Renting a car is a common practice for tourists, travelers, and even locals in cities and states across the world. These cars, known as rental cars, are owned by rental companies who rent them out to renters for an agreed period, price, and a set of conditions.
The age factor is one of such rental conditions. Rental companies are often reluctant to rent cars out to very young people. And even when they do, they charge extra as a caution fee of some sort.
This article aims to answer whether you can rent a car at 18.
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Here’s the Short Answer to Whether One Can Rent a Car At 18:
Only two out of all 50 states in the United States of America allow car rental companies to rent cars to renters aged 18. Across the other states, the minimum age to rent falls between 19-21, depending on the rental company’s policy.
These States Will Let You Rent a Car When You Are 18
As an 18-year-old in most parts of the world, including America, you can legally do a bunch of things, including voting and marrying. However, in 48 of the 50 American states, rental companies are prohibited from renting cars to 18-year-olds.
The two states where you can rent a car as an 18-year-old are Michigan and New York. Rental companies in these states will ordinarily rent cars to 18 years old subject to the company’s policy, which often includes a fee.
These States Will Not Let You Rent a Car At 18
While you can rent a car as an 18-year-old in Michigan and New York, the story is different in the 48 other states. They include California, Connecticut, Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Maryland.
Others include Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
18-year-olds are also not allowed to rent in Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
In most of those states, you’ll only be able to rent a car if you are 21 years old and above per the usual age policy of the major companies. Some companies may, however, rent cars to people who are 19 or 20 years of age.
What Car Renting Companies Will Rent Cars to 18-year-Olds?
Apart from state restrictions, company policy also decides whether a person of a certain age can rent a car. For instance, the minimum age to rent a car from Fox is 19, even if you are in New York or Michigan, where 18-year-olds are allowed to rent.
Like we mentioned before, you can only rent a car as an 18-year-old in Michigan and New York as permitted by state law. In these two states, companies that rent to 18-year-olds include Alamo, Avis, Dollar, Hertz, Thrifty, and National.
Fox Rental only rents to persons with a minimum age of 19. However, this does not apply to military personnel or other persons who work on behalf of the government.
We must mention again that all the companies mentioned above only rent cars to 18-year-olds who are in Michigan and/or New York. This means that Hertz and Alamo will not rent a car to 18-year-olds in Arizona because 18-year-olds are not permitted to rent there.
Can You Rent Any Car When You Are 18?
You can rent any car of your choice when you are 18 as long as you are in Michigan or New York. All you have to do is book with any of the companies already mentioned above, who rent to 18-year-olds in the two states.
Besides being in Michigan and New York, it goes without saying that you’d need to have a valid driving license. So, it’s not just enough to be an 18-year-old in Michigan and New York. Do you have a driving license? Well, if you do, you are all set.
Does It Cost More to Rent a Car If You Are 18?
It definitely costs more to rent a car when you are 18. As a matter of fact, this extra cost also applies to young adults who are less than 25. Below is a list of some companies that rent to 18-year-olds and the amount each company levies on under-25 drivers:
Alamo allows renters aged 18 to rent cars at their New York and Michigan locations. However, drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 have to pay $40 and $57 in Michigan and New York, respectively. This is costlier than the $20 young renter fee that applies to 21-24-year-olds.
Avis also rents to 18-year-olds in Michigan and New York with valid driving licenses. However, for renters aged 18-20, Avis charges a young renter fee of $41 daily in Michigan and $52 in New York. Those aged 21-24 pay a reduced young renter fee of $27.
If you are booking with Budget, rest assured they will rent a car to you if you are 18 and in New York or Michigan. However, be prepared to pay a young renter fee of $41 in Michigan and $52 in New York as it applies to 18-20-year-olds.
Good news is you can avoid that fee if you are an AAA member.
Enterprise also rents vehicles to 18-year-olds in Michigan and New York. They charge a young renter fee of $40 (Michigan) and $57 (New York), which applies to renters aged 18-20. Renters between 21-24 are, however, charged an average young renter fee of $20, subject to the location.
Hertz is also one of the few rental companies that rent cars to 18-year-olds in Michigan and New York with valid licenses. They charge a young renter fee like the other companies, which is waived if the renter has AAA membership.
Dollar lets 18-year-olds with valid licenses rent their cars in Michigan and New York Locations. A young renter fee applies to renters who are under 25.