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Car Rentals for 18-Year-Old Drivers: Best Options For 2024

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Key Takeaways

  • Some companies rent cars to 18-year-olds, often adding a Young Driver Fee.
  • Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, and Hertz offer rentals to drivers under 25 with specific policies.
  • Alternatives like Zipcar and Turo provide flexible rental options for 18-year-olds under conditions.
  • International rental age varies, with some countries allowing 18-year-olds to rent cars with additional fees.

If you’re under 25 years old and looking to rent a car, you may be in for a bumpy ride.

Statistically, drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 are more likely to get into an accident on the road. That’s why car rental companies are more reluctant to hand over their vehicles to anyone who’s basically under 25!

This has given people the impression that you must be at least 25 years old to rent a car. Luckily, that’s not the case. There are still a few companies that provide car rentals for 18-year-old drivers.

So, if you’re 18 years old and looking to rent a car, this post is for you!

Understanding Rental Restrictions for Young Drivers

Most companies have a higher minimum age requirement of 21.

However, a few companies offer car rentals for drivers as young as 18. These companies charge an extra fee called a Young Driver Fee on top of the standard rental cost of the vehicle.

If you’re an 18-year-old active-duty government employee or military personnel, you can ask to have this fee waived.

In addition, the minimum age also differs from place to place.

For example, in New York or Michigan, the minimum age to rent a vehicle is 18 years old, while in Nebraska or Alabama, the legal age for renting a vehicle is 19.

Yet, 18-year-old active-duty military personnel and government employees can rent vehicles no matter which state they’re in as long as they have an official travel order.

The other exception is if an 18-year-old driver is getting a replacement vehicle through an insurance provider, such as:

  • Travelers
  • State Farm
  • Progressive
  • CCRG Claims
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • American Family
  • Allstate

Companies Offering Rentals to 18-Year-Olds

Here’s a list of the best car rental companies available for 18-year-olds:

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1. Avis

1. Avis

  • Extra fee: $41/day (18-20 years), $28/day (21-24 years)
  • Vehicle types: Economy to premium, convertibles, SUVs
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  • Specific policies for renters under 25 : a daily extra fee of $41 for drivers aged 18–20 and $28 per day for drivers aged 21–24
  • Types of vehicles available to younger renters : the majority of cars are available for young renters from economy through full-size and premium cars to convertibles and SUVs.
  • Geographic availability : there are over 1,500 Avis Car rental locations around the US
  • Additional requirements or documentation needed : a valid driver’s license and an accepted credit card. For military and government personnel, a travel order is required.

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2. Budget Car Rental

2. Budget Car Rental

  • Extra fee: $27/day for young renters
  • Vehicle types: Convertibles, economy to premium cars, intermediate and standard SUVs
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  • Specific policies for renters under 25 : in most Budget locations, young renters need to pay an extra daily fee of $27.
  • Types of vehicles available to younger renters : convertibles, economy, compact, intermediate, standard, full-size, premium cars as well as intermediate and standard SUVs
  • Geographic availability : there are over 1,400 locations spread out across the US.
  • Additional requirements or documentation needed : proof of ID, a valid driver’s license, and an accepted credit card. Government personnel need a travel order.

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3. Dollar

3. Dollar

  • Extra fee: Around $25/day plus rental and mileage
  • Vehicle types: Most cars except specialty vehicles
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  • Specific policies for renters under 25 : The exact Young Driver Fee isn’t specified on the site, but user reports suggest it’s around $25 a day in addition to the daily rental fee plus mileage.
  • Types of vehicles available to younger renters : the majority of cars at Dollar rentals are available for young drivers, except for specialty vehicle classes like StyleSeries.
  • Geographic availability : there are 203 Dollar car rental locations in the US.
  • Additional requirements or documentation needed : in Michigan and New York, young renters need a valid driver’s license, and a valid credit or debit card in the renter’s name. For government personnel, a travel order is required.

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4. Enterprise Rent-A-Car

4. Enterprise Rent-A-Car

  • Extra fee: $25/day on average, varies by state (18-20 years)
  • Vehicle types: Economy to full-sized cars, minivans, pickup trucks, SUVs
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  • Specific policies for renters under 25 : Enterprise CarShare rentals require an average daily fee of $25 for young renters, while in Michigan it’s $36.50 per day for drivers and $64.75 in New York for drivers aged 18–20. For drivers aged 21–24, the daily extra fee is $15.75 in Michigan and $30.75 in New York.
  • Types of vehicles available to younger renters :almost all cars are available for young renters from economy to compact, standard, and full-sized cars to minivans, pickup trucks, and SUVs
  • Geographic availability : there are 4,193 Enterprise locations in the US
  • Additional requirements or documentation needed : a valid license, an accepted credit card, travel orders for military and government personnel

5
5. Hertz

5. Hertz

  • Extra fee: $19/day for young renters
  • Vehicle types: Compact to full-size cars, minivans, SUVs
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  • Specific policies for renters under 25 : a $19 daily extra fee is required for young renters
  • Types of vehicles available to younger renters : compact/midsize, full-size/standard, and minivans/SUVs.
  • Geographic availability : there are around 8,500 Hertz car rental locations in cities and major airports worldwide
  • Additional requirements or documentation needed : a valid driver’s license, an accepted credit card, a valid ID document

Alternatives to Traditional Car Rentals

If you’re an 18-year-old driver having trouble renting a vehicle, which is also a problem for 19 and 20-year-olds, why not check out these alternatives?

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1. Zipcar

1. Zipcar

  • Ideal for students with hourly/daily rates
  • Monthly fee: $7, Annual fee: $70
  • Rates: From $83/day or $10/hour
  • Minimum age: 21 (exceptions for Michigan, Maryland, New York, and students at partner colleges)
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Zipcar is great for students because it operates on a daily or hourly basis. It can be a great alternative to renting a car because you decide on how long you need the car.

To start using Zipcar, you need to pay a monthly fee of $7 or an annual fee of $70. Then, once you become a member, the driving rates start at $83 per day or $10 per hour.

The minimum age for joining Zipcar is 21. Yet, there are exceptions to this rule, which can allow 18-year-olds to sign up, which are:

  • You live in Michigan, Maryland, or New York
  • You’re enrolled in a college that partners with Zipcar
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2. Turo

2. Turo

  • Peer-to-peer car rental from the owner
  • Option for car delivery at an extra fee
  • Minimum age: 21 (select cars available at 18 with a Young Driver Fee)
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Turo allows you to rent a car online or through the Turo app directly from the car’s owner. Then, once the deal goes through, you can pick up the car at the designated pickup location.

For an additional fee, you can even ask the peer-to-peer carsharing platform to have the car delivered right to your doorstep.

Similar to Zipcar, the minimum age for using Turo is 21. Although there are some cars that can be booked at age 18. Yet, these often charge the additional Young Driver Fee mentioned previously.

Tip for Renting a Car at 18 Years Old

Use these money-saving tips to help you lessen the blow to your budget.

1. Ask About Possible Fee Waivers and Discounts

Some universities and employers have partnerships with rental car companies that offer benefits, waivers, and discounted rates to employees, students, and even alumni.

Check the university website or the employer’s benefits tab or portal, or contact your university or employer to see if you qualify.

Also, many car rentals offer discounts to military personnel and students. But they usually don’t announce it publicly. So, if you’re in the military or a student, make sure you take your ID and ask about possible discounts at the counter.

2. Compare Prices

The best way to make sure you get the best deal on anything is to do a quick comparison. Luckily, there are a handful of great sites available that you can use to compare the cost of renting a car across multiple companies.

What’s great about these sites is that you can filter and sort the results. They can also provide you with information on local rentals you weren’t aware of.

  • Rentalcars.com
  • Skyscanner
  • Kayak
  • fareCompare
  • Expedia

3. Fill the Tank

The pre-paid fuel tank option is convenient because it allows you to take the vehicle with a full tank. Plus, you can return the car without having to bother with refills.

Yet, this option can be costly because you’ll be paying the refueling rate of the car rental company, which is higher than the gas station. Not only that, but the company will charge you the full tank of gas no matter how much you actually used.

International Travel Considerations

The minimum age for car rentals abroad varies depending on the regulations set by the country you’re in. Malaysia, for example, maintains a minimum age of 23 for its rental customers.

That said, most countries, including Australia, Greece, Ireland, the UK, and the Netherlands, have a minimum age of 21 years old.

Others, however, allow drivers as young as 18 years old to rent cars. These include Italy, Germany, Morocco, and Sweden.

Regardless of age, some countries state that the driver of a rental must have had their license for one year or more. You also need to bring some proof of ID, typically a valid passport as well as an accepted credit card and proof of car insurance.

Some countries also require an International Driving Permit. And for drivers who are 18 years old, car rental companies often add a daily Young Driver Fee to the regular rental charges.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old do you have to be to rent a car in the US?

The general rule of thumb is that you have to be 21 years old or older. However, some states and a handful of personal car rentals have a lower age limit of 18.
While they’re a convenient option, they do come with some extra fees and a couple of restrictions.

How old do you have to be to rent a car in Europe?

For the most part, drivers as young as 18 can rent a car in Europe as long as they’ve had their license for over a year. They also need to pay additional rental fees and adhere to certain restrictions. Some countries also require an International Driving License.

Final Thoughts

For the most part, you can rent a car if you’re 18 years old in certain states like New York or Michigan. The same goes if you’re a government employee or are a military personnel.

So, if you’re searching for car rental companies for 18-year-olds, give the places on our list a try.

Companies like Zipcar, Turo, and Budget all offer rentals to drivers under 25. Yet, they do come with additional fees, so make sure you read the rental agreement carefully.

Also, take the time to ask around, compare prices, and inquire about any available discounts and waivers before settling on a rental company.

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