Am I Old Enough To Rent a Car?

Are you looking to rent a car and wondering what rules apply? How old do you have to be to rent a car? What types of vehicles can you rent? Which style is best suited to your needs? When it comes to rental cars, it's easy to get confused. So you need to know what you're looking for before you start. 

How old do you have to be to rent a car?

The minimum rental age across the board is 25 years in the US. However, young adults who are 18 years or above can generally rent a car as well. The specifics vary by area. But there is almost always an underage fee involved. 

On the flip side, some companies also have a maximum age limit in place. So people above 70 can't get a car at every rental agency. The idea is that preventing younger inexperienced drivers and older drivers with slower reflexes from taking out a vehicle will prevent the company from facing damages. 

That's why younger drivers are charged extra to make allowance for any potential damages. Most companies will also only let them take out smaller cars. If you are under the age of 25 or over 70, you should definitely check with the rental company beforehand. Find out if you'll have to pay an extra charge. 

What can you do if you're under the limit?

If you are between 18 and 25 years old, the process of renting a car also differs slightly. You'll need proper documentation like an ID card and a credit card. You'll face an extra charge which will vary from agency to agency. Some companies may not allow underage drivers, so you'll need to do your research before you try to rent a car. 

Even drivers above the age of 21 have to show a valid driver's license that proves they've been driving for a significant period. Remember, no rental company is obligated to give you a car. If they think you're a risk to their vehicle, they may refuse you for any reason.

That's why many renters prefer using customer-friendly websites like Bonzah because there's less risk of rejection. And you usually don't have to pay an extra fee. Underage renters can only access smaller cars. But if you're above 25 years old, you have many options in the type of vehicle you can rent. 

Which styles suit your needs the best?

How you choose, your vehicle depends on your needs as a driver. If you're going on a long road trip, you might want an SUV. Alternatively, you may prefer an eco-friendly vehicle. Other factors you should take into account include the number of people traveling and the terrain. Of course, your budget will also play a huge role in the type of vehicle you pick.

The styles of rental cars are mostly divided by size.

1) Compact

This is the smallest, most affordable option available to renters. A compact car will have a lighter frame and require less fuel. When you're renting a car, the initial fee isn't all you have to consider. Often the fuel costs are far greater than the rental price itself. 

Additionally, a compact car is excellent for people looking to take a trip to the city. Having a low budget isn't the only reason for picking a smaller car. Smart travelers know how hard it is to find parking spots and maneuver in traffic in urban areas. With this style of car, you can easily fit a few suitcases and two to three people.

2) Economy

If a compact car will not fit your needs, your next option is the economy size. That means added leg space, which makes the drive a lot more comfortable for everyone. When you're taking a long trip, you don't want to be stuck uncomfortably in a cramped space.

It also gives you more room for luggage. While an economy vehicle will use more fuel than a compact car, it's still reasonably efficient. This is the best choice if you're traveling with a small group of people. 

3) Mid-size

A mid-size vehicle is perfect for those long drives or family vacations. There's a lot of variety in mid-sized cars, so you can pick your amenities depending on your budget. But, generally, you get a bang for your buck. 

With a mid-sized car, a small to medium-sized group can travel very comfortably. If your vacation involves a long road trip, you'll want to make sure the drive is satisfying. It's hard to enjoy your vacation if all you're thinking about is the cramp in your leg. 

4) Full-size

The final upgrade available to you is the full-size vehicle. While this type of car does take up more fuel, it's the best option for a medium to a big group. It is particularly suited to families traveling with small children because it has enough room for a child seat to be easily installed. 

Apart from that, if you have the budget and want to splurge, a full-size car is definitely the most comfortable option. When you go to a car rental website, you can book a vehicle based on your need. Most companies will have cars listed by category.

What types of vehicles can you rent?

The vehicles are listed using a format called ACRISS codes. It is a four-digit code that lets the company know what you want in terms of amenities. 

First, you have the categories we just discussed. That means compact, economy, mid-sized, or full-sized. Second, you have the transmission, for example, M for manual or A for automatic. Next, it refers to the type. You don't have to memorize a whole list of initials. Generally, the customer service rep will ask you what you want. But, it's always better to know the basics. So B is for a 2-3 door car while T stands for a convertible. Similarly, H means hybrid, and C is electric.  

When you're renting a car, you'll seldom get the chance to pick the exact make and model. But, when you let the company know the specifics of what you want, they'll generate an ACRISS code and find you a vehicle similar to what you booked.