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Under 25 Car Rental Surcharge

Monday, October 07, 2013

At 18 years, you are considered a legal adult in the US. As an adult, you can take up a job, rent an apartment, participate in contracts, vote and join the military. By 21, you are considered responsible enough to become a police officer, firefighter and purchase alcohol. However, you need to be at least 25 years to be treated at par with other car renters. While no one rents vehicles to those under 18, some agencies will rent to 18-20 year-olds and most will rent out vehicles to those over 21 years. Unfortunately, renters under 25 years are charged an exorbitant underage surcharge for the privilege. In many cases, this can more than double the cost of a rental car.
Rental car companies quote the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that says drivers who are younger than 25 are significantly more likely to get into accidents than older drivers. After age 25, the crash rate declines dramatically and continues to drop until the driver reaches 85. In order to rent out vehicles to risky drivers, they believe an underage surcharge is justified.

The underage policy varies between rental car companies and locations. In general, you need to be 21 or older to rent a vehicle and must have a valid drivers license and credit card. As a young driver, you may be subject to a driving record or license check to ensure that you're a safe driver. A surcharge of $10 - $25 per rental day will apply and certain expensive vehicles will be off-limits. The table below compares important aspects of various underage policies.

Agency 18-20 years 21-24 years Surcharge included in total
Only in certain states with surcharge:
New York: $52/day 
Michigan: $41/day
Underage surcharge:
US: $27/day
Canada: $35/day
Only in New York and Michigan Varies by location. Usually $20 - $25 per day
Only in New York and Michigan Varies between $20 - $35 per day
Can't specify age online Mostly $25/day
Only in New York and Michigan. Can't be booked online. Varies between $10 - $20 per day
Hertz rents to 20 year olds Normally $20 - $25 per day
Only in certain states with surcharge:
New York: $66/day 
Michigan: $26/day
Usually $25/day surcharge. 
New York: $23.50/day 
Michigan: $14/day
Can't specify age online Mostly $25/day


Avis Underage Renter Policy

Avis primarily rents to customers 21 years and older, although 18 year olds can rent in certain states. An underage surcharge is applicable to young renters and reflected in the estimated total when you reserve a vehicle. The surcharge is generally $27/day in the U.S. and $35/day in Canada (see full policy). There are a few exceptions:

Washington DC: Minimum age to rent is 25, except at Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) where 21-24 can rent with a valid credit card and driver's license.

New York State: Minimum age to rent is 18. A $52/day surcharge applies to 18-20 year old renters and a $35/day surcharge to 21-24 year olds.

Michigan: Minimum rental age is 18 with a $41/day surcharge for renters 18-20 years old and a $28/day surcharge for 21-24 year olds.

Quebec: Minimum age to rent is 21 with an under age fee of $20/day for 21-24 year old renters.

Saskatchewan: Greatest place to be an underage renter! Minimum age is 18, with no underage fee. Can't beat that.

Government Personnel on business have the underage surcharge waived, but leisure rentals by government personnel are still subject to the surcharge. Young renters are not allowed to rent certain types of vehicles like Full-Size & Premium SUVs, Luxury vehicles, Minivans & Passenger Vans.

Alamo Young Renter Policy

Minimum age to rent a vehicle is 21, except in NY and MI, where the minimum age to rent is 18. Rental rates may be higher for renters and additional drivers under the age of 25. Details of the applicable young driver fee shows up on the reservation page on alamo.com. Certain specialty and larger sized vehicles may not be available for rentals when the renter or additional driver is under 25.

Budget Underage Surcharge

Minimum rental age in the U.S. is generally 25 — except in locations where an individual 21-24 years may rent specific vehicles. An individual 21-24 years of age may only rent an economy, compact, intermediate, standard, full-size or premium car or an intermediate or standard SUV. Underage surcharge varies from $20 - $27 based on location.  (see full policy).

Dollar Underage Renter Policy

Every local car rental office has their own set of rules, but in general, the following policies apply:
  • Style Series cars like BMWs, Mercedes-Benz and Mini Coopers are strictly for the over-25 group
  • Under-age Driver fee: The charge varies by location but is generally around $25/day.

Enterprise Youthful Driver Fee

The minimum age to rent a vehicle is 21 years. Enterprise has the lowest underage surcharge among the major rental car companies. Surcharge varies between $10 and $20 based on the location.

Hertz Age Differential Charge Policy

The minimum age is 25 without an additional Age Differential Charge, and 20 with an additional Age Differential Charge. The minimum age for Prestige & Adrenaline Collections, as well as select high performance vehicles, is imperatively 25. Certain corporate accounts have agreements with Hertz which permit rentals to young renters.

Thrifty Underage Renter Policy

The minimum age requirement is 21 years old unless otherwise mandated by state law. Thrifty Business accounts may waive the underage driver fee as a negotiated corporate account benefit for qualifying companies.

The biggest problem with the Thrifty website is that it does not add the underage surcharge to your estimated total. As a result, you'll be in for a big shock once you get to the rental counter.

National Underage Policy

National has a standard minimum age requirement of 21 years of age. In some states, the minimum age required is 18 years of age and an insurance recovery charge applies. The minimum age for Military/Government personnel renting on a government rate is 18 years old (see full policy). Certain specialty and larger sized vehicles may not be rented to drivers under 25.
  • New York state: The minimum age for NY is 18 years of age. An $66.00 per day additional charge applies to 18-20 aged renters and a $23.50 per day additional charge applies to 21-24 aged renters.
  • Michigan: The minimum age for MI is 18 years of age. A $26.00 per day additional charge applies to 18-20 aged renters and a $14.00 per day additional charge applies to 21-24 aged renters.

Payless Underage Surcharge

Renter must be 25 years of age with a valid drivers license and a major credit card in his/her own name. Renters 21 through 24 years of age add an additional $25.00 per day surcharge. Underage surcharge will not appear in total pricing. Renters 21 through 24 years of age may rent only Economy, compact, Intermediate, Standard, Full, Premium Sized cars and Minivans.

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