Can an 18 year old rent a car in the US?
Renting a car when you’re under 25 can be tough. Statistically, people aged 16 to 24 are more likely to get into car accidents, which is why it can be so difficult for younger drivers to rent a vehicle.
Most people don’t think that there are any companies that provide car rentals for 18-year-olds, partly because it is difficult to rent a car without credit card, and usually young adults of that age don’t have yet credit cards.
People assume that in order to rent a car, you have to be at least 25 years old. Thankfully, that’s not the case.
Some companies will rent cars to people who are 21, 20, or even younger than that. Even some companies that sell cars, offer car rental to young adults.
The age you have to be to rent a car varies not only depending on the company you use to rent the vehicle, but also where you are renting it.
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In Michigan and New York, the minimum age to rent a vehicle is just 18-years-old. In Alabama and Nebraska, the minimum age to rent a vehicle is 19 years old. So, in these places, you can rent a car at just 18 or 19 years old.
Some companies do have a minimum age that’s higher than that, so you may need to be 21 for example. But, you certainly DO NOT have to be 25 to get behind the wheel of a rented vehicle.
Below, I’ll cover some companies that allow people under 25 to rent a car.
What will I learn?
Can you rent a car if you’re under 25?
Yes, people under the age of 25 can rent a car with many well-known rental companies like Fox Rent A Car, Hertz, and Dollar providing rentals to people as young as 19 or 20 years old across the country and 18-year-olds in New York and Michigan. U.S military personnel and government employees can also rent vehicles across the country at 18 years old.
Car-sharing companies like Zipcar also offer car rentals for 18-year-olds.
However, young drivers are subject to fees, usually called a Young Renter Fee, on top of the regular rental cost for the vehicle.
Military personnel and government employees who’re 18 years old can often have this fee waived.
How to Rent a Car
Provided you can find a company that will rent cars to your age group, the process of renting a vehicle is pretty simple:
All you will need is a:
- Valid driver’s license: This must be in good standing for over a year, as any recent suspensions could mean that you’re ineligible to rent a vehicle.
- A valid debit or credit card: This must be under the same name as your license.
Then, simply reserve the vehicle, which you can usually do online, and then choose a location where you’ll pick up the car.
You will need to have enough funds of course to cover not only the standard car rental rate, but also the Young Renter Fee. Usually, this is a daily fee, so do keep that in mind when budgeting for the rental.
Please note that most of the time, the Young Renter Fee is not included in any online rates/in the total pricing on the reservation, because age is often not stated during the booking process. You can learn about the fee at your rental location.
Companies that Rent Cards to 18-year-olds
Below, I’ve included companies that rent cars to those who’re under 25 years old.
Hertz is one of the most well-known car rental companies. There are 8,500 Hertz locations including at major airports and cities across 146 countries worldwide.
- Age requirement: 20 years old at most locations in the U.S. 19-years old in Alabama and Nebraska. 18-years-old in New York and Michigan.
- Types of cars available: Compact/midsize, full-size/standard, and SUV/minivan.
- Young renter fee: $19 per day for renters under 25.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is another well-known car rental company. There are 4,193 Enterprise Rent a Car locations in the U.S.
- Age requirement: 21 years old at most places throughout the U.S. 18-years-old in MI and NY. 18-years old for government employees who show their official orders.
- Types of cars available: Economy cars, compact cars, intermediate cars, standard cars, full-size cars, cargo vans and minivans, pickup trucks, and compact SUVs, small SUVs and standard SUVs with seating up to 5 passengers.
- Young renter fee: $40 a day for drivers aged 18-20 and $19 per day for drivers aged 21 to 24 in MI. $64.50 per day for drivers aged 18 to 20 and $24.50 for drivers aged 21 to 24 in NY. $25 per day on average for all other renters under 25, but the fee can be higher or lower based on the rental location.
Avis is another rental company that rents vehicles to drivers who’re under the age of 25. There are 1,534 Avis Car Rental locations in the U.S.
- Age requirement: 21 years old in most locations in the U.S. 18 years old in NY and MI. U.S. government personnel (civilian or military) can rent a car at 18 years old with a government travel order or purchase order and at 21 years without a government travel order or purchase order.
- Types of cars available: Economy through full-size cars, premium cars, convertibles, intermediate SUVs, and standard SUVs.
- Young renter fee:$41 a day surcharge for drivers aged 18 to 20 and $28 per day for drivers aged 21 to 24 in MI. $84 a day for drivers aged 18 to 20 and $35 per day for drivers aged 21 to 24 in NY. Fees for drivers across the rest of the U.S. are not mentioned on the Avis site, but I did find figures elsewhere online, which suggest that the fee is around $27 a day for drivers under 25.
Alamo Rent a Car has 249 locations in the United States.
- Age requirement: 21 throughout most of the U.S. 18 in MI and NY. 18 for U.S. military personnel and government employees.
- Types of cars available: Renters aged 21 to 24 may be restricted to specific car classes.
- Young renter fee: $25 a day Youthful Surcharge, on average, but the fee can be higher or lower based on rental location. U.S. military personnel and government employees ages 18 or older will not incur a Youthful Surcharge when renting for authorized government travel, but they must show the rental location their official orders.
There are 203 Dollar locations in the United States. Dollar rents cars to drivers under 25.
- Age requirement: 20 years-old throughout most of the United States. 18-years-old in NY and MI. 18 years old for U.S. military personnel and government employees. Some corporate contracts may allow renters aged 18 and up.
- Types of cars available: The majority of Dollar car classes, from compact cars to SUVs, are available for you to rent. Some specialty vehicle classes, such as the StyleSeries, are excluded.
- Young renter fee: Not specified on the Dollar site. Reports from elsewhere suggest it’s around $25 per day.
Fox Rent A Car is another company that offers car rentals to 18-year-olds.
This program is only available at Fox Corporate locations and is not available at any Fox Affiliate location.
- Age requirement: 19-years old for most drivers. 18-years old for active-duty military on travel orders.
- Types of cars available: Various
- Young renter fee: $20 a day for drivers under 25. $25 per day for drivers under 21.
National Car Rental will also rent cars to drivers as young as 21 or even 18-years old in some cases.
- Age requirement: 21 throughout most of the country. 18 years old in MI and NY. 18 years old for military personnel and government employees.
- Types of cars available: Renters aged 21 to 24 may be restricted to specific car classes.
- Young renter fee: $25 a day Youthful Surcharge, on average, but the fee can be higher or lower based on rental location. If you want to know the cost of the Youthful Surcharge you can begin the reservation process to determine the exact amount of the fee for the rental location (you will have the option to confirm or cancel the reservation). U.S. military personnel and government employees aged 18 or older will not incur a Youthful Surcharge when renting for authorized government travel, but they must show the rental location their official orders.
There are 177 Thrifty Car Rental locations in the U.S.
- Age requirement: 20 years old throughout most of the country. 18 years old in NY and MI. 18 years old for U.S. military personnel and government employees who can provide official government paperwork to the rental location in which they are inquiring.
- Types of cars available: The majority of Thrifty car classes, from compact cars to SUVs, are available for you to rent. Some specialty vehicle classes, such as the StyleSeries, are excluded.
- Young renter fee: Not specified on the Thrifty site. Reports from elsewhere suggest it’s around $29 per day for drivers under 25. For drivers aged 18 to 20 in NY and MI, it’s reported to be about $41 or $52 a day.
Budget Car Rental has 1,432 locations across the United States.
- Age requirement: 21 in most U.S. states. 18 in MI and NY. The car rental age limit does not apply to renters 18 and older if they’re getting a replacement vehicle through certain insurance providers, such as Allstate, American Family, and State Farm. See the link above for more insurance providers. 18 years old for U.S. government personnel, including military and civilian employees.
- Types of cars available: Economy cars, compact cars, intermediate/midsize cars, standard cars, full-size cars, premium cars, intermediate/midsize SUVs, standard SUVs, and convertibles.
- Young renter fee: At most locations, you will pay a $27 per day surcharge. Fees vary in New York and Michigan. U.S. government personnel who have a government purchase order or travel order can rent a car at age 18 without paying an underage surcharge. U.S. government personnel who DO NOT have a government purchase order or travel order can rent a car at age 21 (except in New York and Michigan, where the minimum age to rent a car is 18) without paying an underage surcharge. U.S. government personnel traveling for leisure or personal reasons will still need to pay the underage surcharge, but they may qualify for a special military rental rate.
Silvercar by Audi differs from some of the other companies on the list because it solely rents out Audi vehicles. It offers no paperwork car rentals and features like free in-car wi-fi and free premium car seats.
There are no lines and no counters. Instead, you use a smartphone to sign up, reserve, and select and unlock the car. This allows drivers to get on the road without delay. The return is streamlined too, featuring easy drop-off and instant e-receipts.
- Age requirement: 22 years old throughout most of the U.S. 18 years old in New York.
- Types of cars available: Audi cars, like sedans and SUVs.
- Young renter fee: $75 a day for 18-year-old drivers in NY.
Rent-A-Wreck is a used car rental company. Rent-A-Wreck doesn’t rent cars to 18-year-olds, but it does rent vehicles to drivers as young as 21 years old. So, if you’re a driver under 25, then you will be able to rent a car from Rent-A-Wreck.
- Age requirement: 21 years old.
- Types of cars available: Renters 21 to 24 years of age are permitted to rent only economy through full size vehicles, intermediate SUVs, mini vans, work pick-up trucks, cargo vans, and cargo trucks.
- Young renter fee: $15 per day.
Payless Rent a Car is like Rent-A-Wreck whereby it doesn’t rent to 18-year-olds, but it does rent to drivers who are aged 21. So, it’s another option for under 25s who’re looking to rent a car.
- Age requirement: 21 years old.
- Types of cars available: Economy, compact, intermediate, standard, full-sized cars, and mini vans
- Young renter fee: $25 a day.
Car-Sharing Companies Where You Can Rent a Car at 18-years-old
It’s not just traditional car rental companies where you can rent cars. There are peer-to-peer car sharing services which allow individuals to rent out their own vehicles by the hour or day.
Some of these ridesharing companies allow drivers below 25, and sometimes as young as 18, to rent a vehicle.
Getaround is an online peer-to-peer carsharing marketplace where you can rent cars.
With the Getaround app, you can find, book, and unlock a car, truck, or van near you.
All drivers and vehicles are covered by insurance during an active trip, and its policy includes comprehensive, collision, and liability coverage. All cars on Getaround have a base mileage limit of 200 daily miles, and additional mileage you do beyond the standard limits will result in additional charges.
Drivers have access to customer support assistance and can purchase roadside assistance and protection plans at trip checkout.
- Age requirement: 19 years old through most of the U.S. 22 years old in the Los Angeles/Orange County area.
- Types of cars available:
- Young renter fee: Between 5% and 75% of the trip fee. Now, Getaround does charge a lot of different fees, so I would recommend having a look through the company’s Fee Commission and Schedule so you’ll know what to expect.
Zipcar is a car-sharing company, which allows you to reserve cars by the hour or by the day. You can pay a monthly or yearly membership, which gets you benefits like free gas for all trips and maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance.
- Age requirement: 21 years old throughout most of the United States. 18 years old if residing in New York, Michigan, or Maryland. Applicants joining a university account must be at least 18 years old.
- Types of cars available:
- Young renter fee: Drivers aged 18 to 20 pay $1.25 per hour or $15 per day. Drivers aged 21 to 24 pay $0.88 per hour or $12.50 per day. Members aged 18 to 20 reserving in the New York metro, pay $3.75 per hour or $62.50 per day and those aged 21 to 24 reserving in the New York metro pay $2.50 per hour or $31.25 per day.
Turo is a peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace. It’s one of the largest car sharing marketplaces out there.
- Age requirement: 18 years old to book a trip with a peer-to-peer host. 21 years old to book a trip with a Commercial Host.
- Types of cars available:
- Young renter fee: For trips with a peer-to-peer host, the fee is $50 a day for drivers aged 18 to 20 and $30 a day for drivers aged 21 to 25. Commercial Hosts set their own age restrictions for certain vehicle types and their own fees for young drivers. They must disclose this information in their vehicle listing.
Tips for Saving Money on Your Car Rental
Car rentals can be really costly at any age, but even more so when you’re under 25. Drivers aged 18 to 24 not only have to contend with the high rental rates that these companies charge, but also those young driver surcharges that I mentioned above.
This means that if you are under 25 and looking to rent a vehicle, it can end up costing you $100s more in some cases, particularly if you need to rent a car for a few days.
Thankfully, there are some ways that you can save money on your car rental and lessen the impact it has on your wallet.
I have some really simple tips for saving money on your car rental:
Comparing prices is key to saving money on everything really. Why pay more for something than you need to? So, before you book a car rental, do a price comparison.
If you are going to book a car rental, then you want to make sure that you get the best deal. Prices vary quite a bit and by taking the time to compare prices, you can ensure that you don’t pay more than you need to for your rental.
There are some great tools out there that you can use to compare the cost of renting a car across multiple companies.
Here are some great price comparison and deal finder sites:
On these sites, you can often filter and sort results to find the type of rental you want. What’s good about these sites is that you can often find local car rental companies that you weren’t aware of that offer significant savings over other brands.
I would recommend going on the sites above and searching for rentals. It’s a good way to get great savings.
You could consider joining AAA because members can get some great discounts and other benefits on car rentals from Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty Car Rental.
Here are some of the savings you can get at Hertz as an AAA member:
- Save up to 20% off the base rate on Pay Later rates and up to 10% off the base rate on Pay Now rates.
- The Additional Driver fee is waived for AAA members who meet standard rental requirements. Savings of up to $13.99 per day.
- The Young Renter fee is waived for AAA members (20 to 24 years) who meet standard rental qualifications. Savings of up to $29 per day.
- 10% off a tank of gas, when purchasing a tank of gas at local prices. Vehicle may be returned with any amount of fuel.
The fact that you can get the young renter fee waived if you’re aged 20 to 24 is great because that can save you a lot of money!
You can also get great savings and Dollar and Thrifty Car Rental.
- You can save up to 10% on published Dollar retail base rates on all car classes when booked in advance using a AAA CDP.
- Save up to 8% on published Thrifty retail base rates on all car classes when booked in advance using a AAA CDP.
Learn more about car rental benefits with AAA here.
Check with your employer for Young Renter fee waivers
Some employers and universities actually have partnerships with rental car companies, which offer benefits to employees, students, and alumni. This can include things like discounted rates and young renter fee waivers.
Check your employer’s benefits portal, your university website, or your alumni website for potential car rental discounts. Or contact your employer or university to ask what benefits are available.
Fill the tank yourself
The pre-paid fuel option can seem tempting, right? It allows you to return the car without having to refill the tank.
While it may be a convenient option, the pre-paid fuel option can be costly. You’ll pay the rental car company’s refueling rate. And, the rental car company will charge you a full tank price regardless of how much gas you’ve actually used.
It’s better to refill the tank yourself. You can use an app like Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas prices nearby, and then simply fill the tank yourself. Sure, it can be more effort, but it can save you money.
Oh, and get a receipt!
It’s not a lot, but it’s still a little cash back in your pocket. Consider uploading other receipts from your trip as well. These apps will accept receipts from gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, and other retailers.
Another really easy way to save money on a car rental if you are a young driver is to use coupons. With coupons, you can cut the cost of renting a vehicle.
You can find lots of car rental coupons online.
Here are some great places to find car rental coupons:
- Budget Car Rental Coupons
- Avis Car Rental Coupons & Discount Codes
- Rental Car Special Offers – Hertz
- Car Rental Deals & Promotions – Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Sites like Groupon and RetailMeNot have coupons available for a variety of car rental companies, like Dollar, Budget, Hertz, Alamo, and Avis.
Sure, you might not save a ton of money, but, it’s still something! Any time you can save a little on a car rental you should do it because they can be really pricey!
So, have a browse of those coupon websites to get a great deal on your car rental.
Consider what you really need from the vehicle
One of the simplest ways to save money on a rental is to only rent the type of car you need.
What I mean by that is it might be tempting to get a fancier model with all of the extras and the upgrades, but do you actually need them, or are they just a waste of money? You probably don’t, so skip the fancy upgrades. And don’t go for the biggest vehicle either.
If it’s only you or you and one other person and you have a single bag, there’s no need to pay for a bigger vehicle.
Ask about discounts at the counter
If you are a student or in the military, then you should take your student ID or military ID with you and ask at the counter if the company provides a discount.
Many companies do offer discounts to students and the military, but they don’t necessarily make it publicly known, so you should ask. Budget Car Rental for example, offers special military rates.
This is an easy way to get a discount. Not all companies will offer special rates, but some will, so it’s definitely worth asking.
If you are looking for places that offer car rentals for 18-year-olds, then try some of the places on our list.
There are some places that will rent cars to 18 or 19-year-olds throughout the country including Turo, Fox Rent A Car, and Zipcar.
For the most part, if you are 18-years old, you will only be able to rent a car in New York or Michigan or if you are in the military or a government employee.
Otherwise, you will usually need to be at least 20 to 21 years old to rent a vehicle.
So, you certainly DO NOT have to be 25 years old to rent a car.
Give these places a try if you’re a young driver looking for a rental vehicle.