  • 21- to 24-year-olds: $35

What rental car company does not charge for under 25?

Mostly all rental agencies charge young driver fees for “under 25s” unless they are running a limited-time promotion. If you book your rental on Carla, many of the online travel agent’s offers waive the young driver fee.

Can someone under 25 drive my rental car?

Additional drivers can usually be added to your booking; however, if the driver is under 25, they will be subject to an additional young driver fee.

Amar Hussain

About Amar Hussain

Amar was born and raised in England, UK, embarked on an 11 country round the world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second which ended up being a 23 country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then Amar has endeavored to turn his gap year into a ‘gap life’ and has spent the last 10 years traveling the 7 continents.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

1 comment

  1. At the other end of the age spectrum, some companies reportedly will not rent to older customers. The cutoff ages may be company-wide, or may be set at each location.

    Reply

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