Reader question: What is a young driver fee? And what’s the best under 25 car rental company?
Great questions, reader! A young driver fee, sometimes called a young renter fee, is a fee assessed to car renters under the age of 25. This fee can range between an extra $15.00 to $70.00 a day. Yes…a day!
In this article we explain the following:
- The Young Driver Fee
- Current Young Driver Fees (by rental car companies)
- Best overall under 25 car rental company
- Exceptions to the Young Driver Fee
- A secret rental car hack to avoid the fee altogether!
Let’s dig in.
The Young Driver Fee – aka young renter fee
I’ve often joked that the last useful birthday in a person’s life is their 25th because your car insurance rates drop! After that, the birthdays all kind of suck, really.
Car rental agencies know that 25 is that magical age when apparently young folks stop being goofs behind a wheel and learn how to drive. Or in other words, the RISK of you wrecking a rental car drops around age 25. Thus, car rental companies prefer to rent cars to folks aged 25 and older.
That said, they WILL rent cars to people under age 25, but it will almost definitely come with a young driver fee, which as I noted earlier, is sometimes called a young renter fee.
Additionally, there is a minimum age to rent a car which is 21 in most cases*. But, wait, I am 17 and have my driver’s license! Why can’t I rent a car?!?
Basically, it’s because you are a terrible driver. And frankly, they really don’t want to rent you car if you are under 25…but they will. With an extra fee.
*Note: there are two states that have younger renter laws on the books: Michigan and New York which both mandate that rental companies allow rentals to individuals as low as age 18. You will still be charged a fee!
*Note: Hertz allows renters to be only 20 years of age. As does Dollar and Thrifty.
In many cases not only will young drivers be assessed a daily fee they may also be limited to renting certain classes of cars (e.g. prohibited from renting a luxury car).
Bottom line: it’s about risk for rental car companies (and insurance companies). If you are under 21 you are definitely a risk. If you are under 25 your risk decreases a little, but it’s still risky to rent you that car – and so you have to pay the young renter fee in most cases.
Current Young Driver Fee’s by Rental Car Companies
Young driver fee’s are all over the place. I’ve seen them as low as $10.00 a day and as high as $70.00 a day. And they tend to vary not only by rental car company but by location. Meaning, you might pay a higher young renter fee if you are renting in a higher risk area.
By the way, if you are looking for more ideas on how to get the most out of a car rental check out 9 Secret Rental Car Hacks You Need to Know.
As of early 2019, here are the current young renter fees for several major car rental companies:
- Enterprise: Average of $20.00 per day, but can vary by location. NY and MI young drivers will pay even more.
- National: Cost not published and varies by locations. Readers report it being around $20.00 on average (which makes sense given National is owned by Enterprise). Young renters in NY and MI will pay a $20.00 and $25.00 young driver fee, respectively.
- Hertz: Around 30.00 per day.
- Dollar: Their fee is not published, but indications are it’s around $20.00 one time (instead of daily).
- Avis: 27.00 per day.
- Budget: Budget’s typical fee is $27.00 a day.
- Alamo: Around $25.00 per day.
- Thrifty: Around $25.00 per day. In some cases $35.00, but in NY they charge and extra $70+ dollars a day.
Best under 25 Car Rental Company?
Both Dollar & Sixt appear to be the cheapest options for under 25 car rentals. In some cases you daily fee may only be $15.00.
Additionally, when combining a AAA membership with a Hertz rental, young renters can avoid the fee altogether. See the travel hack section below for more details.
Exceptions to the Young Driver Fee
There are a few exceptions to the young driver fee the biggest of which is if you are on official government business (e.g. a young Marine assigned temporary recruiting duty and you need to rent a vehicle).
You might be interested in Travel Tip Tuesday #7: Get an AC Mounted Magnetic Cell Phone Holder for your Rental Car.
Additionally, some corporate contracts may enter into a relationships with car rental companies that allow 18 year old employees to rent cars.
And, as ironic as this sounds, some insurance companies will waive (or reimburse) young renter fees to drivers who’s primary car was involved in an accident and now have to rent a car as part of their coverage. Go figure.
Lastly, while the US and Canada tend to nail young renters with fees the rest of the world does not. In many cases international car rentals do not charge a young driver fee. Lucky you! You can be 22 AND drive on the wrong side of the road…seems legit. LOL.
Secret Travel Hack to Avoid Under 25 Car Rental Fee
There are a few ways you can avoid paying an under 25 fee depending on how you go about.
- AAA Members who meet the otherwise typical rental criteria (e.g. have a license, etc) that are 20-24 can rent a car without paying the young driver fee. Learn more about this program here. This program applies to Hertz only.
- USAA, the great military veteran banking and insurance institution, allows members between the ages of 20-24 to rent cars without paying a young renter fee. Learn more here. Applies to Enterprise, Budget, Hertz & Avis.
Final Thoughts on Renting a Car when you are not 25
It ain’t gonna be easy…but you CAN rent car if you are not 25. The only hiccup is that you are almost guaranteed to pay some sort of additional fee to do so. We hope you enjoyed this information about young renter fees and how to rent a car when you are not 25.
By the way, if you are interested in more travel tips and travel advice, you might be like these great articles:
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