Car Hire Champion and creator of moneymaxim.co.uk. Mark is an expert in the Car Hire industry.
Generally you are allowed to rent a car once you are 21 years old. However, if you are under the age of 25, you might find that many companies impose additional charges, hidden in the hire agreement. These are often not included in the asking price displayed by the company on their website - even if you put in your age to do the search! Always read the agreement so that you know what to expect at the desk.
Sometimes car hire agreements specify that younger drivers must purchase the companies own excess waiver, rather than a similar online policy which is often only a fraction of the cost. Again, always check the agreement. If you find that the excess waiver is compulsory, paying a bit more for a deal which lets you purchase an online excess insurance policy could save you a small fortune!
Occasionally young drivers are subject to higher excess limits. If you are purchasing your own excess insurance, check that the cover limits are sufficient. Always compare car hire excess insurance with a company such as moneymaxim to make sure that you are getting a suitable policy which provides you with the necessary cover limits. The moneymaxim comparison service also factors your age into its calculations.
Often a credit card is required to hire a car, although some companies let you use a debit card (but often on the condition that you purchase their own excess waiver). Using a credit card also offers you more protection when hiring a car.
If you have multiple young drivers named on your car hire agreement, you might find that the young driver surcharge is applied for each young driver. This can make the extra charges to pay at the rental desk even more substantial. If you do a car hire search, have a look at the agreements for several cars and add up the cost of the young driver surcharges so that you know the overall cost of each deal.
Car hire companies will usually require you to have held a clean license for at least a year, and sometimes two. We cannot repeat enough how important it is to read the hire agreement before buying!
Some of the larger and more expensive cars have tighter age restrictions. Keep an eye out for this when reading your hire agreement and consider a smaller car if you're having trouble finding an agreement which doesn't exclude you.
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