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Car hire for under 25s: the ultimate guide

October 10, 2018

It’s a romantic concept, a road trip, and one filled with endless possibilities…for those over the age of 25, at least. Because if you’ve scanned any car hire company’s T&Cs recently, it can feel like that road trip of a lifetime is reserved solely for older travellers.

That’s not to say car hire for under 25s is impossible, though. We’ve pulled together everything you need to know about renting a car under 25 so the world, or in this case, the road, can be your oyster!

Do you have to be 25 to hire a car?



Car hire rules are tricky to define as they can vary between countries, car hire companies and even between different states.

However, it’s safe to assume most of the big brands will rent economy-class (not luxury) cars out to drivers 21 years and older as more and more young travellers demand options for self-drive holidays. Note that most will also tack a Young Driver Surcharge on to the price for under 25s.

In addition to age limits, ensure you double- and triple-check licence rules. Generally speaking, car hire companies require all drivers to have held a full, valid licence for at least one year, but this can be up to three years in some countries.

So, what car hire companies rent to under 25s?



As you may expect, major car hire companies are cashing in on under 25s’ road-trip aspirations and many offer plenty of options for young adults.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt operate across Europe, the UK and the US. You can also find them in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

How much is the under 25 car hire fee?



With less experience on the roads, and potentially no experience driving abroad, young drivers are considered statistically more likely to make a costly insurance claim. Car hire for under 25s is a risky business – at least in the eyes of the renters.

To keep overall prices low and insurance companies onside, rental firms will generally add a Young Driver Surcharge per driver, per day for those under the age of 25.

For some companies in some countries, the minimum fee-free age is 23. Sixt in Spain and Italy, for example, will only ask for the extra dosh if you’re between the ages of 18 and 22.

As for how much you’ll pay, fees can start anywhere from £4 per day (Enterprise Poland) to a whopping £36 per day if you’re hiring with Hertz in the UK. Typically, this extra fee is charged for a maximum of ten days.

What kind of cars can you hire under 25?



If you’re under 25 (and even if you’re older, in some cases), you may have to give up on cruising along Route 66 in a luxury convertible – often only economy and compact-class vehicles are available to young drivers.

However, these categories can have broad definitions. In the UK, an economy-class vehicle means you’ll be looking at cars similar to a Fiat 500 or Vauxhall Astra. In Germany, drivers as young as 18 can get behind the wheel of an Audi.

Don’t feel like you’re missing out on all the fun as a young driver, though. Plenty of car hire companies place heavy restrictions on their pricier rides, meaning even drivers between 25 and 30 may have to skip the luxe cars.

Where can you hire a car under 25?



Young drivers between the ages of 21 and 25 will have few problems picking up a car at home and internationally but wannabe road-trippers between 18 and 20 will have to choose their destinations wisely.

For example, Sixt and Europcar both rent out cars to drivers 18 and older in Germany and Italy and to those over 19 in Portugal. Road-trippers in the UK, however, must be at least 21 to be eligible.

Avis, meanwhile, will rent certain vehicles to under 25s in certain locations. You could, for example, hire a car in New York at 18, provided you have held a valid licence for a year. In Munich, however, Avis’ minimum age is 21.

The table below answers some common car hire queries for popular road-trip destinations across Europe, the US and Canada, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Country

Minimum age for car hire*

Licence rules for car hire under 25**

Companies who will rent cars to under 25s***

How much is the Young Driver fee?

 

UK

 

21

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £32.50 and £36 per day.

 

Spain (Mainland)

 

18

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £11 and £18 per day.

 

Italy

 

18

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least two years.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £10 and £20 per day.

 

Portugal

 

18

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £5 and £10 per day.

 

France

 

18

You must have held a full, valid licence for one to two years.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £26 and £33 per day.

 

Greece

 

21

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £8 and £22 per day. Not applicable for some companies.

 

Ireland

 

25

Must have been eligible to hold a driving licence for at least 8 years.

Sixt will rent cars over 21s on the condition they have held a licence for four years

From around £34 per day with Sixt. Not applicable to other companies

Cyprus

21

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least three years.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £4 and £9 per day. Not applicable for some companies.

 

Croatia

 

18

You must have held a full, valid licence for one to two years.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £6 and £35 per day.

 

Switzerland

 

19

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least half to one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £12 and £16 per day. Not applicable for some companies.

 

Malta

 

21

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £6 and £26 per day. Not applicable for some companies.

 

Poland

 

19

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £5 and £10 per day.

 

Germany

 

18

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least half a year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £10 and £18 per day. Not applicable for some companies.

 

Iceland

 

18

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £7 and £9 per day. Not applicable for some companies.

 

Turkey

 

21

You must have held a full, valid licence for one to two years.

Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Not applicable for most companies, between £4 and £11 for others.

 

South Africa

 

18

You must have held a full, valid licence for one to two years.

Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Not applicable for most companies, between £2 and £7 per day for others

 

United States

 

20

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £15 and £23 per day.

 

Canada

 

20

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar and Hertz

Between £12 and £21 per day. Not applicable for some companies.

 

Australia

 

21

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £5 and £23 per day.

 

New Zealand

 

18

 

You must have held a full, valid licence for at least one year.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt

Between £5 and £15 per day.


Looking to hire a car in the US? Two exceptions apply to the minimum age rule listed above. You can hire a car from the age of 18 in New York State and Michigan with surcharges of £40 and £31 per day respectively.

* These numbers are indicative only. Listed is the minimum age found across only the car hire companies we researched. Individual firms may insist on older drivers in some countries. Always check T&Cs for localised information.

** The licence rules listed are the minimum requirements found across only the car hire companies we researched. Individual firms may insist on more experience in some countries. Always check T&Cs for localised information.

*** This list is not exhaustive. Smaller companies may also operate in these countries. Compare car hire deals through TravelSupermarket for the rental that works best for you.

Do you need a credit card to hire a car?



Car hire companies err on the side of caution when it comes to renting out their vehicles. One way to ensure any damages are covered is to ‘hold’ a deposit on a credit card that they can dip into should the car come back scratched or worse. Their rules usually stipulate that the name of the main driver must match the name on the credit card, too.

So where does this leave young drivers who don’t own a credit card?

The good news is more and more companies, including Enterprise, Avis and Sixt, are loosening their rules surrounding payment, and will now accept major debit cards in some countries. This card must also be in the main driver’s name.

As usual, thoroughly read the T&Cs before agreeing to pay for any vehicle.

Do you need to purchase additional insurance if you’re hiring a car when under 25?



Car hire companies do not require additional insurance if you’re under 25, though young drivers may have to accept higher excesses in order to rent a car. Hertz also strongly recommends having personal auto insurance.

As rental companies often go for the hard sell at the desk in this regard, make sure you know what you’re required – and aren’t required – to purchase with our guides to car hire insurance and car hire excess insurance.

* Please note, this information is for general use only, and due to insurance regulations TravelSupermarket isn’t able to offer car rental products to drivers aged 17-20 or over 75. Drivers between 18 and 20 can still find deals direct through our partner websites, including Hertz, Enterprise and Sixt.

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