You usually have to be 25 years old to rent a car at many of the leading car rental services, but many of these companies have exceptions for people 21 years old.
Check on individual car rental websites under their FAQ section to make certain, if you’re 18-24, because you never know. I’ve included the current minimum age policies for Avis, Hertz and National Car Rentals below, as an indication of exactly how varied these policies can be.
You’ll notice when you start to look at individual age restrictions one thing about when companies lets someone under 25 rent a car: surcharges and “age differential” fees.
Even if you get to rent a vehicle, if you’re between 18 and 24, you’ll usually have to pay for the privilege. This is to offset the higher risk of damage to the car, much the same way that people under 25 have to pay higher car insurance premiums.
Even then, most car rental companies don’t rent to people under 21 years old. Certain countries and even certain U.S. states have few restrictions, so check to see if your state has lower age restrictions.
Minimum Age Restrictions at Car Rental Places
Every single car rental corporation has different policies, so it’s worth it to check out what each new company has. Don’t take the Hertz and Avis policies as the end-all for the entire industry. These corporate policies might change eventually, anyway, but even if Hertz and Avis never come off their age restrictions, others might, if they think they can wolf customers.
For example, Budget Car Rentals allows people 21-25 to rent cars, under certain type restrictions. Certain Budget locations have fees and surcharges to offset the costs they might incur from this policy. But let’s look at the minimum age policies of Avis, Hertz and National.
Hertz Rental Cars Minimum Age Restrictions
Most Hertz rentals have a minimum age of 25, including the Hertz Prestige Collections and the Hertz Fun Collection. A number of the plans including an “Age Differential Charge”, which lets you rent Hertz cars at age 21-and-up on certain plans, if you pay a special fee.
Avis Rental Cars Minimum Age Restrictions
Car renters at Avis Rental Cars must be at least 21 years old in all cases, but they must be 25 or older, when renting specific car classes. The list of Avis cars you have to be 25 to rent include luxury cars, specialty cars, minivans, passenger vans, full-size SUVs and premium SUVs.
Pretty much, any vehicle they expect someone 21 to 24 to pile a bunch of their reckless buddies into, you can’t rent. Also, Avis won’t let the younger twenty-something crowd to rent their luxury, specialty and premium vehicles.
National Car Rentals Minimum Age Requirements
National Rental Cars are a lot more complicated, but that means you might qualify to rent cars at an earlier age, if you live in the right location and you’re willing to pay extra fees. The standard age to rent cards with National is a minimum of 25, like the others, but there are plenty of exceptions. Additionally, other potential drivers (passengers) must meet the same eligibility requirements as the primary driver.
21 is the minimum age for “international tour accounts” and “corporate contracts”. For military or government personnel, though, the minimum age might be reduced to 18 years, if you are traveling under “official government orders”. Government officials and military personnel traveling on “leisure” trips must be at least 21 years of age. There are additional exceptions, including New York State, Michigan, Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Guam, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Jamaica and the United Kingdom.
National Car Rental – New York and Michigan
Young New Yorkers are in luck, because the minimum age for rental is 18 years. Unfortunately, that comes with a $70 surcharge per day for ages 18-20 and a $23.50 charge for ages 21-24. In Michigan, the minimum age for rental is 18 years old. For ages 18-20, the age surcharge is $28, while the age surcharge for ages 21-24 is $14. Like with everything else, living is expensive in New York.
National Rental Car Age Limits by Country
- Austria – 19 years old, with restrictions on vehicle types for ages 19-24.
- Canada – 21 years of age, with an underage daily fee of $30 on ages 21-24. Certain restrictions apply.
- Cyprus – 23 years minimum rental age, 75 years maximum rental age.
- Germany – 21 minimum rental age, with additional fees for 21-24 year olds. Restrictions on vehicle types for ages 21-30.
- United Kingdom – Rental rates higher for ages 21-24, while 25 is the standard age minimum on larger vehicles and specialty cars.
- Guam – 18 years old.
- Ireland – 24 is the minimum age, 74 the maximum age. Restrictions apply for ages 24-26 (with underage fee). For drivers from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Israel, the minimum age is 30.
- Israel – 24 is the minimum rental age.
- Italy – 19 is the minimum rental age, though restrictions apply for ages 21-24.
- Jamaica – 21 is the minimum rental age, 80 is the maximum age limit. $3 underage fee is charged to 21-22 year olds. 1 additional driver is no fee, but additional drivers beyond that cost $3 per day.