Want to rent a car for a road trip with friends but are confused about where adulthood draws the line regarding the permissible age to drive a rental car? You’re not alone. There is a persistent myth that you have to be a minimum age of 25 years to rent a car. Youth can be paradoxical; at the age of 19, you’re allowed to vote, pay taxes, and drink, but the line is drawn at renting a car.
Regardless of where you are looking to travel, rental car age restrictions may affect your vehicle reservation and costs incurred. You typically have to be 25 to rent a car at the standard price. Though the 25-to-rent rule has legitimate reasons for its existence, it is only an unwritten rule that car rental companies designed to shield them from high risk and high insurance premiums.
Age Restrictions for Renting a Car in Canada
The state law age of the majority is 18, which is the theoretical legal age that permits one to enter into a rental contract. However, most car hire companies throughout the United States and Canada apply a minimum age limit of 21. Saskatchewan and Quebec allow an age limit of 18 years to rent a car.
In Canada, these young drivers are also required to have a minimum of 12 months of driving experience before renting a car. Additionally, young renters are not permitted to rent certain specialty performance cars, SUVs, and luxury cars.
Senior citizens, fortunately, have no rental age restrictions in Canada, and they are allowed to rent a vehicle and drive freely as long as they have a valid driver’s license; there is no maximum age limit.
For other rental conditions in Canada, additional drivers included in the rental agreement must meet the requirements of the primary renter who signs the rental agreement and is legally responsible for the car. They also have to be 25 years of age or older, have a valid driver’s license older than a year, and have a valid credit card. The additional driver may also be subject to a daily charge and must be present to sign the agreement and collect the vehicle at the business location.
Origin of the 25-to-Rent Myth
Insurance rates generally drive rental age restrictions. Since young drivers are usually less experienced and more likely to take risks than older drivers, insurance rates for young drivers who are under 25 years of age are generally higher. This age limit trickles down to car hire companies that pay a fleet policy based on their insurance risk pool. By restricting the minimum age requirement to 25, car rental companies benefit from lower insurance rates.
Rental companies developed a solution; to include an underage fee for young renters. This young driver surcharge helps balance out the renting company’s increased insurance costs while ensuring they cater to a larger demographic. However, this does not exempt underage drivers from the rental services.
Many people, therefore, thought that the 25-to-rent unwritten rule was law, while it was only an industry accord to shield rental companies from hefty insurance fees. The picture is not as bleak as before when most car rental companies did not allow car rentals to those under 25 years of age. Renting is possible but costs more.
Teenagers and Rental Cars
It comes down to statistics: car rental companies have minimum age requirements for renters because younger and less experienced drivers come at a higher risk of things going wrong, making their insurance claims more costly to foot. Statistically speaking, 25 is deemed as the turning point for driving conduct.
Insurance companies tracked accidents by demographic and noted the trend that at ages below 25, drivers were more likely to be involved in road traffic collisions. After the age of 25, crash rates significantly decline. Therefore, these insurance firms are playing the odds by placing age restrictions or charging a young-renter fee. The underage fee can vary depending on the rental agency, rental location, size and type of vehicle, and payment method. Generally, the surcharge ranges between $25-30 per day in addition to their standard rental fee.
Exceptions to Underage Fees
There are several ways a young driver can avoid paying the young renter fee. For instance, CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) and AAA (American Automobile Association) members can sometimes get their fees waived with companies in most locations where they rent a vehicle. Some rental agencies in the USA such as Hertz and Thrifty may offer a minimum rental age as low as 20. Whereas City Car & Truck Rental (in Toronto, Canada) has a minimum rental age of 23 years. So, it may pay to call around to find out minimum age requirements and associated fees since they do differ at different locations.
If you are employed or in a university that provides benefits to employees, students, or alumni, in a company with corporate accounts carrying a specific rental fleet, check if they often include an underage fee waiver or discount. You can have access to rental vehicles without the hefty surcharge.
In the USA, US military service members on official business such as reporting for duty, reporting to a newly assigned location, or transferring to a new base, have their underage fees waived by all US rental companies. This military personnel requires proof of order to have this special military rate waiver implemented.
To avoid paying the highest possible rates, compare fees and restrictions in Canada. Overall, renting a car is expensive before the age of 25 and even close to impossible before 21. The terms and conditions of a rental agreement vary between locations and rental companies. It is, therefore, advisable to confirm the details of your car rental company policy before making a decision.
Welcome to City Car & Truck Rentals
Let us know the youngest driver’s age when you need to rent a car with City Car & Truck Rentals and we’ll be sure to explain all the restrictions, car rental options, terms, and conditions that may apply to your rental. You can always check the information on our website. We are also always ready to assist you with your questions. Reach us at 416-800-1222 or 1-888-777-9292 for the best rates in the industry and up-to-date policies and fees.
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