How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent a Car in the UK?

Victor Faeda

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How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent a Car in the UK?

First published on: June 13, 2024

Whether you are a resident of the United Kingdom or visiting from abroad, renting a car is a great option to give you the freedom you need for your travels. While this is normally a simple process, young drivers looking to rent a car face a unique set of challenges before they can get behind the wheel.

In particular, drivers under the age of 25 may be subject to specific restrictions and additional fees. If you are looking to rent a car in the UK, understanding these conditions is essential so you can make the most out of your experience and avoid unexpected costs. This article outlines the minimum age requirements set by the major car rental companies in the UK, providing some practical advice to help you make informed decisions along the way.

 

Minimum age requirements to rent a car in the UK

The first thing a young driver needs to keep in mind when looking to rent a car in the UK is that there is no universal minimum age requirement that all rental car companies must adhere to. Instead, each rental car company sets its own requirements. Car Insurance providers tend to be a bit wary of young and inexperienced drivers and often charge higher premiums for this coverage. That’s why rental companies will decide on a minimum age requirement before they give you the keys to one of their vehicles.

In general, rental car companies in the UK require you to be at least 21 years of age, while some will set this line a bit higher, at 23 or 25 years old. The minimum age requirement varies depending on the vehicle category as well, with only the most basic models being made available to the younger drivers. More luxurious or high-performance models are normally reserved for drivers over the age of 25, sometimes going as high as 30.

 

Be wary of the young driver surcharge when you rent a car

Additionally, companies will charge you a “young driver surcharge” if you are under 25 years of age, which is usually a very considerable added cost to consider on top of the normal rates. Your age is not the only factor you need to be aware of, either. Most companies also establish a minimum time you need to have your driver’s license before they do business with you. This is usually 12 months, but can be higher for more specific vehicles, such as vans or light trucks.

So, if you are under the age of 25 and looking to rent a car in the UK, your best bet is to check the conditions of the specific companies beforehand. This information is usually found on their website, and is generally considered automatically if you make your reservation online.

 

Under 25 car rental options in the UK

A hand holding a car key, as if handing it over to another person in a rent a car.

 

Here are the minimum age requirements for some of the bigger rental car companies in the UK. Make sure to always double-check directly with the provider to get the most up-to-date information.

 

  • Avis: At least 23 years old, with a surcharge for drivers under 25 years old.

 

  • Europcar: At least 22 years old, with a surcharge for drivers under 25 years old.

 

  • Enterprise: At least 25 years old. For specific vehicles, the minimum age rises to 30.

 

  • Hertz: At least 21 years old, with a surcharge for drivers under 25 years old. Some specific vehicles have higher minimum age requirements of 25, 27, 28, or 30 years old.

 

  • SIXT: At least 21 years old, with a surcharge for drivers under 25 years old.

 

Conclusion

Renting a car is a great way to have the flexibility you want to get about your business at your own pace. However, it’s not easy or cheap if you are a young driver under the age of 25. Insurance companies consider these drivers a high-risk group, which is reflected in rental car companies’ rates and conditions.

While some rental car companies will allow drivers as young as 21 years of age to rent a car, this often comes with heavy additional fees and a very limited selection of vehicles to choose from, at least until you turn 25. If you are in this age bracket, you need to check with your rental car company of choice to see which conditions and rates apply to you.

Be warned that choosing the convenience and comfort of a rental car rather than a ride-sharing service or public transportation comes with a heavy cost, so be prepared to budget accordingly. In the end, choose the option that works best for your specific needs.

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