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The Best Car Hire for Young Drivers (and Under-21s)
5 Comments | Add Comment | Article posted 25th July, 2014
If you re under 21 it can be difficult to find anywhere to rent a car. In some countries, like most states in America for example, you have to be over 25. In the UK the standard age is 22 or 23 depending on the company and the vehicle. In most countries throughout the world you will be able to find somewhere to rent a car if you are under 21, but it ll mean more time looking and more money spent.
In this guide we ll tell you all you need to know about renting a vehicle if you re under 21. As well as recommending our favourite brokers and rental providers, we ll give you some useful tips for things to watch out for.
Often you ll stand more of a chance of renting a car if you visit a small, independent provider. Small companies usually have more flexible rules and can decide to rent vehicles to younger drivers if business is quiet.
Instead of booking in advance, it s a good idea to visit the company in person. Sometimes companies will offer you older cars as they ll be less concerned about damage. There are companies who specialise in older vehicles for younger drivers, like Cairns Older Car Hire in Australia for example. Sometimes older cars will have limited mileage and there are likely to be different conditions attached to your policy than if you were renting a newer car. Remember to read the small print before buying.
There have been news stories about rogue traders offering attractive deals to young drivers. Watch out for Burton car hire, sometimes trading under the name HBC or BCH rentals. Aside from the news story, they have plenty of negative reviews online and should be avoided. Unfortunately, young drivers are often seen as easy targets because they are less likely to question a higher rental cost and different rental terms.
Young driver surcharge
Because rental companies see younger drivers as more of a risk they will almost always charge a surcharge on top of the basic rental fee. Sometimes surcharges are not included in the price you re quoted online and you ll have to pay it when you collect the vehicle. In the UK you can pay as much as £40 per day just for the surcharge. In the States expect to pay at least $20 per day.
Younger drivers, tighter rules
A lot of companies that rent vehicles to under 21s will have tighter rental rules. As well as a surcharge you might be charged an additional fee if you have endorsements on your licence. Also, if you re securing the deposit with someone else s credit card, the provider might require that person to be present as well. Also, it s likely that your excess will be considerably higher than usual.
Although the minimum rental age in most of America is 25, different states have different laws, and it is possible to rent a car if you are under 21. Fox Rent A Car will rent any of their vehicles to 19 and 20 year olds. That includes SUVs, sports cars, Jeeps and convertibles. They will charge a surcharge of $14 a day.
See our very own Petrol Prices guide for car hire in the US here .
Top Rental Provider*
- 5 stars out of 5
Avis is one of the only large providers in the UK that rent cars to drivers aged 17-25 .
Avis have been around since 1946 and currently operate in over 5,000 locations in 165 countries. They are a well-respected rental company with a loyal customer base. What s more, their website is clear and their pricing is transparent.
If you are under 25 you will have to pay a surcharge of at least £37 per day , depending on the vehicle. Even though this surcharge makes the rental a lot more expensive, Avis are much more upfront about their prices than a lot of other rental companies, meaning you won t get any nasty surprises when you go to collect the vehicle.
Online prices include:
- Young driver surcharge.
- Vehicle registration fee.
- Local tax.
- Damage cover (not including excess ).
- Unlimited mileage.
- Theft protection.
Note, drivers under 25 will only be able to rent vehicles in categories A (mini), B (economy), and C (small compact).
Also note, paying online in advance will work out slightly cheaper.
Top price comparison website/broker*
121 car hire search lots of rental providers to find you the best deal, including big names like National, Budget, Thrifty, and Sixt. When searching for a vehicle you will be asked to enter the driver s age. For various UK locations we found deals for 17-25 year olds for compact and economy cars.
Drivers aged below 25 will have to pay a £39 surcharge which is not included in the final price shown in your online booking and is payable when collecting the vehicle either in cash or credit card.
The rental packages depend on who you rent with, but most through 121 car hire include the following benefits:
- Free basic breakdown cover.
- Free collision damage waiver.
- No credit card fees.
- Unlimited mileage.
*Quoted prices relate to a 24 hour rental for the cheapest vehicle (usually a compact or economy car) where the vehicle is returned to the same location. Other options such as insurance, GPS, and additional drivers will vary in price.
- It might not be possible for young drivers to rent a car in advance. You will be more likely to get a car as a walk-in customer, especially during quiet periods.
- Holiday destinations usually have lots of rental companies competing with each other, and often they are more desperate for your business.
- Smaller rental companies are more likely to take you on than big ones. Independent businesses are usually more flexible in their rules.
- There are specialist companies in different locations throughout the world who will find the best deals for young drivers. Try car rental scout. drive Africa. and New Zealand rental car hire .
- Often you will only be able to rent the smallest, cheapest cars available.
- Some providers will offer you older vehicles, or there might be rental companies specialising in older vehicles. Remember to read the small print before buying.
- Check the rental company cover you for insurance. Sometimes you will have to pay extra for 3rd party insurance.
- Remember to have a credit card to hand to secure a deposit. Smaller rental companies might ask you to leave a cash deposit but this is rare.
- Sometimes rental companies will allow a parent, colleague, or friend to rent a car and then have you named as an under-age driver, though adding additional drivers will usually involve an extra charge, especially when the additional driver is under 21.
Reviews for The Best Car Hire for Young Drivers (and Under-21s)
mr crossland August 19, 2015
cant believe that young people today are being penalised for the actions of the few after all they are not all bad drivers is it not like saying that if someone was a thief and came form your neighbourhood then all of you that live in that neighbourhood are thieves. Did you not all take the same test of competence to be told then that you are irresponsible and not competent doesn’t sound like an equal footing to me.
Josh May 10, 2015
report reply to Josh
So they say on the website you need to have had your license for 12 months. Is this an update since you guys tried or is there more to it than they are saying?
Lynda wheeler November 19, 2014
fahez January 21, 2015