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Can You Rent a Car at 18?

Can You Rent a Car at 18?

At the age of 18, you may be excited to spend your newfound freedom on a road trip with your closest friends. However, you may be concerned that a rental company won’t let you rent a car to make this dream come true. 

Your concern is completely valid, especially considering not all states in the US will allow you to rent a car at 18.

For instance, the minimum age requirement to rent a car in many states is 21 years, except for Alabama, Nebraska, Michigan, and New York. In Alabama and Nebraska, you must be at least 19 years old to drive a rental car. The state laws of Michigan and New York will allow you to rent a car at 18.

Many rental companies consider people aged 25 or below as underage drivers. Since underage drivers pose a greater risk of accidents, rental companies seek additional documentation and collect a young age surcharge while offering car rentals to them.

The fatal crash rate per 100,000 licensed drivers in the age group of 16-19 is 44. However, the crash rate per 100,000 drivers decreases as the driver age increases. For instance, the fatal crash rates per 100,000 licensed drivers in the age groups of 20-24 and 25-34 are 39 and 34, respectively.

This article takes you through everything you need to know about getting a rental car at a minimum eligible age in the United States.   

How to Get a Car Rental at 18 

Getting a rental car at the minimum eligible age can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. It is up to the rental company to determine whether to rent a car to underage drivers or not. However, you can increase your chances of getting a rental vehicle if you are ready to submit additional documentation, pay extra charges, and invest in additional insurance.

Contact Rental Companies 

No two rental car company policies are the same. While some rental companies have stringent policies toward young drivers, some are more likely to rent cars to them without seeking additional documentation.

It’s best to contact the rental companies directly to learn their policies and enquire about what additional documentation they collect while renting a car to young drivers.

Don’t forget to ask the following questions to the customer support team of rental companies:

  • What additional documents do I need to submit in addition to a valid driver’s license?

  • Do you waive young driver fees or offer any discounts for AAA, USAA, and AARP members?

  • What additional insurance do I need to purchase?

  • Do you have any exceptions for government employees or active US military members?

Prepare for Extra Fees

All rental companies collect a surcharge from young drivers to cover potential damage from them.

  •  Airport Van Rental (AVR): AVR collects an underage surcharge of $25 per day from drivers aged 25 or below. If you have USAA or AAA membership, you don’t need to pay the additional underage rental fee.

  • Enterprise: The young renter fee at Enterprise may start at $19 per day and go up to a maximum of $64.50 per day.

  • Hertz: Hertz, along with its sister companies such as Dollar and Thrifty, will collect an underage fee between $29 and $52.

  • Avis:  Avis collects an underage surcharge of $27 in the United States and $35 in Canada.

  • Alamo: The average young driver surcharge at Alamo is $25. However, the charges can go as high as $64 depending on the rental location and type of the rental vehicle. Alamo does not collect the underage surcharge from US military personnel and government employees.

It means you need to add anywhere between $150 and $300 surcharge to the estimated rental cost on a week-long car rental. Therefore, underage drivers should come prepared for extra fees while renting a car.

Come Equipped with Documentation

In addition to a valid driver’s license, underage drivers may be asked to submit additional documents that prove they are reliable drivers.

The following supporting documents may help in getting a rental car quickly:

  • A major credit card with a sufficient credit limit.

  • A documented proof that you were not involved in any accidents, reckless driving convictions, and road violations in the past couple of years.

  • AAA or USAA membership cards.

  • Another form of identification, including a student ID, utility bill with your name, or passport.

Invest in Additional Insurance

Considering the high risk of accidents, car rental companies insist underage drivers opt for Collision Damage Waivers (CDW). Though it is not insurance, it will make sure that you are not held responsible for damages caused to the rental car in an unwanted event during the rental period. If you are ready to invest in CDW, your chances of getting a rental car will increase significantly.

Rental car insurance is included in your basic rental package, regardless of whether you are an experienced driver or an underaged driver. However, having additional personal auto insurance will prove you are a responsible driver. Moreover, it allows you to negotiate with the rental car company to reduce the young driver fees.

Be Willing to Compromise

You may not have access to every type of vehicle if you’re under 25 years of age. For instance, Enterprise does not allow underaged drivers to rent luxury cars and large vehicles with a seating capacity higher than five passengers. In the same way, Alamo allows underage drivers to rent only vehicles with a maximum seating capacity of 10 passengers.

So you should be willing to compromise on the type of vehicle you want to rent. If the rental company does not want to rent a convertible or full-size car, you should prepare to adjust with an intermediate car or a compact car.

If you have any specific car class or model in your mind, just check with the car rental agency about its availability for underage drivers.  

Find Your Ideal Rental with AVR

Renting a car at 18 is possible only in Michigan and New York. You should be at least 19 years old in Nebraska and Alamaba to rent a car. In all other states, the minimum car rental age limit is 21 years. 

Despite these age restrictions, finding a rental car may not be difficult for underage drivers as long as they are ready to pay underage surcharges, furnish extra documentation, and invest in additional insurance.  

AVR is a family-owned company with over 12 years of experience in the car rental business. With our premium fleet of vehicles, including SUVs, minivans, passenger vans, and cargo vans, we help people take family vacations, road trips, and weekend getaways with peace of mind.

Drivers aged 25 or below can rent the desired vehicle from us at the lowest possible additional fee and minimum documentation. We are also known for our 24/7 contactless pick-up, after-hours support, industry-best cleaning practices, and flexible pick-up and drop-off options.

Book an underage car rental deal with AVR with your credit or debit card at the best rental rate!

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