If you are lucky enough to pass your test at the age of 16, you might feel as if the world is already your oyster. However, when it comes to renting, some car rental agencies have fairly stringent rules on what age drivers can rent a car with them. Therefore, you may be wondering what your chances of renting a car are if you have an upcoming vacation on the horizon.
Not all is lost, however, if you are under 25 – it’s just a matter of understanding why younger drivers are restricted on rentals.
How old do you have to be to rent a car?
Generally speaking, car rental agencies tend to set their minimum age limit at 20, or as is most common, 21 – as this is often considered the theoretical age of adulthood. At E-Z Rent A Car, for example, the minimum age is 21. Interestingly, there are a few exceptions to this rule. New York and Michigan allow you to rent a vehicle at just 18 years old – but you will often find that a charge is applied to drivers at such a young age.
The reason for this is understandable too, as teen drivers (in particular) are most likely to be involved in a car crash collision. The teen bracket is not only the bracket of inexperienced drivers but also those who have very recently passed their test. It’s understandable that many agencies would not want to let young drivers use a rental car for practice.
Let’s be clear, too – in terms of renting under the legal age restriction, underage car rental is also illegal. So, if you are over the age of 21 and are in need of a car rental – you are in luck.
Why is it so hard to rent a car under the age of 25?
As you might suspect, a lot of this comes down to the reputation of young drivers. In fact, statistically-speaking, younger drivers do tend to cause more accidents – which is not a surprise. You will often see statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on car rental websites as a way of explaining their policies. Younger drivers are far less experienced, and perhaps a bit too over-confident, depending on who you talk to. Car rental under 25 is not impossible, but it may come with a few extra fees on top. Choosing a cheaper agency will help mediate this extra charge.
It’s important to know that, just like any other drivers, you will incur a fee for any damages – or indeed a crash. If you are under 25 and are concerned about your chances of renting a car, it’s a good precaution to pay extra attention when driving. If you feel you may live up to the reputation the statistics have given people of your age, then you would be wise to drive carefully.
Generally speaking, you do not need insurance to rent a car under the age of 25 – or indeed at all. This is certainly the case for E-Z Rent A Car. If you have your own driver’s insurance, then this is absolutely fine – but it is not a requirement. While some agencies may prefer that you do have an insurance policy, it is not a legal requirement to drive at this age.
What are the benefits?
The total cost of owning your own car can be pretty pricey. Sometimes renting a car can be a much more cost-effective option, even with the extra charges for being under 25 added on top.
Of course, there’s also the benefit of freedom. Whether you’re a local resident or are renting a car to enjoy a long-awaited vacation, you won’t have to rely on public transport to get you from A to B. So, if you are looking at the extra charges you may incur for being a young driver, it’s worth looking at the broader picture – as it may still be worth your while.
It can be tough being a young driver. You are often lumbered with a cheaper, less road-worthy car than more senior drivers, and you are still learning to become a good driver through experience. All is not lost, though. You can still rent a car after the age of 21 in all states, and the cost of renting one may outweigh the cost of purchasing a new car. By contacting a rental car agency, you may soon find out that you’ll be hitting the open road sooner than you think.