How to Rent a Car When You’re Underage


Young drivers can’t catch a break! Insurance costs are high and gas prices strain typically limited budgets.

Hit the highway in your rental car.

If don’t own a car or at least want to rent one, many rental companies require drivers to be at least 25 or in some cases as low as 21. This qualification doesn’t help young college students who find themselves needing to rent a car to travel home for the weekend or to head out on break.

There are ways you can rent a car for a few hours, a day or longer even if you’re as young as 18. You must be a licensed driver, but you can avoid some of the age restrictions and limit possible surcharges if you have a clean driving record and no problems on your credit reports.

Rental Location – Most of the big car rental companies make it difficult for younger drivers to rent its cars, but that depends on where you are driving. Alamo Rent a Car requires drivers to be 25 in the United States or pay huge daily surcharges. However, if you’re visiting Guam you can rent a car if you’re 18 or 19 in Italy and Austria.

Rental Company – The big guys may not want your business or at least they’ll hit you with surcharges. Smaller companies, including Rent-a-Wreck, allow drivers as young as 18 to rent a car and some locations don’t charge extra fees. An on-campus rental service such as Zipcar may make an exception to the age restriction others tout. Even the Enterprise branch at Stanford University rents to students, ages 18-20, as long as they provide a valid Stanford ID, proof of full-coverage car insurance, and a major credit or debit card.

Credit Cards – One of the reasons why most car rental companies don’t rent to drivers under age 25 has to do with risk. As in insurance risk. These companies pay large sums to insurance companies to cover vehicle fleets and those costs are determined by what customers drive its cars. If you have your own credit card, you’re demonstrating to the rental car company that you have begun to build up credit and will assume some of the risk of renting. You may still have to pay a surcharge, but you can offset some of your costs if your credit card provides insurance protection while you drive.

Driver’s License – Only with a valid driver’s license will you be able to rent a car. When you offer your card, the company will run a quick background check on you. That check will reveal whether you’ve had problems with the law and if you are a credit risk. If your record comes up clean, then you may be able to have some fees waived or at least lowered to reflect your good record.

Lastly, if renting a car is still a problem, a cosigner – such as a parent – may be all that you need to get yourself behind the wheel of a car. Moreover, if someone else assumes the risk, then fees may be waived accordingly.

Adv. — Are you looking for a new car? has information about the latest models as well as late model used cars. Loan calculators and free work sheets can help you decide.


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Categories: Campus Cars