How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent a Car?

Attention Challenger: Everything You Need to Know About Age Limits for Renting a Car

Do you remember when you got your driver’s license for the first time and were thrilled to finally hit the road? For many of us, it is one of the most exciting moments of adolescence. Although, many young drivers can face a significant roadblock when it comes to renting a car. So, the question remains: how old do you have to be to rent a car?

The answer to this question isn’t a straightforward one, with regulations differing from state to state and country to country. However, we’ve laid out everything you need to know in this journal article to ensure you are informed before renting a car.


What is the minimum age to Rent a car?

When it comes to renting a car, there is no definitive age requirement. Car rental policies vary depending on the company, state or country you are renting in. However, the minimum age requirement is typically between 18-25 years old, with an extra young driver fee for those under 21. Some rental car companies may even deny renting a car to drivers under specific age requirements.

What are the reasons for age restrictions?

The restrictions on age are often tied to concerns over experience and risk. Many rental companies consider that younger drivers are less experienced and therefore, more prone to accidents due to overconfidence, recklessness or inexperience. Statistics show that drivers aged 18-24 are up to three times more likely to be involved in an accident than other age groups.

What is the average young driver surcharge?

The surcharge for young drivers is extra fees rental companies charge drivers between 18-21. The surcharge varies based on location, rental company, and length of rental (daily or weekly). In general, the fee ranges from $15 to $35 per day.

What documents do you need to rent a car?

Before you can rent a car, you will need to provide rental companies with a driver’s license and a credit or debit card in your name. If you are renting from another country, you will also need to supply an International Driving Permit.

What is the penalty for renting under the age limit?

It is illegal to misrepresent your age to rent a car or borrow another driver’s license to rent a car if you are underage. These actions can result in significant penalties, including fees, fines, license imprisonment, or even loss of insurance coverage.

How far in advance do you need to book?

The answer to this question varies between rental companies. Many car rental companies allow reservations to be made up to six months in advance. However, to take advantage of the best prices, it is better to make reservations at least one month in advance.

What are the rental requirements for one-way trips?

If you are interested in a one-way rental, you may be asked to pay a one-way fee, which varies by location, time of year, and rental company. Some car rental companies may also have a minimum rental period for one-way trips, ranging from 24-48 hours.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent a Car?

Under 18

Unfortunately, most US car-rental companies require drivers to be at least 18 years old to rent a car legally. However, some states like New York, Michigan, and Colorado have permitted 18-year-olds to rent vehicles with their driver’s licenses. It is always best to check with your rental company fr the specific age requirements before renting a car.

18-20 Years Old

If you’re under 21, there is some good news. Enterprise, Budget, and Hertz provide rentals to those as young as 18. Nonetheless, drivers between 18-20 must pay an extra fee per day in addition to the standard rental rate. Many car rental companies put a cap on the car size that young drivers can rent, so it is wise to book earlier and reserve the car type you require.

21-24 Years Old

If you’re between the ages of 21 and 24, many rental companies won’t charge you extra fees, but certain states may have different requirements. For example, if renting a car in New York, drivers between 21 and 24 years of age would need to pay an additional fee of $57.

25 Years Old and Above

The vast majority of car rental companies don’t impose any extra fees on drivers over 25. Additionally, many rental companies may have promotions for those that rent at this age bracket to attract a larger consumer group.

Car Rental Age Comparison Table

Age Limit Extra Fee Daily (in USD) States with Exceptions
18 15-35 New York, Michigan, and Colorado
19 15-35 N/A
20 15-35 Hertz and Enterprise
21 N/A Everywhere except NY and MI
22 N/A Everywhere except NY and MI
23 N/A Everywhere except NY and MI
24 N/A Everywhere except NY and MI
25-99 N/A None


1. Can I rent a car if I am 17 years old with a driver’s license?

No, as mentioned, many rental car companies’ minimum age for renting is between 18 – 21. It is good to check with your rental company for more specific requirements.

2. Can I rent a car with a learner’s permit?

Unfortunately, most car rental companies prohibit renting to those with a learner’s permit, but it is good to check with your rental company.

3. If my Under 18 is 18, can they rent a car?

Provided they possess a valid driver’s license, most car rental companies will allow 18-year-olds to rent a car. Nevertheless, rental companies charge additional fees and may restrict the types of vehicles for younger drivers. Moreover, regulations vary by location, so it’s best to verify with your rental company.

4. If I’m traveling to Europe or Canada, are age limits for renting cars the same?

No, age restrictions for renting cars differ across countries, states, and rental companies. Generally, most European countries require drivers to be at least 21 years old to rent a car. On the other hand, many car rental companies in Canada permit drivers as young as 18 to rent a vehicle with additional fees.

5. Can I rent a car without a credit card?

No, a valid credit card in the driver’s name is necessary when renting a car as it provides the car rental company with additional security. Ensure that the credit card is not expired to avoid further delays.

6. What happens if I return the car late?

Returning your rental car late may result in additional fees or fines, calculated based on how long the car is held past the scheduled return date. The amount varies depending on the rental company, so make sure you’re aware of their policy before you rent.

7. Are there any restrictions on the type of car I can rent?

Most car rental companies impose restrictions on young drivers regarding the types of cars they can rent. For example, several rental companies limit young drivers from renting larger or luxury cars, which can be prohibitive for groups or families that require larger vehicles.

8. How can I avoid paying additional fees for renting a car at a young age?

It is best to book earlier, shop around for the best insurance rates, and avoid renting emergency vehicles. Additionally, many rental companies have promotional discounts to attract new customers.

9. How much does young driver insurance cost?

No definitive rates indicate how much insurance will cost for a young driver renting a car. The cost varies based on the driver’s age, location, and rental company. Nevertheless, many rental companies offer Collision Damage Waivers, which limit the young driver’s financial responsibility for damage to the car.

10. Can I use an international driver’s license when renting a car?

Yes, when renting a car in a different country, the rental company would require an International Driving Permit (IDP) alongside the license issued in the driver’s home country. Some countries require the IDP as a legal requirement.

11. Can I smoke in rental cars?

No, most car rental companies forbid smoking in their vehicles, so it is best to avoid it or suffer the penalties.

12. Can I choose my vehicle model when renting a car?

Yes, many rental car companies offer rental car preferences, including vehicle models or car sizes. These preferences vary depending on the rental company’s location and availability.

13. What happens if the car is damaged while I am driving?

If the car is damaged while in your possession, you will be obliged to pay for any damage accordance with the rental agreement. However, many rental companies offer Protection Plans, which reduce or eliminate the driver’s liability for damage to the car.


In conclusion, renting a car under the age of 25 years can be challenging. But by doing thorough research, including looking for promotions and discounts, renting a car can be a feasible option. It is necessary to follow and respect the age limits and requirements imposed by car rental companies and governments or you could face serious penalties. So, remember to compare rates and follow proper legal procedures when renting a vehicle.

We hope you found this guide useful and that it has given you some insight into how old you have to be to rent a car. Nevertheless, it is always best to double-check and gain legal insight from experts and rental companies should you ever be in doubt.

Safe travels!

Closing Statement with Disclaimer

The information contained in this guide is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Every rental Company, States and Countries have different policies, and readers must double-check and confirm the information provided, including with legal counsel or specific business rules. All efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information presented herein. Still, the authors shall not be liable for any errors or omissions, nor for any issues arising from the use or reliance on this information.