February 25, 2018 in Auto

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It used to be next to impossible to rent a car if you weren’t at least 25 years old. But that is no longer the case.

Most of the large car rental companies, including Advantage, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, National and Thrifty, will rent to drivers age 21 and over. Hertz rents to drivers as young as 20, and Fox Rent-A-Car will rent to drivers 19 and older.

But drivers who haven’t reached their 25th birthday yet should be prepared to pay a surcharge. Surcharges are set by the individual rental offices and vary depending on the car being rented. Simple research on fees for young drivers indicates that a $25-per-day surcharge is the going rate.

Why the bias against younger drivers?

Statistics show that drivers under 25 are at a far greater risk of being in a serious crash or fatality. There were 841 fatal car crashes among occupants age 20 to 24 in 2014, compared with 499 for occupants age 25 to 29, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

The only way to avoid the younger driver surcharge when renting a car is to be traveling on a business trip. Many large organizations have agreements with rental car companies for negotiated rates for their employees and the young driver surcharge is usually exempted if that young employee is traveling on company business.

Similarly, military members and government workers age 18 or older who are traveling on official business can rent a car at the negotiated government or military rates with no additional surcharge.

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